Social enterprise: ready to go

December 7, 2006 § Leave a comment

Porto Novo, Benin – November 27 – December 1, 2006: The Benin workshop marked a departure point: ‘social enterprise’ became a central part of the conversation on sustaining the work of telecentres in Africa. The younger crowd in particular – people like Hilton Theunissen, Gbenga Sesan and Esther Nasikye – championed the idea. They were arguing that the way forward for African telecentres was a commitment to social change combined with an entrepreneurial spirit.

On the second day of the workshop, a small group formed to talk about social enterprise issues. They came out with a number of diagrams aimed at helping other participants understand their way of thinking:


This small group attacked the question of sustainability head on, saying that both social impact and financial sustainability were important. They pointed to the potential of offering services like education, health care and e-government that communities need but would also pay for.


On days three and four of the Forum, this social enterprise group got down to brass tacks to design practical projects to work on together. They came up with a number of ideas including a social enterprise training institute for African telecentres and the development of new services that African telecentres could offer to communities. The idea of creating a ‘social franchise’ that offered social enterprise packages was also floated. This group agreed to follow up quickly after Benin to put some of these ideas into motion.

Note to Hilton or Gbenga: tell me where your social enterprise think paper is so that I can link to it from this blog. I’ve seen it circulating in mailing lists but not on the web.

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