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Gonzaga University

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Cameroon: Social Pluralism and Development

Abstract

Social entrepreneurship, a practice that combines nonprofit missions and business principles in pursuit of social impact, is a growing phenomenon that has the potential to empower millions of people around the world through a decentralized approach to social problem solving. In this paper, I examine the state of social entrepreneurship in Cameroon, exploring how social entrepreneurship is defined in the Cameroonian context by local actors, and the ways in which Cameroonian social entrepreneurs interact with macro, meso, and micro level politics and partners to create sustainable social impact. From November 7 through December 7, 2015, I conducted in-person interviews with eight social enterprises and four government ministries, as well as six email exchanges with two social enterprises in different parts of Cameroon and four university students who participated in a US Embassy sponsored exchange program for social innovators. Ultimately, I conclude that social entrepreneurship is an underdeveloped concept that is understood differently by different actors in the country, and the practitioners work with the government, businesses, universities, funders, community partners, and mentors to varying extents in pursuit of solving some of Cameroon’s most persistent social issues, such as hunger, poverty, and unemployment.

Disciplines

Economics | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Growth and Development

 

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