At its core, a social enterprise is a business. But, it’s a business with a purpose. Created to further a social goal, the main reason social enterprises exist is for social impact with an eye toward financial viability. Social enterprises have the potential to offer alternative, sustainable solutions to typical models of aid, changing the narrative of what’s possible.
Business To Reduce Childhood Mortality
Asili is our social enterprise in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s a startup with social impact, bringing remarkably high quality services to communities in Eastern Congo. With three business lines – provision of clean water via conveniently placed water taps, world class primary health care services, and an agricultural cooperative – we’re creating healthier, more resilient, and economically empowered communities in Eastern Congo. Asili is scalable, offering a portfolio of market-driven businesses that evolve according to each new community.
Each Asili “zone” will be profitable within the first three years, servicing approximately 10,000 customers per zone. And, all businesses operate on a mobile platform, making customer service and health data easy to track and respond to. In existing Asili zones, people have access to income-generating crops, clean, safe water is being delivered directly to villages, and quality primary health care, overseen by an experienced doctor, is now an accessible reality. As we expand, the social enterprise will grow and respond to the unique needs of each new community, with the potential to fundamentally change how we view the underserved in Congo.
Trying New Models
As we continue to experiment in social enterprise, we’re looking toward other business-driven opportunities around the world. One of those opportunities is helping boda boda drivers – motorcycle taxis – in Uganda build a business model that is both profitable and can help prevent violence against women and girls. We call this program Safe Rides, and the idea is to offer reliable, consistent, and safe motorcycle rides to women and girls living throughout Kyangwali refugee settlement in Uganda. With our trusted brand name and employees who are trained in violence and abuse prevention, we hope that Safe Ride boda bodas will be the preferred transportation of choice in Kyangwali. We’re still in the early research and prototyping stages of Safe Rides, but so far it’s been met with huge amounts of enthusiasm from customers, investors, and the drivers themselves.
Social Enterprise Locations
Alight’s current social enterprise pilots are located in:
- Democratic Republic of Congo – Asili
- Uganda – Safe Rides