July 4, 2022

Start-Up Skills for Social Entrepreneurs

Katherine Keango

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The Hilton Foundation-funded Sisters’ Blended Value Project began sessions for module two of the Social Enterprise Programme – Start-Up. The first module focused on introducing the concept of establishing a social enterprise from problem identification to the models and frameworks of various social enterprises – giving participants the basis for social venture opportunity identification and how to evaluate business opportunities.

What stands out about the Sisters’ Blended Value Project is that participants are trained on the principles of project management and social enterprise development, down to the more challenging elements of competition that every venture must face, as well as the new technological developments in business i.e. social media marketing – elements that may clash with participant and congregation mandates and charisms. Innovation is encouraged for any entrepreneur and the sisters are no exception. However, this is done with consideration of aligning purpose and prosperity.

Some sisters have already started covering ground in developing their business plans by getting past the ideation stage and have begun sowing the seeds for success – the Franciscan Sisters of Hope in Kisumu has set up an apiary with plans to produce honey for sale. Following a coaching and mentoring session with Dr. Freddie Acosta, Senior Faculty Member, SBS, the Nazareth Sisters in Meru purchased dragon fruit seeds that have since been planted and are expected to be ready for harvest within a year. Sisters undertaking the Social Enterprise Programme – Start-Up aim to solve problems such as youth unemployment and substance abuse within their communities through the establishment of sustainable social enterprises that will create employment as well as educate members of the community on values that contribute to sustainable growth and development.

Keeping an enterprise afloat is an uphill task with many enterprises dealing with mismanagement, leading to the eventual collapse and closure of many homegrown and promising enterprises. Statistically, nine out of ten start-ups fail; to ensure participants are on the right track, leadership training is part of the programme, equipping participants with finance and human resource skills that cultivate agility and the efficiency to identify and flag gaps in operations quickly.

By the end of all four modules, participants will have developed a feasible business plan with proof of concept that will go towards pitching for financing. One of the pillars of the project is creating a financial inclusion solution that will aid sisters to implement their plans and successfully establish their social enterprises.

Module two of the Social Enterprise Programme – Start-Up is currently running and sessions in Uganda and Zambia are set to begin on 5th July 2022 and 12th July 2022 with programmes in Kenya and Tanzania completed in the last two weeks.

Learn more about the Sisters’ Blended Value Project here

Article by Katherine Keango

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