May 30, 2022

Sisters’ Blended Value Project Commences First Cohort of the Social Enterprise Programme, Growth Course

Katherine Keango

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The first cohort of the Social Enterprise Programme Growth began the 1st module on 24th May 2022.  The course is targeted at Catholic Sisters with established enterprises that have been operating for a significant period and have surpassed the early start-up years. The curriculum seeks to impart sisters with skills to expand their enterprises beyond their current scope toward operating sustainable social enterprises.

The Hilton Foundation-funded project has so far trained over 100 sisters in the target regions in project management and has now begun capacity development sessions for the social enterprise programme with two curriculums; start-up and growth. The programme is designed to accommodate twenty-four sisters and congregations are encouraged to nominate three sisters to undertake the programme. The curriculums are being doled out in four modules each, running concurrently throughout the four target regions with participants from both start-up and growth expected to complete the four modules at the close of the year in a joint ceremony.

The first module aimed to set the vision for social entrepreneurs and impart them with the know-how to solve business problems. The facilitators, Strathmore University faculty sought to give participants an all-encompassing analysis of social entrepreneurship with participants being taken through the foundations of social enterprises, business models for social enterprises, and options for funding social ventures. The core values of the project outline a connection between social entrepreneurship that stays true to the values of selfless service to society, whereby sisters are to develop their social enterprises according to their congregation’s charisms and mandates: a session on “Sanctification through the Social Enterprises Ministry” was delivered by Father Paul Mimbi of the University’s chaplaincy: he gave participants a holistic outlook on how to operate their social enterprises. Furthermore, participants gained a greater appreciation of “the triple bottom line” which outlines the best practices to operate a sustainable social enterprise by recognizing the interconnectivity of “people, planet, and profit” to measure the social and environmental impacts against profits – enterprises tend to focus more on the bottom-line without assessing the impacts their products and services have on their consumers and on our planet.

The four-day sessions were held at Strathmore University Business School and the delivery of course material was through interactive learning, consisting of lectures, case-studies, and reflection exercises. Participants adjourned on Friday evening and will return for the second module on 19th July 2022, in-between modules, participants will also receive coaching and mentoring from faculty members to guide them on actualizing the plans they have set for the growth of their social enterprises. Upon completion of the four modules, participants are eligible to receive seed funding to grow their social enterprises.

The Social Enterprise Programme for growth (module 1) will run for four weeks, with sessions beginning in Tanzania on 30th May 2022, and sessions in Uganda and Zambia scheduled in the following weeks.

The Sisters’ Blended Value Project is a partnership between Strathmore University Business School and the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA), funded by Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This project focuses on supporting Catholic Sisters under ACWECA, to build sustainable social enterprises through developing capacities, supporting networks and information hubs and building robust financial services. Learn more about the Sisters’ Blended Value Project here

Article by Katherine Keango

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