Women dominate social enterprise sector in Kenya.
Nearly half of all social enterprises formed in the country in the past three years are run by women, a survey by the British Council has revealed. Since 2015, 44% of all new social enterprises formed are run by young women aged between the ages of 25- 35, compared by men of the same age group.
Overall, most of the new businesses are run by young people, reflecting a demographic that is worst hit by the country’s huge unemployment crisis. In the survey commissioned by the British Council in 2017 to map the social enterprise sector in Kenya, over half of the 183 social enterprises surveyed reported making a profit, an indication of social enterprise is a viable venture. The findings are being discussed in at a two-day East Africa Social Enterprise Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which has opened today.
The conference is being attended by about 300 delegates and it is part of the Support for Social Enterprises in Eastern Africa project funded by the European Union and the British Council’s flagship Global Social Enterprise (GSE) programme which is currently implemented in 29 countries across four continents. Kenya is being represented by a team of 22 policy-makers, government officials and Social Entrepreneurs led by the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Social Enterprise Society of Kenya, Mr Peter Ouma Oloo.
The British Council Country Director in Ethiopia, Peter Brown said: “This is the first regional conference on social enterprise which has attracted a record number of 300 plus delegates representing five countries from East Africa and beyond. This reflects the fact that social enterprise is now truly becoming, an African as well as a global agenda. Academics, leaders of government, civil society, social enterprise and other key stakeholder institutions are now becoming increasingly aware of the social enterprise concept and the broadening interest to support the sector.”
He added: “This is a huge recognition to our social enterprise work in East Africa through the implementation of the Support for Social Enterprises in Eastern Africa project funded by the European Union and the British Council’s flagship Global Social Enterprise (GSE) programme which is currently implemented in 29 countries across four continents.”
One of the conference organizers, Wubet Girma said that the conference hopes to come up with an evidence-based approach to social enterprise development in the region, by looking at the size, type and distribution of social enterprises. This, he noted, entails mapping them in different sectors such as agriculture, health and education and so on.