Social enterprises have emerged as powerful agents of change, transcending traditional business models by combining profit generation with a profound commitment to addressing societal challenges. They are guided by a profound commitment to environmental and social impact, hence gaining traction as a transformative force in today’s business landscape. Among these enterprises, those led by Catholic Sisters hold a distinct significance; they are driven by unwavering dedication to compassion and service. These Catholic Sisters run enterprises embody a unique blend of social responsibility, spirituality, and entrepreneurial spirit. They are ventures that extend beyond traditional charitable work and strive to address pressing societal challenges while generating sustainable solutions for the communities they serve. However, along with their noble mission, Catholic Sisters run enterprises encounter a set of distinctive issues and challenges that hinder their growth.
With that in mind, Strathmore University through the Sisters’ Blended Value Project (SBVP) and in Partnership with the Association of Concentrated Women of Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA) recruited 21 sisters from 18 different congregations in Zambia and trained them on “Understanding issues and challenges of Social Enterprise.” The Level 2 training programme: Managing social enterprises program targets sisters in managerial level who report directly to the mother superiors.
The programme aims to enable the participants to recognize the role and value of the social enterprise to their congregation and to map and maximize the resources available to their congregation towards generating a surplus for their social enterprise sustainability. At the end of the programme, participants were able to develop and create practical and meaningful asset management strategies to align with the congregation’s objectives.
Skills learnt included:
- Self-leadership and how to relate with others.
- How to effectively manage teams
- How to analyse and identify problems/ challenges in their social enterprises
- How to identify potential social enterprises.
- How to understand and plan their social enterprises.
- How to market their products and services.
The participants reported that the programme had been rigorous and exceptionally rewarding. They expressed great enjoyment in the coaching and discussions, particularly those centred around leadership and self-awareness, leading others, understanding social entrepreneurship, and analysing social enterprises and their business environment. According to the participants, the faculty had been friendly and knowledgeable. They further conveyed that the training and coaching sessions had provided them with practical and valuable insights that are directly applicable to managing their social enterprises. The participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity to study “Managing social enterprises” at Strathmore, stating their belief that the knowledge and skills acquired would serve them well in their endeavours within their organization.
The 21 participants that successfully completed the programme will graduate in December 2023. Level 3 of Managing Social Enterprise Program will be on the “Foundations of Social Entrepreneurship Management” and will focus on the Project administrators/ Managers and Project Implementers in the respective congregations. The program is scheduled to run in September 2023.