From 3 to 10 July 2022, Connective Cities organised a 6-person expert mission of city government and social entrepreneurship professionals from Karlsruhe, Germany to Kampala, Uganda. The purpose of the trip was to work together with partners of the Kampala City Council (KCCA) to develop a first draft of a strategy for collaboration in the field of social entrepreneurship and to explore opportunities for cooperation between the two cities in this area. The aim is to further develop a joint programme to support social entrepreneurs. In addition, the French city of Strasbourg also participated with Ms. Manon Obarowski, the local representative of the city of Strasbourg in Kampala. Further tri-national cooperation in this field is planned.
In Kampala, the delegation was welcomed with great interest. First, they developed a common definition of social entrepreneurship in a workshop with about 15 participants, including a mix of city administrators and social entrepreneurs. This definition included that businesses must be socially, economically, environmentally, and financially independent. Thereupon the delegation visited numerous companies, innovation hubs and public institutions to gain a better understanding of the needs of the respective stakeholders and to shed light on opportunities for further collaboration. The great interest was once more demonstrated on the last day of the trip, when representatives from all the entities without exception, and additional social enterprises, participated in the final workshop with more than 40 participants on potentials and opportunities of international cooperation.
During the trip, the experts identified common challenges. These ranged from problems caused by climate change to the legal hurdles faced by social enterprises, which are tailored either to non-profit institutions or to traditional businesses. All participants agreed that further exchange is necessary, and that international networking can generate new ideas and approaches to solutions. In this respect, the trip was a kick-off that aroused the desire for further cooperation from the management level up to the Mayor.
For further cooperation, it is planned that there will be a return visit of the Kampala city administration to Karlsruhe soon. In addition, regular events will promote further exchange and create a platform for all the actors involved. The long-term goal is to establish stable communication between the cities for further cooperation in the field of social entrepreneurship without the administration of the respective municipalities having to be directly involved. However, there are still some steps to be taken before this can happen, even though many new ideas, such as the use of public-private partnership, have already emerged from the Kampala city government because of the cooperation.
UPDATE: In early December 2022, the first tri-national online network meeting for social entrepreneurs took place with stakeholders from Karlsruhe, Kampala, and Strasbourg. The commitment of the three cities to further promote opportunities for collaboration in the field of social entrepreneurship will continue.