Director, Venture and Talent, Ashoka Africa, a global network of social entrepreneurs, Josephine Nzerem, has described Nigeria as a creative, entrepreneurial powerhouse, and emerging market home to some 200 million. She said it was on the basis of this that Ashoka leadership decided to bring the Africa hub to Nigeria.
She stated this at a press conference held at Bic Farms Concepts, Independence Street, Anifowoshe, Ikeja, Lagos to acquaint journalists with Ashoka, build the visibility for the organisation, and announce the unveiling of Nigeria as the headquarter of Ashoka Africa. The unveiling ceremony which comes up on January 24, holds at Raddison Blu, Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Nzerem said the event was also to intimate the press with Ashoka fellows, noting that “there is need to get the media with credible information about Ashoka as well as reach out to more responsible organization, with information in all the areas the fellows are change makers.”
According to her, “If there is any sector the public wants, and given that we have over 90 fellows in Nigeria, if the fellow is not present, one can call on us, and we would lead the person to the fellow that does work on that area.” She explained that Ashoka is a global organisation that has over the years campaigned for Social entrepreneurship, pointing out that “social entrepreneurship is not a common work in our lexicon. She said, “What we know is business entrepreneurship. But in the wisdom of our founder Bill Drayton, who founded Ashoka in 1980 with Nigeria joining in 1990, there are many entrepreneurs, who are dealing with social issues but were not recognised.
“They didn’t have an identity because they were just in community solving problems. So, Drayton decided to create a platform where these social entrepreneurs would gain identity, and support. So, what we do, is to give them stipends for three years to help them focus on their ideas, pay their bills, and also scale their work .
“This is 1.0 of Ashoka. Moving to Ashoka 2.0, we also realised that in creating a world of, “everyone effective and efficient change maker,” we cannot achieve that just by creating system changing entrepreneurs, we equally have to look into institutions, work with corporations, and ensure one is creating that visibility, and campaign where everyone would start thinking about a change making world.