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Why Changemaking: Chat with Afzal, Forbes 30 under 30

I got a chance to interact with Afzal Habib a few months ago, Co-Founder and Chief Imagination Officer of Kidogo through electronic mail about Social Entrepreneurship and how people can break into this field? Forbes has recognized himas Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs, 2017.

Brief Background of Afzal

Afzal uses his business expertise to address inequality in low-income communities in Africa and Asia. After graduating from the International Business program at the Schulich School of Business, where he specialized in strategy and entrepreneurship, he was a management consultant at the BCG advising Fortune 500 executives on strategy and growth projects. He is also a Young Fund Loran Scholar and was named one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 sustainability leaders by Corporate Knights magazine.

Why he took up social Entrepreneurship?

His late-grandfather inspired him. His late-grandfather escaped poverty using micro-entrepreneurship. In his spare time at BCG, he helped several social enterprises, including Karibu Solar Power in Tanzania, Acumen in Kenya, and CARE in Bangladesh. But as he felt unsatisfied, in 2014, he left the corporate sector to start Kidogo full time.

Why are there fewer social entrepreneurs?

First, young people, folks in high school, and undergraduate programs, are never really exposed to social entrepreneurship as a career path and taught the skills needed to succeed in such a field. As a result, they aspire to be lawyers, doctors, or business people.

Second, few people are interested in problem space such as childcare, environment, and healthcare, to name a few. If approached, these spaces will generate a lot of social enterprises and entrepreneurs.

Third, there are not many role models out there which inspire people to become social entrepreneurs.

So how can we rectify this situation?

First, we need to highlight stories of social entrepreneurs (like Mohammed Yunus, and Jaqueline Novogratz) to youths. Then social entrepreneurs can be considered as role models, aspiring people to become like them. People can see it as a career path.

Second, undergraduate programs should train young people on both entrepreneurship and social development topics to provide them with the skillset to succeed in this role.

Third, we need to target problem space such as healthcare, environment, and childcare as automatically social entrepreneurs and enterprises will emerge out of them.

What advice you have for people that are looking to break into this field?

Social entrepreneurs should focus on tackling the problem and the technical aspects of being a founder (legal, HR, finance, fundraising, etc.). If founders focus a lot of time on the technical aspects of the enterprise, then I see a lot of them becoming demotivated about the cause.

So, this should be kept in mind when starting in this sector.

To know more about the fantastic work done by Kidogo, click here.

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