The first ever SoCreative hub Summit is taking place in Johannesburg.
The summit will gather Social and Creative entrepreneurs working in and with hubs in Southern Africa.
In partnership with the British Council, DICE (Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies) and Hivos, the event hosted by the Arterial Network is aimed at connecting creative and social economies and drive the development of versatile and resilient hubs in Southern Africa. The goal is to bring together innovators, visionaries, start-ups, SMMEs, hub managers and hub users together to discuss the potential opportunities for entrepreneurial partnerships and growth between the two economies.
The Star spoke to two of the keynote speakers, Likhumbi Kapihya and Lorraine-Charlotte Bgoya about their passion for social innovation.
Likhumbi Kapihya manages the Social Enterprise Academy Zambia, a learning and development programme powered by Lusaka based innovation and technology hub, BongoHive. She has over 10 years of experience working with NGOs, public sector bodies and development consultancies and supports interventions that help Africa drive its own narrative of prosperity.
How would you explain social enterprise?
Social enterprise is one of those ambiguous concepts; we sometimes say that you may not be able to define it, but you will know it when you see it. The definition we use at BongoHive, is that social enterprises create social impact through sustainable business practices.
How are you using technology to enhance the creative space?
We make technology accessible for entrepreneurs, including creative entrepreneurs, whose core business may not usually align with tech solutions. We do this by providing access to our team of developers but also providing support through our structured design sessions in our flagship accelerator programmes. We also collaborate extensively with other hubs and organisations in the creative space, from Modzi Arts and Circus Zambia locally to M-hub in Malawi and Tech Village in Zimbabwe, creating a virtual community for creative entrepreneurs.
What does the BongoHive do?
BongoHive works with great minds building viable solutions that change the world. We do this through three pillars of work which is entrepreneurship, technology and innovation. We run two flagship programmes supporting entrepreneurs; Discover which helps people transform their ideas into a business and validate their assumptions and Launch which helps already established business develop growth strategies and secure investment. Our Consult team designs solutions for corporations and organisations that want to leverage tech and innovation to address the challenges they face delivering value to their customers. More recently, our work has also evolved to encompass using an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset to change communities and grow social impact with the launch of our social enterprise support programme.
What key values do creatives need to understand their impact on the economy?
To understand the impact that they have on their economy, creatives need to be able to understand the business metrics related to their creative activity. Creatives need to acknowledge not only the value they add to society through their work but also that their work has an economic benefit that can be calculated and communicated. This economic value is just as important as things like social cohesion and community-building.
What are you doing to raise awareness for the arts in your community?
One of the key things we do create a space and platform for creatives to be part of the larger entrepreneurial community. Some of the most successful alumni of BongoHive programmes are creative entrepreneurs like My Perfect Stitch that does Afro-centric home decor and accessories, Modzi Arts, a creative hub and co-working space and Street Culture that provides classes and talent management for urban arts. We are also part of a working group to create a permanent multi-hub space for creatives in Lusaka.
Lorraine-Charlotte Bgoya, better known as Loch is cultural producer based in Harare, Zimbabwe. She currently works as the Community Manager of Moto Republik, the first creative co-creation and co-working space in Zimbabwe. Lorraine focuses on designing and implementing programs and platforms targeted at proving the viability of creative entrepreneurship and increasing freedom of expression through the arts
What are you doing in the creative space?
I run a creative co-creation space called Moto Republik in Harare. The space is the first of its kind and offers work space, entrepreneurial training and network and collaboration opportunities for creatives
How do you use your role as a community manager to enhance your community?
My role as the community manager is a job I enjoy and take very seriously. My favourite part is obviously being the ambassador of a dynamic innovative space. But my role is to develop a community that that encourages and facilitates collaboration.
What main challenges are creatives/artists facing?
The biggest challenge is access to funding.
How are you using your business studies to help others?
My business studies come in handy in training creatives on how to professionalise, select the correct business models and communicate effectively.
What do you want creatives to understand about their impact on the economy?
I am one of the people that believe art and creativity can change the world, it already does in so many ways. The creative economy is underutilised in a world where whole countries are supported by their creative industries. We have to take our business seriously, so we are counted.