Africa Social Entrepreneurs of the Year Announced at World Economic Forum Meeting in Cape Town

  • schwabThe Schwab Foundation announced the winners of the Africa Social Entrepreneur of the Year awards at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa
  • Honourees working in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda are among 21 Social Entrepreneurs from around the world taking part in the meeting to provide an on-the-ground perspective on sustainability and social innovation
  • Learn more about the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Cape Town, South Africa, 9 May 2013  Five social entrepreneurs were named today Africa Social Entrepreneurs of the Year at the World Economic Forum on Africa, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. The awards were conferred by Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, in the presence of President Jacob G. Zuma, Donald Kaberuka, Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, David A. Lipton, and Naveen Jindal.

“Social entrepreneurs are an integral community of the World Economic Forum and an increasingly sought after one,” says David Aikman, a Senior Director at the World Economic Forum and Head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. “A growing number of corporations see income inequality and environmental problems like climate change as fundamental threats to their long-term growth. Many governments are starting to rethink the way they deliver goods and services that improve social outcomes. I am confident this trend will only continue to grow in the future, and the Forum is proud to be at the forefront of catalysing partnerships among these stakeholder groups for social and environmental change.”

“To improve education and health standards, and eradicate poverty, we need entrepreneurial solutions. Governmental plans and actions have to be complemented by innovative ideas taking into account local conditions,” said Hilde Schwab, Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Schwab Foundation.

The following have been selected as the 2013 Africa Social Entrepreneurs of the Year:

Frederick K.W. Day, Buffalo Bicycle Company, Southern Africa                           

Rural Africans experience challenges of daily survival, including limited water, food and fuel, as well as inadequate access to education and healthcare. With transportation, access to these elements can be greatly enhanced. Compared to walking, a bicycle quintuples carrying capacity and quadruples travel distance while saving time. The Buffalo Bicycle Company is a robust, purpose-built bicycle designed specifically for African terrain and load requirements. More than 45,000 have been sold to individuals and organizations and another 70,000 bicycles have been granted using a unique work-to-own model.

Anne Githuku-Shongwe, Afroes, South Africa                           

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 disempowered, jobless and considered a threat to the stability of countries or a burden to states. Afroes uses interactive mobile learning strategies to teach youth about entrepreneurship and leadership, and to empower them as citizens to address their countries’ challenges. To date, Afroes has achieved this through mobile games for social change, including award-winning MORABA, which addresses difficult questions on gender-based violence, and HAKI, a game series built for Kenya by Kenyans to promote national cohesion.

Njideka U. Harry, Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), 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, while 38% have gone on to become self-employed. YTF Academy has impacted the lives of over 1.5 million youth in Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, South Africa, and Kenya and, most recently, Colombia.

Chuck Slaughter, Living Goods, Uganda

Living Goods seeks to reinvent how the poor access vital goods and services, leading to significant gains in the health and wealth of families living in poverty. Living Goods empowers networks of micro-entrepreneurs who go door-to-door teaching families how to improve their health and wealth while selling life-changing products like simple treatments for malaria and diarrhoea, fortified foods, safe delivery kits for pregnant mothers, clean burning cook stoves and solar lights. By combining the best practices of microfinance, franchising, direct selling and public health, Living Goods is creating a fully sustainable system to improve the health, wealth and productivity of the world’s poor.

Andrew Youn, One Acre Fund, Kenya                           

Rural farmers make up 75% of the global poor. Since 2006, One Acre Fund has developed an innovative, market-based approach that enables any poor farmer to double farm profits in one planting season. In Africa, One Acre Fund provides a unique “market bundle” that brings a functioning value chain directly to rural farmers. This includes high-quality seed and fertilizer, financing, weekly farm training, and post-harvest and market support. Since 2006, One Acre Fund has used this combination of services to enable farmers to permanently transform their livelihoods – from poverty to profit-generation.

View the descriptions of all Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs taking part in the World Economic Forum on Africa.

About the Schwab Foundation

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship was co-founded by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and his wife, Hilde. Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has been identifying the world’s leading social entrepreneurs and involves the community of more than 200 award winners in advancing the field of social innovation in collaboration with corporate, government and academic stakeholders. Selected social entrepreneurs of the Schwab Foundation network participate in World Economic Forum events, thus providing unique opportunities for them to connect with business, political and media leaders.