A Social Venture is often characterised as a “triple bottom line” business. That is one that is committed in equal balance to profit, people and the planet. A more precise definition is “an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being”. The Foundation has decided that it wishes to carry out many of its activities through Social Venture structures.
The Pharo Social Ventures aim to achieve three objectives:
- maximising value added
- maximising the number of jobs created
- reaching profitability within a few years, ideally 3 or less
One characteristic of African economies is the scarcity of capital. The Foundation will, therefore, target sectors that are capital intensive such as water drilling, equipment leasing, manufacturing or power generation. This is consistent with the Foundation’s stated objective of building not only human, but also physical capital.
The Foundation intends to invest significantly over the next five years in a range of social enterprises. These social enterprises will actively seek clients in the private, government and NGO sectors. The Foundation’s programmatic activities (education, water services, health and agriculture) will also be clients.