Social Entrepreneurship in the Global South: Rayhaan Survé’s Perspectives

Published Jan 18, 2024


In a recent World Economic Forum interview, Rayhaan Survé shared his optimistic views on the rise of social entrepreneurship among the youth in the Global South. The discussion, aimed at understanding the landscape of social entrepreneurship and its sustainability beyond the initial five years, provided valuable insights into how young entrepreneurs are addressing pressing social issues.

Survé noted a significant surge in youth entrepreneurship activities, particularly in social impact entrepreneurship. He emphasised that despite the overwhelming nature of global problems, the current generation possesses a unique understanding and a proactive approach towards finding solutions. The trend of combining activism with entrepreneurship, according to Survé, is a positive sign, indicating an increase in employment opportunities and a stronger emphasis on social impact.

“Youth are coming up with really innovative solutions, where they’re tracking carbon emissions, putting more pressure and taking social action in addressing climate change and climate action, especially when it comes to putting pressure on various big businesses in their economies,” Survé said.

“One of the challenges is bridging the generational gap between the youth who are taking action and applying pressure, and the policymakers. What often happens, is the youth speaks to each other and we understand how to communicate with each other about issues like climate change, we understand AI and social media, but when we speak to other generations, there may be some misunderstanding especially around the problems that come along with climate change.

“So how do we address that problem? We firstly need to reiterate the importance of the problems we’re trying to tackle, and that means getting involved with how AI can make the world better, but understanding that there’s always going to be a business impact case that needs to be made along with it.

“One of the things I’m encouraged to see is how much more emphasis companies are placing on social impact and the impacts of climate change on the environment, which is really assisting the conversation,” Survé told Niaga Awani editor Najib Aroff.

The conversation then shifted towards the challenges of social entrepreneurship, focusing on the critical issue of financing. Survé acknowledged the emergence of alternative financing avenues such as peer-to-peer (P2P) financing and crowdfunding. He pointed out that while these methods play a crucial role in empowering youth, the essence of entrepreneurship lies in identifying a problem and devising a viable solution. Survé stressed that effective problem-solving attracts financing, as investors are more likely to support enterprises with the potential to enact change.

Survé also highlighted the importance of local solutions to global problems. He argued that social impact entrepreneurship doesn’t necessarily mean tackling grand global challenges; it can be as simple as reducing waste in one’s community. By focusing on local issues and employing innovative approaches, young entrepreneurs can make a significant impact.

Addressing the specific challenges in the Global South, Survé noted the unique financing structures and entrepreneurial environments. He cited examples from South Africa, where youth creativity is being harnessed to address electricity and water crises through local solutions. Survé’s insights underscored the importance of nurturing this creativity and action-oriented mindset among young entrepreneurs.

Survé’s insights from the interview painted a hopeful picture of social entrepreneurship in the Global South. By focusing on local problems, leveraging alternative financing, and fostering creativity and solution-oriented approaches, young entrepreneurs are well-positioned to drive significant social change in their communities and beyond.