In our efforts at 249Startups to generate information , data and opportunities in sudanese markets , We have launched series of forums where we will be hosting experts, Corporate executives and entrepreneurs to detect challenging areas and market gaps, and identify what opportunities lie within it, and to provide market insights and know-how on approaching specified subjects.
This is done with the aim of equipping the participants with explicit knowledge about the identified markets and widen their horizons by communicating the different opportunities which lie within them, and try to direct them towards working in areas that are currently a priority for government , development & private sectors .Additionally, encourage the participants to develop solutions to address the identified challenges and gaps in the industry.
And, with the call for applicants for the 3rd batch of the Orange Corners Sudan Incubation Program started, we are considering how the upcoming incubation cohort can address these challenges as well as the needs of the country. With that came the idea
of the incubation program having thematic tracks dedicated to the identified challenging areas and gaps.
Sixth Forum : Beyond the Horizon: Empowerment & Social Inclusion Forum
This time we had Hasna Abdelwahab, Corporate Sustainability & Social Impact Manager at @Haggar Group, Imad Abbas Founder of Enlighten Books & one of the participants of the 2nd batch of the Orange Corners Sudan Program- and the Social Entrepreneur & Founder of Alfal Beauty, Asma Ali. The forum moderated by our Gender & M&E Specialist at 249Startups Lugain Mahmoud. Watch the full webinar and reach the summary of discussion points .
Social Inclustion is one of the eight tracks of the Orange Corners Program. This webinar is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about the opportunities available in these paths.
Social inclusion is the process of improving the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society-improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity.
Types of social responsibility
- Individuals and communities responsibility.
- Corporates or entities responsibility (private sector).
- Government responsibility.
All these 3 parts must work together in order to achieve social inclusion. In Sudan the private sector is very small, however, there are a lot of initiatives that are carried out through private sector companies to achieve social justice.
In Haggar group, for example, they focus on including women economically which leads to social empowerment. Also, they focus on including people with special needs or disabilities such as their partnership with enlighten books. To achieve social inclusion there must be awareness, which can be delivered through courses, workshops, and other activities.
About 30,000 individuals are the number of people who are currently working in the private sector in Sudan, according to the working law, 2.5 of the working force must be for people with special needs or people with disabilities. Unfortunately, this law isn’t applicable.
It’s important to make sure to include people with disabilities in the community and provide them with fair operating conditions and fair opportunities for them to conduct their work. Tribal or diversity inclusion is also very important, and also reducing, gender, religion inequalities.| Hasna , CSI Manager – Haggar Group
COVID19 affected the economy, specifically the daily workers. So there must be a plan to include these people in the coordinated market, do they can have social security in such situations.
Technology and digital tools can be very helpful in providing people with services and information in order to socially include them, but when we talk about Sudan, a lot of people in many different areas don’t have access to technology which can be an impediment in the face of community development and social inclusion.
out of 41.8 million which is Sudan’s population, only 8.3 million people have access to internet connection. There’s a good opportunity for corporations that can support startups and youth initiatives in the social inclusion track.
- Data is the first challenge that will face social entrepreneurs.
- Financing is one of the difficulties that face social entrepreneurship.
- There is problems in the accessibility of electricity and internet connection in rural or undeveloped regions.
Examples of Social Inclusion businesses
Is an initiative to provide educational materials for blind students in the form of audiobooks. Launched an application that contains all the education curricula for all the educational stages in the form of audio. It’s used in 5 states in Sudan 21 schools, and more than 100 blind students. It can be used in schools, and universitie . The initiative entered a partnership with Haggar group to work on delivering this educational material to blind students in states other than Khartoum and rural areas.
Asmaa Ali known as (Asoom) is the founder of a very big Facebook group called natural treasures (almost 400k members), the idea behind it was creating a supportive community for women, she also worked on empowering women by transferring the knowledge to them which can be used by them to start their own businesses, she also shares business advice with them. The group provided and helped 950 Sudanese girls to create work opportunities, besides the income, it also benefited them with experience, social networking and other benefits.
Orange corners can be very helpful for any young person who has any idea related to social inclusion or any of the other 7 tracks.
One of orange corners’ efforts in diversity is the EmpowerHer programme, in batch 1 the number of female incubatees was 5 to 15 males, so 249Startups started this programme which is a monthly workshops for females to encourage them to apply for orange corners incubation programme.
These small initiatives have a really big impact on the community and the proof is in batch two of the incubation programme there were 10 females to 10 males. We hope in the future we see similar initiatives to empower people with disabilities and refugees or dislocated people and the other marginalized communities.| Lugain , Gender M&L 249Startups
The Government also must lead the youth and support them because small businesses and startups are the future of the economy in Sudan and the whole world.
Advises for entrepreneurs
Don’t give up, any idea you have, go ahead and do it, even if it doesn’t work you learn from it, start small . | Asmaa Ali.
Work hard and don’t use the situation and context of the country as an excuse. | Imad Abbas.
Entrepreneurship opens a lot of doors, especially in Sudan’s economical situation. It can be an excellent way to reduce unemployment rates. Young people should start thinking about entrepreneurship as a serious option . | Lujain Mahmoud.
This Article had been developed by 249Startups Team for purpose of learning and sharing knowledge as part of Markets Opportunities Mapping Forum .