It’s nearly impossible for them to get their ideas off the ground without help, and most countries have organisations that exist to support them to start and grow their ventures.

The Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN) is the global network for these organisations, supporting early stage social entrepreneurs. GSEN brings together organisations working in more than 50 countries, supporting thousands of social entrepreneurs every year.

Next week, (GSEN) is holding its first ever learning workshop for organisations who support early stage social entrepreneurs in Africa. It will be hosted by Reach for Change Africa and is being held in partnership with Yunus Social Business and LifeCo UnLtd South Africa. All four are members of the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN).

The event, made possible thanks to generous support of the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation, will take place at the Reach for Change Social Innovation Hub in Accra on October 24 and 25. Around 25 agencies who work with social entrepreneurs from across Africa will come together to share knowledge, best practices and experiences in order to improve support for social entrepreneurs across the continent. Improved connections, networking, improved support for social entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them are some of the expected outcomes of this learning workshop.

“We are very excited to be having this workshop in Accra,” said Krisztina Tora, who leads GSEN. “At GSEN we believe that social entrepreneurs should be able to access great support, wherever they are. There is a burgeoning social entrepreneurship sector popping up across Africa and it’s a very exciting time to be in Ghana. This workshop will provide many opportunities for actors in this sector to share and learn from one another, and find ways to better support this movement of local social innovators that is sweeping the continent. It will also be a valuable learning experience that we can share with our network globally.”

Some social entrepreneurs in Reach for Change accelerators and incubators will also attend to share the unique opportunities and challenges they encounter in Africa. This will also allow for them to make new connections to help them expand their networks and find opportunities for growth.

Social entrepreneurship is seen as an alternative to traditional development projects, by empowering local entrepreneurs to come up with grassroots solutions that contribute to permanent, positive changes within societies at large. In order to enable that to happen at scale, there needs to be effective support systems in place. The best way to grow and expand these support systems is by creating local, regional, pan African and global networks, coming together and sharing best practice, networks and challenges to increase the level of support on offer for social entrepreneurs

Some pressing topics that will be explored at the event are developing social enterprise ecosystems, sourcing investment for social entrepreneurs, resourcing and sustainability, and managing investment for intermediaries. A report will be produced after the workshop to provide highlights of the event and share the lessons learned with the wider social enterprise community.

To open the event to a wider audience, particularly those who aren’t able to travel for the conference, GSEN, Reach for Change Africa, Yunus Social Business and LifeCo UnLtd will be hosting an online forum to address issues that will be discussed. Follow the conversation on Twitter at 3:30pm Ghana time (GMT) using the hashtag #AfricaInnovates.

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