While attending a conference on gender forum at Nairobi safari club, a question directed to a member of Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) about social entrepreneurship and its place in the economy, and its answer is what compelled me to do this article. I thought there must be confusion between social entrepreneurship and social corporate responsibility predominantly carried out by blue chip companies, the like Of Safaricom Kenya airways and many others in Kenya and Africa at large.
What exactly is the difference between the two terms? Here I need to be helped but nevertheless I will give my perspective. Social corporate responsibility refers to the act of giving back to the community, sharing part of what you have gained as a profit from your business enterprise. To it occurs to me, that a corporate social responsibility does not address the core problem, but act like a palliative. Social entrepreneurship on the other hand is a process of getting to create platforms where people can exploit their potentials, talents and gifts. It is about appreciating other people’s contribution and helping them to develop their productive capacity hence contributing to the production process.
We need a paradigm shift in terms of solving social problems. In fact the problem in many developing countries is leadership. It is unfortunate if we let the capitalists continue exploiting the masses just by sugarcoating the exploitation process. Just think of calling rates in communication field in Kenya, interest rate charges by banks, you hear they made millions of shillings profit. A small percentage of the profit is given to sponsor, rugby tournaments. Seriously, this will not help the majority but to always make people dependent.
For social entrepreneurship is all about values, respect for humanity, appreciating our diversity and always mindful that a problem share is solved. Social enterprises are geared towards benefiting through helping others to benefit and appreciating that everyone has a special potential that we will never have. Great leaders were not all knowing, but they were generous enough to help others discover their strength and motivated them to act. Until we get the likes of Lori Palin, Gary Palin in North Carolina to start Entrepreneurship and Education Networks to demystify social entrepreneurship and its potential of revolutionizing the social set up especially here in Africa and other developing countries we will never get rid of global poverty.
It is time, for those who are tired of the inequalities in the world to start thinking of ways of helping the masses to rise against the tyranny of the few elites who have patronized development and made it to be synonymous to the well to do class. For me one of the best way is to help others discover their potentials, create platform for them to show case their abilities and finally finding ways of supporting them. The best example of how to support the masses is to have legislation that can get resources to the grass root, In Kenya UWEZO fund is a good example, even though the administration issues may hinder its proper utilization, and devolution is another mean of distributing the resources evenly. However, it is unless we sort the integrity issues of our leaders, the money meant for developing people will end up in the pockets of the few who are selfish and greedy
It is good we constantly remind ourselves that corporate social responsibility is a good gesture from our business enterprises dominated by fierce competion that will never acknowledge assistance to the majority poor where they benefit from. But we should not be blinded so as to put aside social entrepreneurship which thrives in mutual respect for others and which has the potential of turning around the African economies and those of developing countries to great economies serving the world.
Hope this discourse will be brought to the knowledge of the general public for them to judge. Your contribution will be valued.