Sankalp Africa connects social entrepreneurship communities

Bertil van Vugt
By on February 10, 2015

The Kenyan capital Nairobi was the center of the social enterprise world last week as Intellecap organized the second edition of the ‘Sankalp Africa Summit’. About 600 people from around the globe came together around the theme ‘Accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship towards and inclusive Africa’ and to learn from experiences from the Indian and African ecosystems.

In India the Sankalp Forum has become one of the main annual events that brings social ventures, investors, enablers and policy-makers together to strengthen the growing space. And looking at the large number of international participants the 2-day conference in Nairobi has also clearly filled a need for a similar event on the African continent.

Inclusive Business

‘Inclusive business’ was well represented in the agenda. The ‘IB’ topic has gained momentum after the release of the 17 ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDG) that could transform the world by 2030. SDG number 8 is formulated as ‘Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.’

During the opening keynote of Nanno Kleiterp , CEO of the Dutch development bank FMO (see picture below), he emphasised that “inclusiveness is not a ‘nice to have’, it is a necessity.” He said that FMO has set an ambitious goal for 2020: to double the impact and halve the footprint. They aim to do this by focusing more on green and inclusive investments in the investment portfolio.

Nanno Kleiterp

On the first day of the conference the Intellecap report “Catalyst for change: Creating an ecosystem for entrepreneurs in East Africa” was launched. One of the main findings of the study is that more than 12 million opportunity-driven early stage entrepreneurs are capital hungry and they are the ones to catalyze inclusive growth in their local communities.


Right after popular talkshow host Jeff Koinange invited 10 inspiring African social businesses on stage to pitch their companies. Right after the winners of the Sankalp Award were announced, picture at the top of this page. In the evening Jeff Koinange interview Intellecap founders Vineet Rai and Nisha Dutt. See below:

Earier that day, during the workshop ‘Democratizing incubation’, we presented the Inclusive Business Accelerator and talked about how we use our ‘virtual acceleration’ model is connecting different groups to each other and offering tools and services for companies to grow. A lively discussion was held about many topics by the about 50 participants from the community of enablers: incubators, accelerators and schools.

The second day of Sankalp Africa had a very full programme with keynotes by Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, and Darshan Chandaria, CEO of Chandaria Industries, the local launch of GIZ’s ‘Inclusive Business Action Network’, different sessions on the future of impact investing, one on last mile delivery of corporates as Philips and Unilever and the role of angel investors in the startup space.

South-South collaboration

In the morning IFC and Intellecap presented the study “South-South collaboration: Corridors for Shared Prosperity“. This report is talking about ‘the emerging hotbets for cross-border technology and business transfer from, within and to Africa, while highlighting the role of corporations, investors and donors in driving it.’ During the session entrepreneurs showed how their model can work in different countries and different settings.


Many participants were taking the interesting sessions for granted, as they met in the garden of the Strathmore University, having a coffee and trying to meet with as many people as they can. Vivid networking also happened during meetups and dinners around the event. This edition of Sankalp Africa has clearly set a precedent, as the ecosystem is likely to grow in the years to come and Indian entrepreneurs have a lot of experience and knowledge African entrepreneurs can benefit from – and vice versa.