How can we make society better?
This is a question that resonates with every social entrepreneur.
An integral part of development in Africa in the last two decades has been as a result of the rise of some spectacular groups of individuals changing the status quo to advance Africa.
In year 2004, LEAP Africa began the Annual Nigerian Youth Leadership Awards (ANYLA) to recognize the phenomenal efforts of young men and women intensifying the pace for progress through their initiatives. Although there had been and there still is an outcry for youth engagement, 65 of these awardees were found to be contributing positively to the development of the Nigerian economy.
However in 2013, ANYLA evolved into the annual Fellowship programme titled the Social Innovators Programme (SIP), introducing a new component that builds the leadership and knowledge capacity of young founders/CEOs managing various social enterprises. The SIP is a one-year Fellowship , which supports talented young social innovators, whose ideas and initiatives offer effective and creative solutions to challenges in local communities across Nigeria. Through training and strategic support systems, the Fellows are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to sustain and scale up their impact. At the annual Awards, LEAP presents the most outstanding Fellows awards in recognition of their creativity and social impact. The Fellows, representing diverse sectors of the economy, are united by their unswerving commitment to transform Nigeria, which ultimately transcends into their engagement for Africa.
Now in it’s fifth year with over 60 young leaders who are driving Africa’s realization of its full potential, a week-long workshop was organized for 20 new entrants selected to join the programme. The SIP class of 2016/2017, currently funded by Union Bank Nigeria, officially began with an induction ceremony in November 2016 before it progressed into its second phase in February this year providing an intensive residential workshop from February 6-10, 2017 at Nigerian Breweries.
The workshop, led by the LEAP team and a line-up of external speakers well versed in business development and scalability, became a level playing field for the Fellows to expand their understanding in the areas of communication, networking, digital marketing, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, financial management, legal matters amongst other high interest topics. The SIP faculty who have become involved in the growth potential of these young innovators include Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli, Founder, LEAP Africa, Mrs. Uche Pedro, Founder, Bella Naija, Mr. Joe Mbulu, Transformation Director, Union Bank Nigeria, Mr. Dabesaki Mac-Ikemenjima, Programme Officer, Ford Foundation, Mrs. Osayi Alile, Consultant and Director, Access Bank Nigeria, Mr. Jide Adeyemi, CEO/Chief Executive Brand Strategist, Big and Bold Communication, Mr. Duke Segun Abodunrin, Digital Marketing Evangelist, Google, Ms. Omowunmi Adenuga-Taiwo, Management Consultant, Accenture, Ms. Ojonugwa Ichaba, Associate, Templar, Mr. Edward Esene, Senior Consultant, Kinetic Associates, Mr. Dipo Adesida, Group Director, Verdant Zeal, Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, CEO, Poise Graduate Finishing Academy and Mr. Segun Olukoya, Head, Ventures and Business Advisory, Nextzon.
Part of the key takeaways for a number of the Fellows is to be more self aware of themselves and the solutions they are providing to pare down the problems and the gaps in society. Emphasis on digital marketing, strategic planning, networking and the ability to tell compelling brand stories also left strong impressions on the fellows.
As these creative change agents launch out to remedy specific areas of development, influential leadership driven by the need to effect positive social impact, may well produce long-term results that can overhaul week policies and address issues surrounding social responsibility and accountability in Nigeria.
Nevertheless, social entrepreneurship is first and foremost service orientated. We are proud of the crop of leaders we are empowering with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to serve our communities on a day-to-day basis. As a result of their dedication to their cause, in the last few years, many of our Fellows have bagged several prestigious awards, received grants and other financial benefits, putting them at per with others around the globe. The more we see the remarkable testimonials of these Fellows, the more we up the antae for others coming behind them because we believe in their collective vision to rebuild Nigeria.
What are your thoughts on the impact of social entrepreneurship? Leave your comment below.