Tag Archives: social enterprise

(French) Redéfinir « l’innovation » dans la technologie médicale en Afrique

L’innovation – le mot à la mode peut-être le plus utilisé dans le monde du développement international – se présente de plusieurs façons mais, dans la plupart des cas, il fait référence à une variante d’une nouvelle technologie. Il peut s’agir d’une lanterne alimentée par la puissance solaire, d’un dispositif portable de filtration d’eau ou d’un test de diagnostic en temps réel. Il est cependant rare que l’innovation se concentre sur des systèmes nécessaires à la durabilité et à l’efficacité de ces technologies. Autrement dit, l’innovation porte trop souvent sur le produit et non sur le process

Pour les futurs entrepreneurs sociaux étudiant des sujets tels que la science, la technologie, l’ingénierie et les mathématiques, il est tentant de se concentrer sur l’innovation au sens traditionnel et orienté sur le produit, particulièrement en Afrique. Après tout, dans un continent confronté à des défis sociaux, économiques et environnementaux, des technologies innombrables pourraient avoir un impact immédiat et de grande portée. Par conséquent, pourquoi ne pas mettre ses talents à l’œuvre pour concevoir et développer de nouveaux produits ?

« Parce qu’il est moins important d’avoir une nouvelle technologie qu’une technologie qui fonctionne », affirme Francis Kossi, un entrepreneur social et ingénieur biomédical togolais, qui s’est lancé dans la redéfinition du terme « innovation » en Afrique de l’Ouest. « Ce dont nous avons besoin, ce sont des systèmes de distribution et de réparation des produits dont nous disposons ».

Full article on Terangaweb 

NexThought Monday – Warby Parker Blurring Lines Between ‘Social’ and ‘Business’: Glasses firm takes BOGO model to new heights

Last month, determined to keep up with the latest trend in hipster eyewear, I purchased my first pair of Warby Parker glasses. Warby was all the buzz among vision-impaired colleagues and friends, boasting styles and prices that were uniquely embraced on both sides of the East River -– a rare feat for a New York City population known for making a mainstream trend out of resisting mainstream trends. And, of course, there’s its social mission: A “buy one, give one” model that has become a major selling point for companies trying to reach more socially conscious consumers.

But Warby’s success hinges on more than its product and mission, demonstrating a new and very simple kind of “corporate social responsibility” that companies can no longer afford to take lightly.

Full article on Next Billion 

Farm to Family (and, Hopefully, Health and Wealth): Produce distribution model in India builds in economic empowerment

When you think about efforts to improve global health, your mind is likely to turn to medical interventions: vaccines, health worker training, supplies, health infrastructure improvements and the like. But ensuring the health and well-being for low-income and vulnerable communities throughout the world often requires much more.

In India, “much more” comes in many forms. But for the social enterprise eKutir and its VeggieKart initiative, “much more” means agriculture and nutrition, and it means filling gaps in the value chain so farmers and consumers alike can share in healthier, more productive livelihoods.

Full article on Next Billion 

Ziqitza ambulances make money while serving India’s poor

In the ever-evolving landscape of global business, it is not uncommon to conflate traditional business with social business – particularly when it comes to health.

How does, say, a pharmaceutical company that makes billions in profit by selling health products differ from a small enterprise that improves the health of a surrounding community and manages to stay financially solvent?

It is a nuanced distinction, but an important one. And it is one that Sweta Mangal, CEO of Ziqitza Health Care Limited – a leading social enterprise in India – recently made clear to me.

Full article on Christian Science Monitor 

Social Enterprise in Haiti: An oxymoron or a reality?

It is no secret that social entrepreneurship is trending. Not just on Twitter (via the hashtag #socent) but in real life, too, with thousands of socially minded innovators pioneering new, market-based solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges.

But this “movement” has hit some roadblocks. In many parts of the world, communities are too poor to qualify as viable customers, leaving little if any revenue to be made. In other places, social enterprises have found success cultivating a market, but haven’t been able to scale up their operations beyond a small region or population. And in particularly vulnerable areas, NGOs have saturated the market such that businesses have no way of contending for customers. After all, how can anyone compete with free?

This last challenge is especially prevalent in Haiti, where the 2010 earthquake devastated hundreds of thousands of people and an ensuing cholera outbreak killed thousands more and remains endemic throughout the country. In light of this, foreign aid has flooded in from all angles, comprising two-thirds of the government’s budget and paving the way for unprecedented NGO activity: There are an estimated 16,000 NGOs in Haiti – more than one per square mile.

Full article on Next Billion