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A social entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to bring about social change. While a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital - social and environmental goals.
AVN's success as a social enterprise has been recognised in 2012 by the Schwab Foundation's choice of AVN as African Social Entrepreneur of the Year, as a result of which Thomas Granier, CEO of AVN, was invited to attend the World Economic Forum meetings in Ethiopia and China.
Four principal groups of stakeholders are involved in AVN's strategy of social entrepreneurship, bringing the benefits of employment and better housing to our target populations of independent NV masons and their clients: social investors who raise funds which can be used by AVN's local teams who, often with the help of technical partners, implement specific programs for end-user beneficiaries-contributors.
Individuals and organizations in the private sector (companies, foundations) who support AVN financially, and whom we call 'social investors'. Their investments (donations, sponsorship...) help to scale up the program, thus generating strong, growing, and sustainable social and economic impacts.
In exchange, rather than a financial return on their investments, AVN delivers social returns: numbers of masons trained, numbers of houses built, tons of CO2-equivalent saved, and so on. This economic model obliges us to provide regular accounts of our activity, and to continually strive to improve our efficiency.
To implement our programs, we have local teams in each main country where we work: AVN-Burkina Faso, AVN-Mali, AVN-Senegal (being created). Their role is:
- to pump-prime a local market in NV housing, and to pilot its growth locally and nationally
- to train and support new masons, extension agents, and project managers and to support local partners and franchisees.
The AVN teams in Burkina Faso (left) and Mali (right) in 2012
In Europe, AVN in France and AVN-Belgium accompany and coordinate the work of these local teams and the technical partners involved, ensure the administrative and financial management of the overall program, and plan ahead to scale up, duplicate, and franchise the program.
Working together in the service of our target groups, the teams in Africa and Europe continually improve the effectiveness of AVN's global strategy, leading to significant growth in results and impacts.
development partners help in implementing AVN's current deployment methods. They are familiar with local conditions, and can use their own networks of contacts or even become 'franchisees' of AVN, being trained in the pump-priming method and project management, and being supported by the local AVN team.
UAVES is a Malian NGO whose staff have been trained by AVN to implement the VN strategy in the regions where it works.
research partners, work with AVN to improve our current methods; they are specialists in areas which complement our work (micro-finance, urban housing, complex buildings etc), and work with AVN on pilot projects.
Example 1 : Entrepreneurs du Monde is an international NGO specialising in micro-finance, testing a micro-finance product with AVN to help people obtain NV houses.
Example 2 : BESIX and the NGO Ecoles du monde are helping local entrepreneurs in Burkina Faso to develop modular versions of the NV concept.
Local populations who could benefit from the deployment of the NV program can, through their locally elected representatives, contribute to the cost of engaging an NV team to manage and build a housing program.
the Region of St-Louis in Senegal, with support from the French region Nord-Pas-de-Calais, pays AVN teams to pump-prime the NV housing market in its territory.