A SOCAP Guest Post by Pumla Maswanganyi of Baobab Consulting
At Baobab Consulting, our vision is a world where people of all backgrounds can understand and work with each other to build and innovate for the greater good of society. To realize that vision we build strategies to showcase talents, find the right opportunities, and inspire mindset change surrounding how people should work together. Our belief is that everyone has interests in collaborating effectively, and we have a geographic focus on the African continent.
Having attended SOCAP twice prior, our leadership team recognized the impact that could be achieved by creating a larger and more engaged presence of entrepreneurs from across the African continent, coupled with providing a space for the entrepreneurs to engage with each other and potential investors.
The [email protected] Experience was designed to improve African representation, participation, and investment at SOCAP18. We also developed a variety of programming to support SOCAP’s African scholarship entrepreneurs. From recruitment and educational programming to networking and community building support, we ensured that the entrepreneurs are able to prove that they are investment ready, and are better positioned to showcase their capabilities and gain insights resulting in an expansion of their social enterprises upon their return.
Consultation sessions for the social entrepreneurs in the Africa @SOCAP lounge
Entrepreneur scholarships to SOCAP18 were provided to 35 social entrepreneurs from 13 African countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Niger, Swaziland, Malawi, Mali, Cameroon, South Africa, and South Sudan.
The social entrepreneurs work ranges from combining IoT, data analytics and AI for predictive agriculture, to providing retirement plans to members of the informal work market, to the first women-owned production facility that recycles waste metal to produce environmentally friendly cookstoves. This cohort of social entrepreneurs included:
Baobab Consulting team member, Pumla Maswanganyi facilitating one of the Impact Accelerator Networking Workshop sessions, on SDG1: No Poverty, SDG2: Zero Hunger, SDG3: Good Health and Wellbeing and SDG10: Reduced Inequalities
Baobab Consulting facilitated a networking workshop for all entrepreneurs during the Impact Accelerator day. During our Workshop, we divided the 136 entrepreneurs into groups based on the most relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals that their venture addressed.
After a speed networking session, the entrepreneurs participated in an exercise that sparked great conversations about the unique challenges these innovators face and the lessons they have learned. The social entrepreneurs shared insights on topics ranging from climate action in Asia, to the investor climate in Africa, and efforts to reduce inequalities in North America.
[email protected] Lounge
The [email protected] Lounge was a huge draw for the Africa community and others in 2018. It demonstrated SOCAP’s commitment to accelerate the global impact markets by providing a space to highlight African business, and for entrepreneurs to engage with and learn from one another.
Located in the Big Top Tent, this space provided a central location for people who are passionate about Africa to meet each other, hold meetings, take a coffee or lunch break or get an afternoon energy boost, surrounded by the sweet sounds of African drumming. Ultimately the lounge was a space to build relationships that extended beyond the conference.
African Entrepreneur & Investor Exchange
The African Entrepreneur & Investor Exchange provided the African social entrepreneurs the opportunity to deliver pitches to over 50 attendees and investors. The Exchange allowed the community to introduce themselves, engage with one another, and showcase their products and services to the relevant stakeholders. Overall, this combined pitch and networking event was a huge success.
The [email protected] Product Showcase provided social entrepreneurs from across the continent space to showcase their products and services to investors and other conference attendees.
Panelists James Thuch Madhier, Pauline Mbayah, Liz Grossman, Salem Afangideh, and Margaret Nyamumbo, from SOCAP session “Women’s Entrepreneurship: the Key to Reducing Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa”
Africa Conference Track
Baobab was one of many stakeholders in the African impact ecosystem that helped develop content for the Africa Track at SOCAP18. Africa Bridges, Africa Expert Network, and other ecosystem builders put together sessions covering the gaps and opportunities in social capital markets across the continent.
These sessions prioritized voices from Africa, rather than Western voices talking about Africa, to better represent the landscape of investment and impact by the real stakeholders in various sectors and issue areas.
Sessions in the Africa track at SOCAP18 included:
- Women’s Entrepreneurship – The Key to Reducing Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Africa’s Youth Explosion and What it Means for Employment & Opportunity
- Impact Investing in Africa: A Moderated How-To
- Women’s Entrepreneurship: the Key to Reducing Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Innovative Investment Partnerships for Climate Resilient Agriculture in Africa
- Beyond Silicon Valley: Frontiers of Tech in Emerging Markets
- Renewables in Africa: From Talk to Action
- Healthcare in Africa: Blending the Old with the New
- Expanding the Menu: Blended Finance in the African Agricultural Value Chain
The Baobab Consulting team at SOCAP18: Deputy Director, Emma Giloth; Co-Founder and Managing Director, Liz Grossman; Strategic Advisor, Michael Ibonye; Head of Strategy & Operations, Pumla Maswanganyi; and International Business Strategist, Thom Gallemore
Looking to the Future
The Baobab Consulting team had an amazing time at SOCAP18. We look forward to seeing you at SOCAP19, and continuing our work in advancing actors and leaders investing in Africa.
- The Power of Working in Partnership – Rainmaker Enterprise Blog by entrepreneur and panelist James Thuch Madhier
- Investing in African Women Entrepreneurs: Highlights from Social Capital Markets (SOCAP18) – SheLeadsAfrica.com article by Liz Grossman
- Baobab Consulting’s Michael Ibonye and Pumla Maswanganyi included in SOCAP’s Best Dressed list
- Investing in African Women Entrepreneurs: Highlights from Social Capital Markets (SOCAP18) | She Leads Africa featured in Kolumn Magazine
- Baobab Consulting SOCAP18 Instagram Highlight
- IGTV Interview with @socentBeth
Pumla Maswanganyi is the Head of Strategy and Operations at Baobab Consulting. Baobab Consulting provides solutions for clients and partners seeking to broaden their financial and social reach while promoting mutual understanding and equitable collaboration, with an African focus.