Tuli on Social Entrepreneurship
Social Entrepreneurship is a growing movement in business that shows a shift towards a more inclusivity in business. Additionally, using businesses to solve social problems, create shared financial and social value is proving to be a driver of business success around the world. Social Entrepreneurship is about creating social value through entrepreneurship, and around the globe, statistics show that social businesses consistently outperform their mainstream SME counterparts in terms of growth, innovation, business optimism, start-up rates and diversity of leadership.
99FM’s MYD Smart spoke to Tuli Shityuwete, the Co-Director of the First Rain Dance Theatre in Namibia, to find out more about how social awareness can be a driver of business. Tuli was a graduate of the Young African Leadership Initiative Mandela Washington Fellowship, where at the Ivy-league Dartmouth College she studied business and entrepreneurship, she is also know for having used dance, as a mode of creating social awareness.
“We want to see brands with strong social responsibility components that are making a real and measurable impact in our world and in our communities. We want brands that stand for something. More than that, we don’t want social responsibility for social responsibility’s sake. We look to support brands who are aware of the imbalances that exist in our world and whose business culture aims to redress some of that imbalance.”
99FM’s MYD Smart asked :
How can social awareness be a driver of business success?
“Us millennials have reached economic maturity and are now the biggest market and drivers of economy. Millennials are an interesting market to corner because we are attracted to brands that have a reach beyond just making money; we want to see brands with strong social responsibility components that are making a real and measurable impact in our world and in our communities. We want brands that stand for something. More than that, we don’t want social responsibility for social responsibility’s sake. We look to support brands who are aware of the imbalances that exist in our world and whose business culture aims to redress some of that imbalance. When your business or your brand has a strong ethical culture and a track record of social awareness, it attracts a huge portion of the growing Millennial market.
Why should Namibians look to social enterprise as a way to create more social value as well as a sustainable business?
“Social enterprise or social entrepreneurship, on the other hand, looks at social gaps that are not being filled and aims to fill those gaps with working business models. To me, this is the core of human centred design and social innovation.”
“We live in the era of entrepreneurship and we live in an era of tenderpreneurship. These are trends that should be creating jobs and working towards sharing wealth but often this is not the case and wealth is ending up with only a few. Social enterprise or social entrepreneurship, on the other hand, looks at social gaps that are not being filled and aims to fill those gaps with working business models. To me, this is the core of human centred design and social innovation and if you could make money whilst creating the space for others to become financially stable, why wouldn’t you? “
“We live in a country where a huge percentage of our (very small) population live under the poverty line and where youth unemployment rates are so high. Because of the wealth of a few we have been classified as a middle income country, which has seen the withdrawal of millions of dollars in outside donor funding. If we are not going to invest in our fellow Namibians then who will?
The added bonus of bringing people alongside us as we build our businesses is that the economy could only move to strength to strength with job creation and more money going to Namibians and more Namibian dollars staying inside the country and being re-invested.”
“On a purely human level, social enterprise should exist because it is our duty as privileged beings, to recognise that privilege and to work for the many, and not for the few.”
What Namibians businesses do you admire for their strong social awareness used as social enterprise?
“The Namibian Craft Centre has done a fantastic job of accomplishing several things at once: establishing a centre for crafts that attracts swathes of tourists and Namibians alike, becoming an incubator for several local brands, supporting many Namibians who are using crafts to make a living and most importantly, putting a control on prices so that local vendors cannot be undercut by haggling, economic fluctuations or environmental/contextual factors. (e.g. the moving of the OvaHimba market to a much less accessible place in the parking lot opposite Wecke and Voigts).”
“The Warehouse Theatre is a business that has become synonymous with the Windhoek arts scene and through the careful and generous curation and leadership by Mike Ott has become a space that not only generates revenue but also allows and enables local theatre makers, poets, comedians and particularly musicians, to draw in sustainable incomes. These artists in turn draw crowds to the Warehouse Theatre and to the Boiler Room and Mike has successfully created a wonderfully symbiotic business model.”
For more information on Social Entrepreneurship take a look at Forbes ‘Why Social Entrepreneurship is the New Business Model’ by clicking here
Or take a look at the Stanford Social Innovation Review on Social Entrepreneurship by clicking here