A social enterprise study visit with policy makers and policy influencers from Ethiopia and Kenya was undertaken in May 2017. The study visit focussed on what policy experience Scotland has around: strategies in support of and legal structures for social enterprise; developing the sector infrastructure and connecting social entrepreneurs to markets and investment.
Key government and private sector institutions from both countries were represented in the delegation team by top officials including ministers and agency heads. Among these were relevant government ministries and agencies such as the Ministry of Youth and Ministry of Education.
The programme incorporated visits and sessions with Scottish government, intermediary institutions that provide social enterprise education or business development support and services, and social enterprises. These include Policy Dialogue with Scottish Government, Social Enterprise Academy, Social Investment Scotland, CEIS, St Albert’s Primary School, The Melting Pot, Spartan Football club, Neilston Development Trust, MsMissMrs, and The Experience.
The event spurred increasing interest in social enterprise while also promoting greater sharing of responsibilities in building policy support to development of the domestic social enterprise ecosystems in the two Eastern African nations. On this, Kebour Ghenna, Executive Director for Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI), reiterated the “need to contextualise the concept of social enterprise”.
Ronald Osumba, Chairman for Youth Enterprise Development Fund, asserted that his query on enabling ecosystems for social enterprises to grow and mature was addressed through the shared experiences; policy expert presentations, and interaction with practitioners. Whereas, Michael Onyango, Minister, Kisumu County Kenya “A new way to create enterprises which is more sustainable and where women and young people are the key players”.
Besides the enabling ecosystem, community leadership was a key takeaway as stated by the delegates, “Social Enterprises are the best tools to alleviate community problems and develop trust among the community” Matias Asfa, Director and the then Acting State Minister of Youth and Sport. While Faith Chirchir, from Ministry of Education Kenya, underlined “Social enterprises can bring communities together”.
At the end of the study visit, the delegates collectively produced valuable outcomes. Some of the major results include a synthesis of key lessons learnt and action plans by country teams of Ethiopia and Kenya to promote the domestic social enterprise movements in both countries. These outputs demonstrate the interests and knowledge they gained as well as their commitment to contribute to existing efforts to build policy support that will favour the development of the sector and indeed enable existing and new social entrepreneurs and social investors.
The delegates left with commitment to champion social enterprises in their respective institutions. These would be realised through: revisiting existing policy document, support packages and curriculums, and incorporate or accommodate the social enterprise; contribute to the policy dialogue on the topic and pilot innovation hubs.