The New Times (Kigali)

24 November 2012

Rwanda: Social Entrepreneurship to Boost Economy - Experts

Experts are optimistic that a boost to social entrepreneurship is likely to translate into improved likelihoods thus enhancing growth, a base the country is leaning on to leap frog its economy to middle income.

Like business entrepreneurship that is expected to grow the private sector, social entrepreneurship has an impact in transforming people's lives by igniting economic activities that later boost incomes, experts further observe.

"Given the current support there is for development, any work that contributes to achieve vision 2020 is worthwhile and social entrepreneurship is a dimension to entrepreneurship we thought would add to this development," Nassir Katuramu, in charge of venture program for Ashoka, a global civil society organization headquartered in the United States..

Katuramu says that social entrepreneurship paves way for business growth as it improves incomes of people increasing their purchasing power for products produced by these businesses.

"As a matter of fact social entrepreneurship is probably the most sustainable way of carrying out entrepreneurial activities,' he notes

He adds, "Social entrepreneurial ideas are system changing ideas; they are big ideas that have a potential to describe how the entire field works".

Moreover, social entrepreneurship is a new approach towards sustainable development looked at to have impact towards inclusive growth, as experts say that Rwanda has performed well in fast tracking social entrepreneurship with home grown solutions like Girinka project.

"Rwanda has managed to achieve this inclusive growth because we have looked at how we help our people get out of poverty with our own home grown solutions, Jean Philibert Nsengimana, Minister of youth and ICT said

The minister believes that enhancing and developing approaches targeting improving the livelihoods has helped the country cut down the poverty levels.

There is optimism that with recent efforts to boost entrepreneurship in the country, It is likely to achieve its social and economic growth target of becoming a services sector by 2020.

"By mentoring and supporting young entrepreneurs will help in increasing the number of small and Medium enterprises which are needed to create jobs, pay taxes, produce products and services for the economy," Benjamin Cox, Country Director Babson Rwanda told The Sunday Times.

Nevertheless, companies are coming in to support social entrepreneurship a gesture seen to increase the number of social entrepreneurs needed to support communities especially the rural folks.

"We believe that supporting such projects that are looking at improving lives of children is developing a strong future generation of this country," Diego Camberos, Chief executive Officer Tigo Rwanda said while handing over 3 three cheques worth of US$ 75,000.

The cheques given out to three competitive projects that are focusing at changing the lives of children are part of the telecom company's campaign- reach for change project aimed at supporting child focused projects.

The three winners include Jacques Rutayisire of dream team academy, John Ntazinda of climate concern Ltd and Archimede Sekamana of drawing your dream project.

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