Speaker Session: Social Enterprises in Ethiopia

On December 30, the CIPE Civic Engagement Hub (CEH) hosted its fifth regular speaker session on “Social Enterprises in Ethiopia”. The session’s speaker was Mr. Adenew Mesfin, Chief Executive Officer of Social Enterprise Ethiopia. Social Enterprise Ethiopia is the national body for social enterprises, which can be classified as businesses with a specific social or environmental mission or objective that work towards both social impact and profit. The organization works to create a strong social enterprise ecosystem to ensure a sustainable and inclusive economy in Ethiopia. The speaker session was attended by 17 participants from businesses, social enterprises, BMOs, and CSOs.

During the event, the speaker shared that there is currently no legal framework for social enterprises in Ethiopia; social enterprise initiatives must therefore be registered following the regulatory frameworks for businesses or civil society organizations. When discussing key challenges for social enterprise development in Ethiopia, the speaker highlighted the lack of a regulatory framework, difficulty accessing financial support and relevant networks, limited understanding about social enterprises, and limited access to impact measurement. The speaker mentioned that the recent recognition given to the sector has created opportunities that are contributing to the sector’s development.

Event participants posed a variety of questions to the speaker on the importance of social enterprises in Ethiopia, as well as the profit and impact of social enterprise organizations in Ethiopia. After the speaker session, CIPE hosted an online networking session for participants using Zoom breakout sessions, which saw the attendance of 10 event participants.