Flame Tree Initiative

Social Entrepreneurship for African Development

The Flame Tree Initiative partners with African universities to foster scalable, socially-minded businesses that accelerate regional change. We believe that training, mentoring and launching development enterprises -- businesses that confront global development challenges -- is a potent way to contribute to the new, innovative era in Africa.

Malawi's First
Forum to Map the Development Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

The Flame Tree Initiative and Mzuzu University will co-convene a Forum to Map the Malawian Development Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Lilongwe on September 20, 2017.

Why have a forum?

Development enterprises, social enterprises focused on critical development challenges, offer a market-based response to complex social and economic problems. Given the constraints that Malawi faces, including a lack of external investment, limited natural resources, sustained high inflation rates, exorbitant bank interest rates, and being landlocked, the path to progress has to be organic and driven by local markets.  The creation and growth of local enterprises driven both by profit and the desire to create measurable social impact is the best path out of poverty.

There is merit in advancing development-focused, scalable enterprises that address the key barriers to sustainable development: food insecurity, lack of women’s empowerment, inadequate public health, environmental degradation, abused natural resources, youth unemployment, and multiple aspects of energy poverty.  For such enterprises to succeed over time, a supportive ecosystem is essential.

What comprises an ecosystem?

An ecosystem is the network of players and institutional factors that can either assist or deter the creation and growth of scalable, innovative small businesses. Entrepreneurs require coordination between academia, the private sector, government, media, finance, impact hubs, training programs, NGOs, and investors in order to find scalable success.

What is the Forum?

The Forum is a challenging program that demands active participation. This is not your typical conference. It is a gathering of key people and organizations who will ultimately co-produce a community resource to aid in the assessment and utilization of the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem in Malawi. Together, we will explore the components of this ecosystem, collaborate to design new group initiatives, and evaluate the opportunities for growth to form a more cohesive, communicative support team for growing enterprises.

The community resource we produce will serve as a strategic planning tool for all organizations involved in the field of entrepreneurship in Malawi. Additionally, this Forum will serve as a platform for participants within the ecosystem to better know one other, sustain conversations, and serve as advocates for emerging, development-focused social enterprises.

Who is involved?

The Ecosystem Forum is co-hosted by the Flame Tree Initiative and Mzuzu University with support from:

  • Jubilee Enterprises
  • Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST)
  • Blantyre Entrepreneurs
  • mHub
  • Segal Family Foundation
  • U.S. State Department

Interested to learn more? Contact us and we'll get back to you with more details.

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