On the 11th of November, 2020, I received an email to be a keynote speaker at the Future Women Conference 2020, hosted in Nigeria by the Women In Africa For Transformation Initiative.
It caught me by surprise – delightful surprise, and I was honored to be invited. I was asked to speak on how to turn ordinary ideas into extraordinary business opportunities.
I liked the topic, and thought I could talk about how I established the Ntha Foundation. Below, my keynote.
Why We Need More For-Profit Social Enterprises
In 2015, I joined the Lions Club International – an organisation I hold very dear to my heart; to this day. I was happy to be a part of a network that is committed to the betterment of society.
While in University, I served as the Vice-Chairperson of the Chancellor College Leo Club, and later became a member of the Lions Club International.
Having been with the Lions Club for several years, I started to question the work which we were doing. We were helping a lot of people – definitely; but I felt that some parts of our work were not sustainable. At the same time, I was too young, and too financially unstable, to be thinking of ‘giving back’ to the society around me.
I left the Lions Club International, and decided that I would focus on myself and my business, with intentions of going back to the club when I was more financially stable. As time went, I started to discover new ways of giving back.
The Plight Of Philanthropy
Being a philanthropist, in very basic terms, means that I have ammassed so much wealth, and now can choose to, or not to, share it with those around me.
If the world were just and fair, there wouldn’t be a need for philanthropy. You’re not a great person because you hoard and redistribute wealth at will. You’re just a pawn in a broken system. In a world that’s just, you wouldn’t be the savior.— 𝑵𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒂 𝑳. 𝑴𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒖𝒘𝒊 (@NthandaLManduwi) November 23, 2020
Philanthropy is the greatest way to showcase how flawed the capitalist system is – and further how this model of ‘giving back’ does not begin to make sense for Africans.
I know there are some very wealthy Africans, but if we are being honest; most of the people we consider as wealthy in our societies wouldn’t even pass for middle-income earners in higher income societies.
My view is that we should unlearn our resentment of wealth; and find new ways to create wealth for ourselves, while giving back to society, without doing sporadic donations that for the most part only feed our egos in the longterm.
The best thing you can give to someone is an education.
You do not have to be a highly skilled educator to be able to educate someone. You can teach people basic things, which will help them for many years to come. All you need is some basic education yourself, and then the ability to give the skills you have earned to others.
It’s time for Africa to move away from philanthropy as we know it, and focus on social entrepreneurship. As a social entrepreneur; the more wealthy you are, the more you have to give back – and if what you are giving back is skills that people can use for days after you are gone from their lives – then we are building a new Africa; an Africa that is not constantly dependent on aid and donations.
Building Businesses Which Benefit Africa
When creating a business – one can have two goals:
1. To make profits
2. To help the society around them
With social entrepreneurship, you can do both – solve problems for the community around you, while also making profits to keep yourbusiness afloat, so you can help more people.
If we all focused on identifying Africa’s problems, and solving them lucratively; we could be able to make profits which sustain us; while also building an independent Africa at large.
That is why I established the Ntha Foundation – which is an education trust that fosters the use of creative talents and skills for development through advocacy. I established the foundation as a linkage to my passions which are storytelling and education. I realised that there are a lot of young people who are looking for guidance on how to start and manage their businesses – and I decided to help them with my knowledge, experience and skills, while monetizing my efforts in teaching them.
As an education trust, we offer education to young people, while at the same time creating and services products which can be monetized for our growth. At the same time, the young people we train go on to create their own organisations and businesses, which benefit them financially, their communities in the longrun.
The Art Of Creating Businesses
When creating a business, think of it as problem-solving. There is a problem that exists in society, and you are trying to solve that problem. There is a gap that exists in society, and you are trying to fill that gap. The success of your business depends on three things:
1. how many people the problem you identified affects
2. Your effectiveness in solving that problem
3. Your ability to monetize your solution – whether that be your target market paying you directly for your services; or other people who are invested in the same cause, paying for that solution.
If the problem you identify is a real problem that affects many people, and you create a great solution for that problem, and most importantly that there is room to monetize your solution – then you have created a brilliant social enterprise.
So look around you, and think of what problems you can solve to benefit your community, while making some money so you can also become financially stable in time. Turn that ordinary idea into an extraordinary business; a business that makes you money, but also helps your community.
All my love,
MEDIA ICON OF THE YEAR AWARD
A few days ago, I received an email that I was nominated as the media icon of the year award. This is my first media award, and I am completely delighted to receive it. Thank you so much for seeing me, and the work that I do.