1st Edition

Social Innovation In Africa A practical guide for scaling impact

By Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli Copyright 2016
    190 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    190 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Encouraged by the emergence and early impact of social innovators on the African Continent, but frustrated by the slow pace of large scale change, this book is focused on filling the knowledge gap for those tackling Africa’s serious social problems.

    It lays out the required building blocks for achieving scale at impact. By creating clear mission, vision, and values statements and piloting and rolling out business models that are demand-driven, simple, and low-cost, with compelling measurement and evaluation tools that leverage technology. It also explores the steps for attracting and retaining talent and financing and forming strategic partnerships with the private, public and non-profit sectors to foster scaling. Practical case studies provide inspiration for those who seek to become innovators or to be employed by them.

    Finally, it outlines the crucial steps for key stakeholders to take in order to support the emergence of more social innovators on the African continent, create an enabling environment for the scaling of high-impact initiatives and advance collective efforts to build stronger communities for current and future generations.

    This is a practical and inspirational guide for all entrepreneurs and individuals that seek to combine business and social goals and for those in the public, private and non-profit sectors that aim to foster and support these projects.

    1. Vision for Scale

    2. Sustainable Business Models that Scale

    3. Talent for Scaling

    4. Financing Scaling

    5. Partnerships for Scaling

    6. Supporting Scaling: The Roles of Key Stakeholders

    7. Looking to the Future for Social Innovators


    Funding Sources for Social Innovators

    Prizes and Awards



    Social Entrepreneurship Training and Incubation Programs

    Challenge Funds


    Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli is a serial social entrepreneur based in Nigeria. She is the founder of LEAP Africa, co-founder of AACE Foods, director at Sahel Capital and in 2015, she was a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government, Harvard Kennedy School, USA. She has a MBA from Harvard Business School and Bachelor of Science in Economics Degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She started her career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, working in their Chicago, New York and Johannesburg Offices. Ndidi was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and received a National Honor – Member of the Federal Republic from the Nigerian Government. She was listed as one of the 20 Youngest Power African Women by Forbes. She serves on numerous international and local boards including Nestlé Nigeria Plc., Nigerian Breweries Plc., Cornerstone Insurance Plc. and USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid.

    "This is a brilliant book on scaling up social innovation and entrepreneurship, with relevance for Africa and far beyond. It presents an excellent analytical framework, wide ranging evidence of specific social enterprises, and practical guidance for social entrepreneurs and their partners. The author uniquely combines thorough literature research and on-the-ground interviews with her own rich experience as a serial social entrepreneur in Nigeria."Johannes F. Linn, Brookings Institution, USA and Emerging Markets Forum. 

    "Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli’s has written a highly readable and useful primer for those seeking to scale high-impact entrepreneurial ventures in a highly diverse African context. As reflected in its title, this is a practical guide that begins by delineating the challenges facing entrepreneurial companies and non-profits that are unique to this continent, one where each country differs in its historical, political, social and economic background. While acknowledging these differences, Nwuneli is able to dive deep into the critical steps any social venture needs to take – whether in Africa or elsewhere – to safeguard the venture’s legitimacy, reputation, financial sustainability and impact on the lives of its clients. The author highlights these steps with specific examples of high-impact ventures that continue to learn as they scale. Social Innovation in Africa: A practical guide for scaling impact is an important contribution to a growing trend among entrepreneurs that seek to combine business and social goals to transform systems and practices with negative consequences for individuals, communities and countries." – Pamela Hartigan, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, UK. 

    "While Ndidi hasn’t succeeded in getting herself out of a job, this first effort to reflect on scaling up social innovation in the Continent provides the nuts and bolts of doing so. Funders, governments, social innovators and civil society have much to learn from this book."Kole Shettima, MacArthur Foundation, Nigeria. 

    "Rather than dwell on the barriers only, or tell a story of a few hard-to-replicate successes, this book concentrates on what could practically and immediately support scaling our local social innovations – by understanding the ecosystem and resources available on and to the continent. If you’re advancing social innovation in your communities, your organization, your sectors or your country, this book presents a comprehensive review of the frameworks of thinking, the key pieces of the puzzle, and, through a rich journey of interviews, unpacks insights into some fascinating cases on the continent. Ndidi’s path continues to be one of action, and through that, an inspiration to others in Africa – and now her gift to us all is a guide to make our own paths wider, to make them go further, intersecting with others as we join her call." – François Bonnici, Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Cape Town, South Africa. 

    "Social innovation is a term that conjures up mystery. Drawing from her vast experiences as a serial entrepreneur, Ndidi Nwuneli has written an excellent handbook both for the perplexed and the curious. Social Innovation in Africa is as practical as it is inspirational." – Calestous Juma, Harvard Kennedy School, USA and author of Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies.