The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is hosting 25 social entrepreneurs from around the world who will substantially contribute to the 2015 edition of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Three of Africa's leading women social entrepreneurs Essma Ben Hamida (Tunisia), Anne Githuku-Shongwe (South Africa), and Njideka Harry (Nigeria) have been included.
For one week each year, Davos becomes a global village, bringing together business, political, intellectual and civil society leaders to define the priorities on the global agenda and to drive the search for solutions.
Hilde Schwab, the Chairperson and Co-Founder of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, in a recent statement stated that the invited social entrepreneurs are at the forefront of addressing some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges in the world. Their social ventures are having a major impact on society, ranging from inclusive employment solutions, consumer waste, education, affordable health services, and more. They are contributing their expertise on diverse topics, from designing sustainable infrastructure to creating systemic change. This is in addition to the countless private meetings, workshops and interactive sessions, where they will bring their unique insights and forge collaborative approaches.
The three African women social entrepreneurs invited to Davos are:
Essma Ben Hamida, founder of Enda Inter-Arabe of Tunisia, the first and only best-practice microfinance institution in Tunisia. With a staff of 750 working in 60 branches, Enda serves 140,000 clients with a US$48 million loan portfolio and a repayment rate above 99%. In addition to issuing traditional lines of credit, Enda has developed specialized products including education, housing and agriculture loans, and provides business development services such as financial literacy classes, vocational training, marketing and workplace guidance.
Anne Githuku-Shongwe, founder of Afroes Transformational Games in South Africa, a leading edu-tech company. African youth present an interesting paradox to the continent's future: the mobile revolution has created massive potential to inform, connect, and educate youth; on the other hand, these 400 million youth are diesmpowered, jobless and considered a threat to the stability of countries or a burden to states. Afroes is utilizing interactive mobile learning strategies to teach youth about entrepreneurship and leadership, and to empower them as citizens to address their countries' challenges.
Njideka Harry, founder of Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) in Nigeria. Since 2001, YTF has worked in regions of Africa plagued by poverty and pervasive unemployment, especially among youth and women. YTF Academy provides beneficiaries with life skills and resources to join the economic mainstream. Since inception, 40% of YTF Academy graduates have been employed by local companies in YTF’s partner network, and are being paid three times the average salary.
According to Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship these social entrepreneurs are visionaries, but also realists, and are ultimately concerned with the practical implementation of scalable solutions through partnerships with governments, companies and other entrepreneurs. As business and government leaders seek new, innovative solutions to many of the systemic issues they face, social entrepreneurs are called upon to provide solutions. Together with the Young Global Leaders and the Global Shapers, they highlight that global issues need entrepreneurial solutions. They are role models that bring to Davos the passion, vision, boldness and experience so much needed in a world facing a new global context.
Find out more about all 25 of the Social Entrepreneurs attending Davos 2015 here.