From the Blog

Observing partners of The 1010 Project in Kenya, as well as listening to our indigenous leaders, I’ve discerned three elements that must be present for a social innovation to succeed.

  • Aptitude: A social entrepreneur’s skill or competency which they are offering to their community and to the marketplace.
  • Business Acumen: Knowledge of basic business principles and strategies
  • Capital Investment: Resources for startup costs, including financial, intellectual, and human capital

In metaphor format, if the entrepreneur and their skill is a Computer, Capital is the hardware and Business acumen is the software.

Development at times has focused primarily on the third element, Capital Investment. And it is true that  hardworking, creative social entrepreneurs in impoverished countries have remarkable aptitude but often lack access to basic capital.

However, as Michael Nyangi of LOMORO reminded me in February, many of these community leaders have not received the kind of business knowledge we take for granted in the United States. The average American would have a primary understanding of concepts like budgeting, marketing, and finding your business “niche.” In my experience, the same assumptions cannot be made in the developing world.

Charles Owino of YOCHAN (Youth Challenge Network) corrected one of his youth when she spoke of a “problem,” saying it was not a problem but “an opportunity.” I imagine he would similarly advise here. Partners like Mother’s Concern and LOMORO are tackling this “opportunity.” Michael Nyangi is already “The Banker to the Slums,” as one Swiss newspaper called him after he met with a Swiss banking colleague. He has provided savings and loans services through his organization to 210 growing LOMORO so he can become a bank someday.

The good news: The solutions, and the social entrepreneurs who have devised them, are already present here in Nairobi. That is why The 1010 Project is here: connecting these social entrepreneurs with capital. Additionally, as part of this trip we are establishing grassroots business training to help increase their capacity for success.

The 1010 Project continues to grow because the opportunities here are…well, endless. And because our supporters in the United States continue to seize these opportunities for contributing their time, expertise, and resources towards breaking the cycle of poverty for life.

If you haven’t already…will you Join the Story?

This is the second and final part of a series on credit in Kenya