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New Coaching Ecosystem for Social Entrepreneurs in Africa

  • Pilot Programme delivers high quality coaching to Sankalp Awards winners
  • Executive coaching for social entrepreneurs an opportunity to reflect on leadership challenges and chart a path to individual and organizational growth
  • Next phase focuses on training local coaches and building a platform that connects social enterprise and coaches

Sankalp Forum, an Intellecap initiative, part of Aavishkaar Group, aims to create a thriving ecosystem for business-led solutions, and build network of impact entrepreneurs and investors across the global South to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. KDVI, a consulting firm that specialises in organisational development and transformation, and Coaching for Impact, a leadership advisory firm focusing on the impact space, have teamed up to catalyse the coaching industry for social enterprises, beginning in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Executive coaching helps impact leaders make better decisions, reflect on their objectives, and drive performance. However, few social enterprises have access to high-quality coaching at a price they can afford. Between January and June 2023, the three partners ran a pilot programme in which coaching was delivered to the finalists of this year’s Sankalp Awards, a prestigious prize that recognizes high impact enterprises in the Africa region, which are tackling key development challenges.

Shobhita Soor, founder and CEO of Legendary Foods and overall winner of the Sankalp Africa Awards 2023, found the programme very impactful: “The process gave me clarity to solve many tactical and talent management issues and opportunities, as well as keeping me accountable.”

Rather than focusing on technical skills such as accounting or marketing, executive coaching gives social entrepreneurs an opportunity to reflect on their deep-seated leadership challenges and chart a path to individual and organizational growth.

Agnes Kimweri, founder of Agki Medical Laboratory in Tanzania, and Runner Up, described the coaching experience as being “highly beneficial”, explaining how working with her coach helped her reflect on her own story.  “Coaching”, in Agnes’ words, “can reinforce my successes while helping me improve in another areas. I felt empowered to determine the agenda for the coaching process and enjoyed the experience of working towards my goals”.

The programme, which was delivered free of charge and run by highly qualified KDVI coaches, served as a pilot to identify the needs of social entrepreneurs.

“There is a growing demand for professional, high-quality coaching services in the impact space,” says Henning Ringholz, Founder and CEO of Coaching for Impact. “At the same time, far too few social entrepreneurs have access to these services.”

For Sankalp Forum, Karnika Yadav, Partner and Director, Intellecap Africa, said: “Historically, the focus for entrepreneurs has been around investment readiness, which is important, but entrepreneurs need more holistic support in order for them to scale their businesses and create impact.  Together, we need to take a systemic approach to building the coaching ecosystem for social entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and the global South.”

To do this, the three partners have now embarked on the next phase of the project to strengthen the coaching ecosystem. Launched at the Sankalp West Africa summit, which took place from June 12-13 in Accra (Ghana), the programme will focus on training coaches that serve social entrepreneurs, and building a platform that connects social enterprise and coaches. “We want to contribute to the development of a thriving coaching industry in the social enterprise space”, says Oriane Kets de Vries, Managing Director of KDVI.

The pilot is designed with scale in mind, working towards a model that is both financially viable for social enterprises and coaches and establishing quality standards that meet the needs of social entrepreneurs. “We are only at the beginning of this journey”, says Karnika Yadav, “and we invite you to be part of this”.

If you are a social entrepreneur interested in coaching, a budding coach with an interest in the social enterprise world, or a funder in this space, please register your interest here.

For further information, please contact:

For KDVI: Yuki Finch, Marketing and Communications KDVI London, [email protected] , +44 7747 023 779

For Coaching for Impact: Henning Ringholz, Founder and CEO, [email protected] , +353 083 060 0101

For Sankalp Forum: Margaret Nakunza, [email protected], +254 717 310 673

This article was produced in collaboration with the Magazine's Content Partners.

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