6.5.3 Design Entrepreneurship Programs to Support Young Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs
Every class in entrepreneurship development has a few of them: entrepreneurs who want to develop other entrepreneurs, or participants with a great community development concept that isn’t really a business. Most entrepreneurship development programs are not set up to support these leaders, and trainers often try to talk them down, advising them to start a more manageable, profit-based business that will generate a job for themselves and a few other people. However, more innovative programs have recognized that such leaders are regularly attracted to entrepreneurship programs, and these programs have evolved to support such leaders. Young leaders may be the exception, but they can have an exponential impact on their communities. Many exceptional graduates of entrepreneurship programs – whether supported by the program or not – have gone on to make a significant difference to farmers, entrepreneurs and community members. Some have established IT centers for farmers, entrepreneurs and job seekers. Some have developed model farms, from which they launch free extension services to neighboring farmers; they earn a living from their farm, by supplying inputs to other farmers and/or marketing outputs. Others lead support groups for peers or less entrepreneurial young people.
Arnest Sebbumba graduated from the STRYDE program, a 12-month program of training and mentorship for rural entrepreneurs. Not only has Arnest transformed his family farm using business planning and basic technology improvements, he launched a community-based organization to help other young farmers (mostly men “by default”) in his rural Ugandan community.
“I had observed that my peers (farmers), who had no agribusiness education, were not behaving in economically rational ways. As this was severely affecting the standard of living among youth in my local community, I set about looking for solutions. Armed with new knowledge about the needs of local youth and a new focus on social entrepreneurship, last year I dedicated myself to building on a nonprofit concept that I developed 3 years ago. The organization, Countryside Youth Foundation (CSYF) allows me to share with others the confidence I gained from programs like STRYDE. … CSYF provides agrarian youth in my home district with increased access to information through publications provided by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation. … I had a theory that if the family farm was framed as a social enterprise, one that addresses social and economic challenges in rural Africa, then more young people would be interested in dedicating themselves to farming. CSYF is testing that theory in action." 2
Of the school-based entrepreneurship development programs listed in Section 6.5.1 the following support social enterprise and/or offer leadership support or opportunities to their graduates:
Aflatoun proactively trains and supports students to pursue either a business or a social initiative, recognizing that many initiatives will be social enterprises.
Teach a Man to Fish promotes school-based businesses that are, in effect, social enterprises. The businesses often produce or supply goods (food, water, uniforms, shoes, school supplies, toys and games) that are used by the school to reduce costs, and/or provide needed goods to the community at better prices, with income going to the school to improve education, facilities and/or lower costs for families.
Urban Gardens Program: Models farming as a business as it produces food for the school and supplies affordable vegetables to the community. The student-managed savings and loan groups provide leadership opportunities to students running the groups.
Junior Achievement particularly rewards innovative business concepts, and students often innovate in arenas like alternative energy.
Lyndon Center for Creative Leadership specifically supports leadership with a model that starts with leading the self and leads to leading others and the community.
- Educate! Uganda offers opportunities to leading graduates to become mentor trainers in the program.
- 1. Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) in East Africa. STRYDE is a $11.5 million, four-year program to help rural young women and men in East Africa transition to economic independence. It is funded by The MasterCard Foundation and implemented by TechnoServe.
- 2. Sebbumba, 2013