In a rapidly changing Africa, social and environmental challenges are complex. Leading social entrepreneurs, like the 400+ Ashoka Fellows in Sub-Saharan Africa, are on the front lines of solving those complex problems by diagnosing and then inventing new ways to combat the failing systems that are holding back social change. Despite successes, trailblazing entrepreneurs cannot restructure Africa’s failing systems alone; nor do they have to. Untapped changemaking power still resides in the business sector, as almost 69 percent of the world’s top 100 economic entities in the world are companies, not countries. In 2018, as Ashoka surveyed its Fellows network to better understand their perspectives and best practices for engaging the private sector, we discovered a series of enlightening stories: social entrepreneurs had entered into collaborative, mutually beneficial partnerships with businesses to scale their social impact beyond what was possible alone. The findings from the survey are emphatic: social entrepreneurs want to work with businesses. 97 percent of respondents saw businesses as valuable strategic partners. 83 percent have corporate partners already. But 79 percent report that social and business sectors remain too siloed. The largest obstacle for these entrepreneurs is finding like-minded businesses. Consequently, we were eager to learn more and share insights about these collaborative mindsets and strategies. How did these social entrepreneurs defy the odds in an unpredictable, unstable, and sometimes corrupt landscape to model, implement, and eventually scale crucial social innovations that have had profound impacts all over the continent? We profiled five powerful co-creation journeys for the co-creation cases namely: The co-creation case studies demonstrate how social entrepreneurs and big business can work together through mutually beneficial Social and Business Co-Creation partnerships to achieve lasting change on large scales.
We profiled five powerful co-creation journeys for the co-creation cases namely: