Supporting social entrepreneurs make sustainable, resilient and inclusive gains towards socio-economic recovery
The evolving COVID-19 pandemic from the onset has impacted nearly every known component of Africa’s economies and societies.
In 2020, the World Bank announced that sub-Saharan Africa’s Growth would fall -3.3%, and this would push the region into its first recession in 25 years.
In Ghana, businesses were affected such that the Statistical Service, World Bank and UNDP jointly reported that companies reduced wages for over 770,000 workers, and laid off about 42,000.
While we watched globally the incoming unfavorable forecasts; we also pondered paths to recovery. And appropriately, looked to socio-economic solutions to respond to the social-economic questions COVID-19 was asking – including how we would keep the global Sustainable Development Goals on track.
According to Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa regions recovery requires “policies and investments” that would foster “sustained, inclusive and resilient growth”, not just meer growth.
Ensuring growth in the pandemic was already hard; making growth sustainable, resilient and equitable, would be even more challenging. For Africa and its development stakeholders, all hands would have to be on deck.
Being a part of ‘COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs’, Impact Hub and its partners chose social entrepreneurship as the best recovery pathway. According to the Schwab Foundation report cited by the Alliance, social enterprises will inspire change through transparent, equitable, inclusive and innovative means in ways other machines can’t.
The New Economy Booster (NEB) program by Impact Hub, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and lab of tomorrow (lot) in recognition of this, sought to do their part to help drive the economy to recovery.
The program’s Ghanaian arm assembled over 200 impact-driven social enterprises and non-profits in 2020 to pursue socio-economic recovery.
The companies selected possessed the potential to innovatively address critical economic recovery challenges and opportunities in agriculture, healthcare, education, tourism and hospitality, and manufacturing in Ghana.
The businesses also had the potential to prevent job loss or generate new employment opportunities in the industries that were affected by the pandemic.
While the social enterprises were tasked with social interventions to alleviate the Ghanaian economy’s suffering, the program had in mind the survival of these ventures themselves.
Various companies benefitted from different phases of incubation and acceleration programs over seven months. During that time, they received a comprehensive suite of business masterclasses on how to run their ventures. They also got assistance to access investors and partners.
I5 ventures will also receive a minimum of $5000 funding each in Q1 of 2021.
Social enterprises in agriculture, healthcare, education, tourism and hospitality, and manufacturing have become essential workers in these times as these industries buckle under the weight of COVID; and the populations that depend on them also feel the effect.
The famous phrase says, ‘We’re in this together’. As these change-makers stand by their communities; Impact Hub and its partners, also stand by them towards a new and better economy post-COVID.