Across the developing world, a great number of social challenges are evident. Poverty, economic inequality and underdeveloped health services present a real threat to those who call these nations home. Previously, much of the relief provided to alleviate these issues has come through aid from more prosperous countries, however growing levels of alternatives, such as social entrepreneurship, are now being actively pursued.
Social entrepreneurs are those whose goal is the achievement of systemic and sustainable social change. Often this is through innovation, perhaps through the invention of a new product or technology, or through adaptation of existing methods, such as making aspects of healthcare more affordable to those who require it.
For social entrepreneurs, the end goal is poverty alleviation or societal development, whether in a non-profit or business setting.
The notion that social entrepreneurship could provide aspects of aid not covered through traditional means has become more popular in recent years. In 2011, the Global Entrepreneurs Council, a U.N initiative focused on the promotion of entrepreneurship around the world, was formed.
In 2013, USAID and DfID created the Global Development Innovation Ventures fund, targeting the alleviation of poverty by means of innovation. Resources such as these have enabled entrepreneurial minds across the developing world to begin affecting change in their towns and cities. Not only this, but it appears to endorse the belief that social entrepreneurship can benefit the developing world.
Geographical challenges to people in Southern Africa is a cause targeted by the Buffalo Bicycle Company, who build their bicycles specifically for the terrain and its difficulties. In Myanmar, the work of the Phandeeyar tech hub civil society groups connects those seeking to develop products in line with the country’s economic growth with technology professionals.
Education, not just in the traditional sense, but also in terms of leadership, social abilities and entrepreneurship, is the focus of Afroes, who provide their services to young people in South Africa through games and tools. The list of social enterprises successfully overcoming social issues in the developing world grows by the day.
The progress made by these types of enterprises has increased acceptance that social entrepreneurship can benefit the developing world. As social enterprises continue to multiply throughout developing nations, it has become increasingly apparent that, in order to create systemic change, focus should be placed on public services being used in tandem with social entrepreneurs.
As such, acknowledgment and understanding of the benefits provided through such partnerships should be prioritized by public leaders across the developing world so as to continue affecting the change that is so often drastically required.
– Gavin Callander