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Social Enterprise 101 - Building a Social Enterprise

Written by: Marisa Oosthuizen

There is a lot of interest in the concept of social entrepreneurship, but people are often stifled by a lack of information and insight into how to take an idea all the way to establishing a social enterprise.

Introducing 'The Social Enterprise 101' podcast series that offer social entrepreneurs a tutorial to build their own social enterprises or maintain their ventures. Hosts, Sibongile Mafu and Bame Modungwa will connect with experts and successful social entrepreneurs and unpack a variety of subjects under the banner of social entrepreneurship.

The series is done in conjunction with the Bertha Centre, a specialised unit of the UCT Graduate School of Business dedicated to advancing social innovation and entrepreneurship.

The series also leads up to the Bertha Centre's Pathways to Funding Do-ference, a conference tailor-made for social entrepreneurs that will equip them with practical knowledge and tools around raising early-stage finance. The 2-day conference will be held in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

In this episode the focus on what topics will be covered during the series and Francois Bonnici, Director of the Bertha Centre chats to successful social entrepreneurs David Jeffery, Director at Libromat and Luvuyo Rani, Director at Silulo Ulutho Technologies about their social enterprises, challenges and insights...

Social entrepreneurship is a set of approaches and practices to tackle social problems through some kind of entrepreneurial approach. The word 'social enterprise' is starting to be more well defined as a business that has a clear social mission.

Francois Bonnici, Director of the Bertha Centre

That is why, even today, we are still in Khayelitsha and staying in the township, because we realise that there are so much opportunities, there are so much connection and so much impact for people.

Luvuyo Rani, Silulo Ulutho Technologies

Through social entrepreneurship you could make a change, you can make money, you can grow and you can make a difference. This is what motivates and inspires us.

Luvuyo Rani, Silulo Ulutho Technologies

It is not only about money here, it's all about making a difference in the community and make sure that you grow with the community and also allows to grow as a business so you can sustain yourself.

Luvuyo Rani, Silulo Ulutho Technologies

We need more social businesses in South Africa. We are at a time when we clearly have a macro-economic framework and a global framework which is in a capitalist world, and yet we have significant social challenges and so being able to operate in that kind of an environment and make advancement on those social challenges is exactly the purpose of what social enterprises is set up for...We also have an opportunity between mandated corporate social investment and enterprise development there is a really interesting opportunity for social enterprise in South Africa.

Francois Bonnici, Director of the Bertha Centre

Innovation is risky and it is expensive and something that the social enterprise space opens up for us, which is very interesting, is a tolerance for the expense of innovation.

David Jeffery, Director at Libromat

What the start-up space does very well is recognise that you are gonna fail a lot. It is going to take a long time to work out what you are doing. That's a different standard to what is often applied to NPOs who are expected to get it right from square one.

David Jeffery, Director at Libromat

There is a lot of pressure in this space to focus on innovation, groundbreaking ideas, sort of changing the way things are done and I worry that, that often comes at the expense of reliability. If you want to do what so few people are really doing in this space, try pitching up on time, doing a good job and keeping your word... Don't worry about fancy ideas if you can't keep things running as you say they are going to be running. Don't be hoodwinked by innovation.

David Jeffery, Director at Libromat


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