Motsepe, Schwab sign 3-year, $1.07 million social entrepreneurship deal

by Oliver Cann

  • The Schwab Foundation and the Motsepe Foundation announce a three-year, 1 million Swiss franc ($1.07 million) partnership to support African social entrepreneurs
  • The fund will advance the social entrepreneurship agenda in Africa, building the capacity of African social enterprises through peer-to-peer exchange
  • The Motsepe Foundation grant will provide Harvard scholarships to African-based Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs
  • Learn more about the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship at and the Motsepe Foundation at
  • For more information on the World Economic Forum on Africa:

precious motsepeCape Town, South Africa  Hilde Schwab, Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-Founder and Deputy Chairman of the Motsepe Foundation, announced a three-year, 1 million Swiss franc partnership on the opening day of the World Economic Forum on Africa. The objectives of the partnership are to advance the social entrepreneurship agenda in Africa by raising awareness, engaging the media and celebrating proven social innovators; contribute to research initiatives on best practices and scaling strategies; and build the capacity of African social enterprises through peer-to-peer exchanges.

“All over the world, social entrepreneurs are implementing solutions to some of our most intractable social and environmental challenges,” said Hilde Schwab. “As the International Institution dedicated to public-private cooperation, the World Economic Forum is ideally placed to bring the talent and the passion of social entrepreneurs who have created proven, cost-effective models together with decision-makers in government and corporations who have the resources and infrastructure to take those solutions to scale. Given the Motsepe Foundation’s longstanding commitment to entrepreneurship and the economic empowerment of all of South Africa’s citizens, they are an ideal partner to accelerate the potential of social entrepreneurship across the African continent,” she said.

“Social entrepreneurs can make a unique contribution to job creation, poverty alleviation and improving the living conditions and standards of living of poor and marginalized Africans,” said Precious Moloi-Motsepe. “There is a huge potential in Africa to identify, promote and showcase social entrepreneurs who are doing outstanding work and can inspire the next generation of social entrepreneurs. The Motsepe Foundation has been promoting the development and growth of entrepreneurs – particularly female and youth entrepreneurs – in the 26 Development Forums that it has established throughout South Africa. We are committed to working with the Schwab Foundation to develop and promote social entrepreneurship on the African continent,” she said.

As the world’s largest late-stage network of social entrepreneurs, many members of the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs aim for systemic change beyond the direct beneficiaries they serve. They recognize that they cannot scale their own individual organization to meet the size of the global need. The need is too vast, and solutions are too urgently required to rely on organic growth alone – meaning that creating truly transformative solutions requires influencing a broader set of actors. These “pathways to scale” differ across geographies and sectors, but include working with government to positively influence the policy agenda, partnering with large multinationals to scale the product or service offering, or encouraging other civil society actors to adopt a new methodology.

Recognizing social entrepreneurs’ need to better understand how to influence systems, the Motsepe Foundation grant will also be used to underwrite case-study research and provide scholarships to African-based Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs to participate in a bespoke Executive Education module at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government on Social Entrepreneurship as System Change. “This trend is very exciting, as it holds the greatest potential for vastly accelerating impact, and yet it is vastly under-explored and under-researched,” said Schwab. “We are thrilled to have true partners in Precious Moloi-Motsepe and Patrice Motsepe, who share this vision and wish to accelerate the shift towards ‘systems entrepreneurship’ through our partnership,” she said.

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