Correcting Market Failures with the Tools of Capitalism

travel-image-17Geneva (Switzerland) – April 1, 2016 ( – Eleven social entrepreneurs from around the world have been recognized by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship as the 2016 Social Entrepreneurs of the Year. Social Entrepreneurs are active where traditional markets have failed, and apply the latest business thinking in a practical and sustainable way to benefit the marginalized and poor. They are closing gaps in products and services that would otherwise not be filled for these underserviced communities.

“Their success rests upon combining the financial disciplines of market capitalism with the passion and compassion required to create a more fair and just world,” said Hilde Schwab, Co-Founder and Chairwoman of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. “This year’s awardees are experimenting with business models and new distribution and replication methods, and holding themselves accountable for results. They are changing society for the better in the process,” she added.

The winners were selected by the board of the Schwab Foundation, which includes Mohammad Yunus, Chairman, Yunus Centre (Bangladesh); David Gergen, Director, Center for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (USA); Zanele Mbeki, Chairperson and Founder, WDB Trust (South Africa); and H.M. Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Honorary Board Member, in recognition of their innovative approaches and potential for global impact.

The 2016 awardees are particularly active in providing access to the internet and various low-tech solutions to help underprivileged communities to participate in the fundamental changes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Several awardees are using new technologies in marginalised and poor communities to provide jobs, skills training and education in innovative new ways.

The Social Entrepreneurs of the Year Award 2016 goes to:
Sophi Tranchell of Divine Chocolate (UK), which pioneered Fairtrade chocolate and is co-owned by the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa farmers’ cooperative in Ghana with 80,000 members. The cooperative collectively produces 6% of Ghana’s cocoa harvest and Kuapa Kokoo farmers receive 44% of distributed profits. Divine has built partnerships with major retailers such as Starbucks, Tesco, and Marks & Spencer’s, selling more than 30 different products in 12 countries.

Jean-Marc Borello of Groupe SOS (France), which is arguably the world’s largest social enterprise, overseeing 330 organizations that address social needs with 12,000 employees across these organizations. Groupe SOS’s family of social enterprises directly impacts over 1 million people annually in 20 countries.

Sergio Andrade of Agenda Pública (Brazil), which coordinates governments, civil society and companies to provide technical assistance and training for public administrators. So far, Agenda Pública has trained more than 5,000 administrators in basic infrastructure, another 5,000 administrators in policy development, and 600 municipal officials in working groups for the extractive industries.

Tracey Chambers of The Clothing Bank (South Africa), which provides unemployed single mothers from South Africa’s townships with two years of training to become self-employed business women. The Clothing Bank counts 829 women as graduates, with another 800 women currently enrolled in the two-year programme. Since 2010, these women have collectively generated income for their families of more than $2 million.

Luvuyo Rani of Silulo (South Africa), which operates IT stores and training centres in townships and rural areas of South Africa, and provides job opportunities for unemployed youth. Silulo has 33 operational branches in and around the townships, and works with companies like Tsiba, Microsoft and Vodacom.

Yasmina Filali of Fondation Orient Occident (Morocco), which provides job training to underprivileged Moroccans, sub-Saharan migrants and refugees. It also helps migrants and refugees to integrate into Moroccan society. Ninety-five per cent of graduates from the IT courses and 60% of hospitality graduates find regular employment.

J. David Risher and Colin McElwee of Worldreader (69 countries, predominantly African), which distributes digital books, offering a collection of more than 28,000 books from over 150 publishers in 44 languages. Worldreader makes these books available to over 6 million readers in 69 countries with an emphasis on students in Africa and Asia. As a result, 7 out of 10 primary students and 8 out of 10 library patrons report reading more.

Ron Bills of Envirofit (USA), which sells affordable biomass cookstovesthat significantly lower exposure to indoor air pollution. Since it began, the company’s largely female sales team has sold 900,000 stoves and impacted 4.5 million users, reducing CO2 emissions by 15.3 million tons. In the aggregate, they have saved their customers $124 million in fuel costs.
Nina Smith of GoodWeave International (India, Nepal, Afghanistan), which prevents child labour in the global carpet industry by building market demand for rugs certified as child-labour-free and preventing child labour in production sites. The number of child labourers in carpet supply chains has been reduced by 80% to an estimated 200,000.

Poonam Bir Kasturi of Daily Dump (India), which encourages urban Indian households to segregate and compost their wet organic waste through sales of aesthetically designed composters and advisory services. As of 2015, 25,000 families and 120 institutions use Daily Dump products, collectively keeping 22,000 kg of wet waste out of landfills at no cost to the government.

Simon Bakker of Kennemer Foods International (Philippines), which grows, sources and trades in high-quality agriculture produce such as fermented cocoa beans through a contract farming programme with smallholder farmers in the Philippines. In just five years of operations, Kennemer has achieved significant scale, sourcing from 10,000 Filipino farmers who have seen an average income increase of 340%. By 2020, the company aims to integrate 35,000 farmers into its value chain.

The awardees will become part of the broader Schwab Foundation community of Social Entrepreneurs, which includes over 320 outstanding social entrepreneurs from 70 countries. Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs are fully integrated into the events and initiatives of the World Economic Forum. They contribute to and benefit from peer-to-peer exchanges with other social entrepreneurs as well as interactions with leaders in business, government, civil society and the media.

The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. (

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