The 2016 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of the Year awards have just been announced, and 2 women from Africa are amongst the winners this year - Tracey Chambers of the Clothing Bank in South Africa and Yasmina Filali of Fondation Orient Occident in Morocco. The awards acknowledge the work and contribution made by 12 outstanding social entrepreneurs from 11 organizations operating in more than 70 countries that are pioneering solutions for social and environmental challenges, from child labour to women's empowerment to climate change and more.
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship recognises that social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment and enterprise development. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, efficient new business methods, and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. Social entrepreneurs, similar to business entrepreneurs, also build strong and sustainable organizations which are either set up as non-profit or for-profit social enterprises. They are pragmatic visionaries who achieve large scale, systemic and sustainable social change through a new invention, a different approach, a more rigorous application of known technologies or strategies, or a combination of these. They focus first and foremost on the social and/or ecological value creation and try to optimize the financial value creation. They innovate by finding a new product, a new service, or a new approach to a social problem. And, they continuously refine and adapt their approach in response to feedback.
Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, said: “I am delighted to announce the Schwab Foundation’s 2016 Social Entrepreneur of the Year awardees, who will join the world’s largest network of late-stage social enterprises affiliated with The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the sister organization of the World Economic Forum. Nearly half of this year’s winners are women, a fact I am extremely proud of. This year’s awardees are experimenting with business models, innovating new distribution and replication methods, and holding themselves accountable for results – and bringing about transformative societal change in the process.”
Meet the 2 African Women Social Entrepreneur Winners for 2016:
Tracey Chambers, founder of The Clothing Bank
The Clothing Bank provides unemployed mothers with a path out of poverty by training them to become self-employed business women. Unemployed single mothers are recruited from townships across South Africa and are enrolled in a two-year training programme. The Clothing Bank has a strict admission policy serving only the most disadvantaged and runs a rigorous application process where mothers have to apply to enter the program. The two-year programme includes modules such as money management, business skills and mentoring by business leaders, as well as life coaching and counselling. The Clothing Bank counts 1240 women as graduates, with the capacity to have 800 women in the two-year program. Since 2010, these women have collectively generated income for their families of more than $2.5 million USD. theclothingbank.org.za
Yasmina Filali, founder of Fondation Orient Occident
The Foundation works on integrating migrants into society, it works toward the integration of underprivileged Moroccans and Sub-Saharan migrants and refugees within Moroccan society by providing them with job training, social and psychological support as well as by offering a wide range of intercultural activities. On the other, in collaboration with international partners, the Foundation also promotes and facilitates migrants’ voluntary return to their own countries. Foundation Orient Occident is committed to the cultural and social connection of the Western and Eastern realities: it aims at bridging the gap between the two opposite shores of the Mediterranean. orient-occident.org