What is a social enterprise?

Riders for Health is proud to be a part of the global community of social entrepreneurs. Riders are members of both the Skoll Foundation and the Schwab Foundation. In 2006 Riders were named the Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneurs of the Year.

What is a social entrepreneur?

A social entrepreneur drives innovation and progress. In the words of the Skoll Foundation, ‘they seize opportunities that challenge and change forever established but fundamentally inequitable systems.’

Across the world social entrepreneurs are showing that they are not afraid to take on some of the world’s biggest and most challenging problems. By recognising the talents and abilities of the billions of people living in developing countries, and applying their own skills and experiences, social entrepreneurs are able to create enduring social benefits.

Riders and social enterprise

By combining the appropriate technology with new systems for looking after it, Riders have created a solution to the problem of a lack of transportation which is sustainable, replicable and scalable. By providing training programmes for technicians, mechanics and fleet managers, Riders is building capacity in Africa and is developing a lasting infrastructure for the future.

By using a business model for its work Riders’ field programmes are designed to become financially self-sustaining in the long-term. And because this model is flexible, it means that Riders’ programmes are replicable and can work just as effectively for a small fleet of two or three motorcycles as it does for a government ministry’s fleet of hundreds of two and four wheeled vehicles.

This approach extends into Riders’ fundraising in the UK and elsewhere. Many of Riders’ fundraising activities are based on the principle of giving people something of real value for their money. This is why Riders set up Day of Champions in the UK, Spain and the US, our motorcycling adventure, Experience Africa, as well as why we run the ‘helmet bus’ at biking events throughout the year.

Riders for Health works with other social entrepreneurs allowing communities to work together and transfer their skills.

Together with our other social entrepreneurs, Riders represents an incredibly powerful force for systematic change.’ – Sally Osberg, president and chief executive of the Skoll Foundation.

Social entrepreneurs use business and innovative revenue models to stimulate social inclusion: they are practical, results-orientated innovators who instigate processes whereby the poor become agents of change and self-determination Pamela Hartigan
Former director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship