A case study of health and agriculture social enterprises in Kenya
This case study (PDF) by the Overseas Development Institute reviewed social enterprises (SEs) operating in the agriculture and health sectors in Kenya to examine how the lack of a widely-accepted social enterprise definition influences activity in Kenya, identify niches within which agriculture and health sector social enterprises are operating and summarise key findings from discussions with key informants. The study confirmed the assumption that social enterprise in Kenya is a dynamic space at the moment, but that there is a lack of common terminology and understanding of how SEs fit into wider sectoral contexts. SE Models have filled gaps between government, NGOs and mainstream private sector goods and service provision. Yet their interrelations with other sectors, and self-identification as a coherent sector themselves, remains nascent. At a sectoral level, SEs have found niches within which their entrepreneurial and social skills and focus are enabling them to tackle intractable problems. Stakeholders are seeing a shift in mindset, towards seeing people in the lowest economic groupings as consumers of goods and services. Obstacles that SEs in Kenya are facing include recruiting and retaining staff who are talented and sufficiently commited to the social vision of the SE. Recommendations for governments are to differentiate SEs from regular businesses and incentivise SEs efforts. Furthermore, government engagement could be increased through the establishment of an advisory body that could encourage mutual government-SE understanding. For support organisations it is of importance that they do not provide readymade solutions but that hey evaluate and understand needs before offering solutions. Instruments for providing finance are important in order for SEs to be able to develop and scale. Cross-organisational best practice and knowledge sharing might be beneficial. SE engagement can be best driven by SEs. Lastly, SE engagement can be best driven by SEs as well as engagement with necessary stakeholders.