Promoting Social Entrepreneurship in selected countries

Projekt abgeschlossen

This regional program with national implementation components is a private-public-development-partnership (PPDP) supporting Social Entrepreneurs (SEs) contributing to solving societal and environmental problems with a market-based approach. The contribution identifies and supports selected SEs and helps them to reach out to the poor. It serves the creation of employment and income for low-income households improving their livelihoods. SEs use innovative ideas and business models that are well-aligned with SDC’s objectives of poverty reduction.

Land/Region Thema Periode Budget
Südliches und Östliches Afrika
Beschäftigung & Wirtschaftsentwicklung
KMU Förderung
Gewerbeunterstützung & Wirtschaftszugang
01.07.2017 - 31.12.2022
CHF  2’200’308

The SENAP geographical intervention area is highly diverse, but common characteristics exist: High inequalities, significant poverty incidence even in middle income countries, many social problems unsolved by the public sector and dysfunctional markets for low income households.

Joining forces with the private sector for closing these gaps has become a strategy of the public sector and donor agencies including the SDC. However, collaboration between the public and private sector is a challenging task, i.e. different working cultures and interests (private profit versus public goods and services, financial vs. social evaluation and performance etc.). These differences bear risks such as reputational risks, free rider effect or mission drift.

This project suggests simplifying the collaboration with the private sector by promoting social businesses and entrepreneurs. A social entrepreneur (SE) can be defined as a person contributing to the solution of societal problems with an innovative approach and a sustainable economic model. The resulting social enterprise is the organizational form to do so. Most often the objectives of the SDC and a proven social entrepreneur (or likewise business) are closely aligned right from the start. However, identifying, examining and supporting SEs are not core competences of SDC. SDC lacks relevant business skills, know-how, and human resources. The solution is the collaboration with intermediary organizations that identify, support and promote SEs such as Ashoka and LeFil Consulting. Ashoka is the largest network of SEs worldwide. LeFil Consulting is a Swiss-based consultancy specialized in designing and scaling-up inclusive businesses including within large corporations.


Poverty is reduced, livelihoods improved and social change at the level of beneficiaries is happening mainly in two realms: The low-income households buy goods and services from SEs that either improve their livelihood (e.g. efficient cooking stoves) or their income and employment (e.g. technologies in agriculture, or youth employability).


Direct beneficiaries:

  • Social Entrepreneurs (SEs)

Indirect beneficiaries:

  • Youth, women and vulnerable populations/families.

  • Employees of social enterprises, their low income clients and a multiple of their existing clients.
Mittelfristige Wirkungen

Outcome 1: Social Entrepreneurs have provided more essential products and services to low-income households

Outcome 2: SEs have procured more from small farmers and producers and/or created additional employment along the value chain, improving their productivity/ sustainability

Outcome 3: More resources and organizations (including business and public partners of the program) are concretely engaged and involved to develop and support inclusive and sustainable new projects and ecosystem improving overall (e.g. legislative changes).


Erwartete Resultate:  

Output 1: Social businesses are redesigned for faster growth including improved business model and management, higher capitalisation and being part of a network.

Output 2: More social entrepreneurs are actively advancing and/or targeting system change.

Output 3: New partners, sponsors and stakeholders sensitised and engaged to the field of social entrepreneurship and social business.

Resultate von früheren Phasen:  

This is the first phase. Results and insights from activities of Ashoka are documented on their website. The methodologies to be applied are well-proven. Furthermore, the SDC Latin America region is currently implementing a similar program since 2013 with impressive results such as:

  • Objective: support 80 SE in Latin America (4 years, 6.3 Mio. CHF, 2014-2017)
  • Up to now some 49 SE in the programme
  • Result Measurement: 27 entrepreneurs 02.14-12.15
  • Combined outreach: 25 million clients
  • net additional outreach some 600’000 direct beneficiaries (and 2.6 mio. indirect) attributable to programme
  • 1 study on smallholders, influence on different companies and actors in the sector (Danone, C&A, Responsibility, ANDE, etc.)

Verantwortliche Direktion/Bundesamt DEZA
Kreditbereich Entwicklungszusammenarbeit
Projektpartner Vertragspartner
  • Schweizerischer Privatsektor

Andere Partner

Within SDC, the program is being developed with support from the E + I focal point and the newly created SDC “Engagement with the Private Sector” (EPS) competence center (Shareweb: )

Ashoka funding agencies for the Africa program matching the SDC proposal: Boehringer Ingelheim, DubaiExpo, Peter Cundill Fondation, ChaiRity Foundation, IKEA Foundation, Cartier Charitable Foundation, SwissRE Foundation, AFD, Orange. LeFil Consulting, a partner of Hystra now dissolved, raised over 3.5mio Euros of co-financing for interventions similar to pillars 1 and 6 over the past few years. Many of the 15 corporations and 15 social investors, donors, foundations who co-financed these efforts are potential sponsors for this program.

Koordination mit anderen Projekten und Akteuren
  • The project is a multi-stakeholder collaboration between Ashoka, LeFil Consulting SARL, SDC and potential other partners.
  • Through its contribution SDC can make differences through additionality (support to more entrepreneurs), and channelling attention to sectors, countries and target groups of interest to SDC.
  • LAC Ashoka SEs program.
  • UNDP’s African Facility for Inclusive Markets (AFIM).
  • Coofs: RPSA-Harare, Mozambique, Kenya (HoA), Tanzania, Tunisia.
Budget Laufende Phase Schweizer Beitrag CHF    2’200’308 Bereits ausgegebenes Schweizer Budget CHF    2’167’108

Phase 1 01.07.2017 - 31.12.2022   (Completed)