Social Enterprise is fast emerging as the most skillful system in addressing critical social and environmental challenges. Over the last three decades, traditional aid models have struggled to contend with some of Africa’s most entrenched issues. In the context of African development, impact on an environmental and humanitarian scale is dominated by the non-profit sector and multi-/ bi-lateral foreign aid dollars.
As a ‘beyond aid alternative’, social business is disrupting the historical system and instead invests in those living in the margins, giving them the power to drive permanent change. The entrepreneurial innovations and broad spectrum of social enterprises are bringing African solutions to Africa’s problems.
Our job is to entrust local changemakers with the power to implement their own solutions.
For those of us supporting Africa in its steps toward positive change, it’s time for a shift in mindset. We are no longer alleviating poverty. We are creating wealth. Through support of social entrepreneurs and locally driven agendas, progressive solutions are arising on all fronts. Our job now is to entrust local changemakers with the power to implement their own solutions. Companies implementing fundamental changes through wealth creation have been popping up all over the continent of Africa in recent years.
Alexis Chavez is the founding director of Einstein Rising. Einstein Rising is a social business accelerator that develops entrepreneurs who have innovative solutions to societal challenges in Africa. They provide a business development curriculum for small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) and access to startup capital for triple bottom line companies (people, planet, profit).
Alexis Chavez and the team of Einstein Rising
Alexis is a passionate and energetic change maker: “I have been living and working throughout the African continent for a third of my life. I care a great deal for all the amazing beauty it has to offer. Einstein Rising was my way of helping to preserve the place I love in the most powerful way I knew how. I wanted to find individuals who didn’t have the means to support their own ingenuity for great changes. I wanted to give people, who see Africa the way I do, a new option to participate and contribute in a way that wasn't already offered in the NGO sector.”
After years of working for non-profit organizations, Alexis experienced first-hand the inflexibility of traditional aid organizations and their incapacity to listen to and understand individual community needs. Many organizations create an agenda in a board room, a continent away, with the best of intentions, but sometimes with devastating consequences. Einstein Rising’s first entrepreneur, Simon Kwikiriza and his hard won social enterprise selling fuel efficient stoves was quickly put out of business by a foreign NGO that began giving away a similar product for free.
Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand.
Today, Einstein Rising is providing business education to 150 social entrepreneurs each year. They are trusted and familiar with the communities they work in which allows for a more seamless adoption of their products or services. Their top entrepreneur is Peter Mugembe. He is the founder of ZECC Life and Doce Ketchup. His companies create a vertically integrated system that assists tomato farmers in realizing their full financial opportunities while confronting the food waste epidemic.
Peter devised the Zero Energy Cooling Chamber, a refrigerator made of natural materials that does not require electricity which extends the shelf life of produce by over a week. They preserved 5,000 lbs of food in the first six months that would have otherwise expired due to weather and lack of access to market. His other company, Doce Ketchup, purchases tomatoes from ZECC’s partner farmers and processes them into ketchup. The more ZECC Life enables farmers to maximize their profits, the more revenue opportunities for Doce Ketchup. The companies increased the household income of partner farmers by 30% since their launch last year.
Einstein Rising makes sure that every donation is spent creating forward motion. Because of the wide range of entrepreneurs and business concepts the organization has an incredibly wide reach when it comes to impact. Alongside their entrepreneurs they have impacted over 10,000 people in Uganda and have focused dozens of issues such as women’s empowerment, education, health and sanitation, refugees and wildlife / land conservation.
Einstein Rising’s main focus in 2019 is two-fold: to raise funds for 200 entrepreneurs as they go through their business development programs and to create access to seed capital investment for their graduates, either investing in them directly or pairing them with outside investors.
Please join GreenAngels in supporting Einstein Rising's exemplary efforts.