An interesting question then maybe why is Uganda, for example, more likely to be mentioned in conversations about Social Enterprise than Guyana? Additionally, are there implications on Social Enterprise’s ability to improve the lives of low-income Caribbeans?
These questions matter because the Caribbean is experiencing another episode of high debt, with the region owing 70% of GDP in debt and countries like Jamaica with public debt at 143% of GDP. State responses like austerity programs can have a negative impact on livelihoods, and potentially a role for Social Enterprise to bolster fortunes.
A different answer might start from the view that Social Enterprises are more likely to occur in regions with high poverty, due to a pressing need to serve more people and find alternatives to (inadequate?) poverty alleviation initiatives. As a result, if poverty is higher in Africa, then there will be more Social Enterprises and a greater association with Social Enterprise.
If we accept there is a greater “need” for Social Enterprises in Africa, then you may also expect a greater African interest in starting Social Enterprises, and less so among Caribbeans. Interestingly, one study suggests that this might not always be the case.
Yet, whether in Trinidad, Togo or Thailand – the fundamental pressing question is more if Social Enterprise can deliver better results than other interventions, a question that is tough to answer.
That said, it might mean there is an even more pressing need for Social Enterprises in Africa to be effective, given a need to support a higher absolute and percentage-wise poor people versus other regions, like the Caribbean.
Nonetheless, given the continued interest in Social Enterprise and persistent challenges in economic development, knowing a bit more about how social impact manifests across the world – (and implications on a region’s association with Social Enterprise) – may hopefully help us make more effective enterprises.