By Sasha Vilchynskaya
What does it mean to be a social entrepreneur? Social entrepreneurship describes an entrepreneurial venture that aims to achieve a particular social goal through positive externalities, in addition to profit. Business entrepreneurs typically measure performance in profit and return, but social entrepreneurs also take into account a positive return to society. Social entrepreneurship typically furthers broad social, cultural, and environmental goals and is commonly associated with the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors.
On April 24th Zicklin Women in Business (ZWIB) cosponsored a social entrepreneurship event with the Sustainable Business Club and the MBA Association (MBAA) at Baruch College. We welcomed Misan Rewane, an MBA student at Harvard Business School (HBS) and co-founder of Designing Futures and WAVE (West Africa Vocational Education), to speak about how education in Africa can be improved by social entrepreneurship projects. Born and raised in Nigeria, Misan knows firsthand how hard it is to receive a good education in West Africa. After studying and gaining valuable management and policy consulting experience in the US and the UK, Misan was keen to develop entrepreneurial solutions that address education challenges that affect Africa’s most disadvantaged. While working with classmates at HBS to develop a vocational education model to train low-income West African youth in critical skills and place them in paid apprenticeships, Misan joined Sola Adeola in launching Designing Futures, an incubator focused on supporting entrepreneurs working on innovative solutions to challenges of access and quality along the education value chain from early childhood to post-secondary education.
Misan shared her experiences working on these projects, as well as the challenges and opportunities within the educational start-up space in Africa.
Following the presentation, we had a robust discussion with Misan, about the current issues facing education entrepreneurs in West Africa including challenges in securing venture capital and government involvement. Misan shared some links that might be useful to those interested in educational opportunities in Africa:
Misan is very passionate about the WAVE Hospitality model, which is focused on screening young people for innate emotional intelligence strengths, training them in the critical skills employers require and placing them in technical apprenticeships where they earn while they learn, and supported by Designing Futures. Currently, the venture is looking for students to join its team both remotely in the US and in the field in Africa. This is a great opportunity to get hands-on entrepreneurial experience on an international level, assist in securing venture funding and use your MBA for a good cause.
If you are interested in internship opportunities or would like to contribute to the projects in any other way, feel free to contact Zicklin Women in Business email@example.com. We will be happy to forward your contact information to Misan. You can also research opportunities online at www.designing-fututes.org and www.wave-hospitality.org.
About Zicklin Women in Business (ZWIB): ZWIB is a professional organization that provides career, networking and mentoring opportunities for women and men at Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business. Our goal is to create a rewarding long term network for our community. We actively connect our 400+ members with distinguished alumni and professionals. We host discussions on important topics such as successful negotiation techniques, the use of emotional intelligence, and the breaking of the corporate glass ceiling.
 Thompson, J.L., The World of the Social Entrepreneur, The International Journal of Public Sector Management, 15(4/5), 2002, p.413