Earlier this year in February, Intellcap launched its inaugural Sankalp Africa Summit in Nairobi. I had the opportunity to attend the summit that brought together about 350 SMEs, investors, policy makers and academia to push an ecosystem view of inclusive development in Africa. The continent is emerging as an entrepreneurial destination for technology and mobile innovations catering to a global market. Innovative business models that seek to create both financial and social value are on the rise. How best can the continent leverage its entrepreneurship talent to create inclusive development? Sankalp Africa Summit was organized to answer this question by curating conversations that analyzed how greater harmonization between different market based approaches to development like impact investing, SME-led growth, social enterprises among others can be used to spur inclusive development on the continent.
Sankalp Forum is among the largest social enterprise focused platform in the world. Derived from the ancient Sanskrit word “sankalpa” meaning determination; it builds an enabling ecosystem for early-stage social enterprises, channels investments, and engages over 11,000 people globally through collaborative year-round initiatives. As a young African who believes strongly in the power of collaboration, the ethos of Sankalp reiterated to me the significant role engagement of stakeholders from diverse sectors can play to create sustainable and inclusive powerful systemic change in Africa. There is so much untapped entrepreneurial talent that can be unleashed effectively through collaborative and common action. For many years, the government has been perceived as the sole solution provider for the challenges a country faces. While I acknowledge the government carries a big responsibility to meet the needs of its people, there is a need to empower more young people to venture into entrepreneurial endeavors to develop businesses that have a social impact incorporated into their model.
As the word Sankalp calls for an engagement of different stakeholders, development in Africa requires a similar approach of collaboration which brings together stakeholders from different sectors on the same table to discuss and develop collaborative strategies that create an enabling environment for small and medium enterprises in the region to thrive. It is undeniable that the continent continues to face many economic and social challenges, but great opportunities lie in the midst of the limitations. Sankalp is one step towards making things better for the continent, and I hope to see more collaborative platforms developed.