From Activist to Entrepreneur: Report Highlights

1.    Ghana’s social enterprise culture is growing. There are an estimated 26,000 social enterprises (SEs) in Ghana, driven in part by the returning Diaspora community and international NGO projects. They have a clear mission (to address a social or an environmental challenge), tend to be young and adopt a blended financing model. Interestingly, although they use a blend of grant funding, donations and commercial activities, the charitable element accounts for only 25% of income. 

2.     Ghana has a strong culture of female entrepreneurs. According to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, Ghana has the highest rate of female-owned businesses in the world. Nearly 50% of for profit entreprises are led by women although 80% of these are micro entities.

3.     Gender inequality needs urgent attention. Despite the volume of female-led businesses, Ghana performs poorly regarding the protection of women’s rights, namely in the areas of political empowerment, domestic violence and sexual harassment. For instance, only 12.75% of parliamentarians are female, 1 in 3 women are victims of physical violence and it is common for women to be turned down for jobs for refusing to be intimate with a potential employer. 

4.     The profile of the female social entrepreneur mirrors her male counterpart: Women social entrepreneurs, like their male counterparts, are driven by a social or an environmental mission. Those that have a high standard of education are more likely to be scalable and there’s a fairly even split between those who come from privileged backgrounds and those who don’t.

5.     Overall positive impact of social enterprise on wellbeing: 68% of the women we engaged with spoke of how working for an SE boosted their confidence and sense of self-worth. In previous studies, men have said that working for an SE elevated their status and respect from others. 

6.     Mainstream for profit businesses more attractive for flexible working: 50% of female SEs said that flexible working hours were a priority and 74% felt that running a profit-first business would give them greater flexibility than an SE. 

7.     Financial security hugely important for women and SEs don’t respond to that need: 43% of respondents expressed a desire to ultimately work for government, corporates or large NGOs because of the importance of financial security. This aspiration is much higher than for female social entrepreneurs in India and the UK- 13% and 3%, respectively. 

For the full report, pls see here.