Building Social Businesses
“Talent is very equally distributed, but opportunities are not”, observed Fatoumata Bâ, founder and CEO of social startup studio Janngo. In this lively discussion, moderated by Martin Weiss, Bâ joined Nobel Prize laureate Muhammed Yunus and Mastercard executive Peter Bakenecker to explore how companies and entrepreneurs can contribute to society in a positive way.
Bâ spoke about the hurdles African entrepreneurs face, particularly access to funding, and mentioned that in 2019, African entrepreneurs had 90 percent less funding than American counterparts. On the challenges of scaling for-profit social businesses, she said, “In the African context, there’s a strong scarcity of trust, hence of capital. We need to demonstrate that we’re able to attract development players, of course, but also private sector investors. And to attract them, we committed to the deliver the returns of traditional businesses, that being said, all the ventures we’re funding today are solving a social problem.”
Muhammad Yunus criticized the asymmetries of the current financial system, which is known to predominantly lend money to people who already have access to money. “Credit is a universal human right,” he said, “Nobody should be excluded from the financial system… because there is nothing wrong with people, there is something wrong with our institutions.”
Peter Bakenecker is Mastercard’s Division President for Germany and Switzerland. Since joining in 2006, Peter held various management positions, including Head of Product, Business Development as well as Digital Payments for Europe. Before joining Mastercard, Peter was with Batten & Company as well as Roland Berger Strategy Consultants as part of their financial services practices.
Born in Bangladesh as one 14 children, Prof. Yunus went on to become a noted economist who pioneered the concept of microcredits. In 2006, he received a Nobel Peace Prize for his achievements as “Banker to the Poorest of the Poor”. He has since focused on spreading and implementing the concept of Social Business.
Fatoumata Bâ is a Tech Entrepreneur & VC Investor, Founder & Executive Chair of Janngo and Managing Partner of Janngo Capital. Janngo builds, grows and invests in pan-African “tech for good” champions with proven business models and inclusive social impact. At Jumia, the number 1 tech unicorn in Africa to be listed on the NYSE, she served as Founder & CEO in Ivory Coast.