Social Enterprises and the African Context: Myths, Principles and Examples

By Edwin Zu-CudjoeDr Adeyemi Adelekan

What is a social enterprise in an African context? Is it an NGO or can it run as a business and share its profits? How are they different from existing businesses and start-ups? Can it be privately owned and governed? Is it a western idea? Do they pursue environmental goals too? Is my organization a social enterprise and what opportunities does that open up for me?

These questions and more are the focus of our upcoming ASEW spinoff workshop where we will be discussing some misconceptions about social enterprises in Africa and exploring their definition and organizing principles. Some examples from existing research will also be shared to help participants contextualize what is being discussed, while gaining insights into innovative ways to organize as a social enterprise in an African context.

Dr. Adeyemi Adelekan
Adeyemi is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Manchester (UoM) and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP). He carries out research on social enterprises, sustainable business models, circular economy and behaviour change in both the Global North and South. Prior to his engagement at UoM, Adeyemi obtained a PhD from Middlesex University London with a thesis that explored social enterprise strategies for the circular economy in Lagos. He also has an MBA from the University of Salford, where his research won the Dean’s Award for Excellence in the Business Innovation Live Project category for the year 2015. Adeyemi believes social enterprises have a critical role to play in Africa’s sustainable development. He co-convened the first ASEW in 2019 while carrying out a fieldwork in Lagos, where he witnessed first-hand the impact ‘self-identified’ social enterprises are having in and beyond their communities, sometimes with little or no resources. His interest lies in how they can organize better, strategically navigate the tensions to meet commercial, social and/or environmental objectives, while scaling their impact. Adeyemi’s professional experience also spans across business management, administration, and IT consulting both in Nigeria and in the UK.
Edwin Zu-Cudjoe
Edwin is the executive director of Social Enterprise Ghana, a network of high impact social entrepreneurs in Ghana. The network is working together with partners to strenghten Ghana’s social enterprise ecosystem and have partnered with organizations such as British Council, McNulty Foundation, Reach for Change, Fidelity Bank and many others.
Time: 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM EST

Location: Virtual

Date: Friday, June 17, 2022