Africa has always had a place in my heart, especially my motherland Ghana. There have been countless charities set up to help and develop the continent in so many different ways. From education to clean water, to fair trade and live aid. Although these charities have had an incredible impact on different parts of Africa, there has recently been a real shift from charities being set up to a more hybrid business plan run by people who have global change at the centre of their hearts but are also entrepreneurs and have placed global change in the centre of their businesses.
Over the years we have seen these companies more and more thanks to the rise of social media and the internet it has become easier to start theses businesses and reach a global audience, which has done incredible things and allows them to have a much bigger impact in the places that they may have struggled to reach previously. With this hybrid of innovation, creativity and a traditional business model, they are leaving a greener footprint on the earth with every step that they take and find fulfilment in creating opportunity and skills around Africa.
These social conscious businesses don’t only provide new opportunities in Africa, they also provide jobs and allow people to build their careers in the UK. Many people give up on their charitable ideas, due to the demands of working in the western world but being a part of a company that is working for the greater good of the world appeals to the human in all of us. A business can also commit to providing continual support for those in need and for the project they are working towards on the ground which provides continuity and allows the projects to flourish.
When UK companies’ partner with charities and smaller more local companies on the ground it has a much more profound and long-lasting effect. The UK companies tend to bring in new innovative ways to raise money or find support for the amazing projects on the ground. They also have the resources and the connections to sometimes raise a lot more awareness to local charities that are doing amazing things in Africa to an audience that may have previously been unaware, gaining more support. A lot of the businesses that are beginning to grow in the UK are black-owned businesses as many of the CEO’s from African themselves. We have begun to rebuild and invest into our heritage and our future by building up the countries that need us the most.
Many may be wondering what’s so different between the business and the charities? One of the main differences is our customers! People are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and the effect our poor habits have had on the world. They want to ensure that the products they buy have been made in safe environments and are helping to rebuild communities. The workers are well paid and treated fairly and the resources are ethically sourced or vegan! To know that your purchase would have put a child through education or given them clean water is something that allows the public to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves. It allows the wider community to make a difference in a way that they can see.
Let’s take a look at Vitae London as an example. The Idea of Vitae London was born after my Wife took a trip to Port Elizabeth South Africa. She was inspired by the work of the charity, House of Wells. They were making such an impact empowering young African children to see their potential, my wife wanted to find a way to make a long-lasting contribution. I began to think about ways in which we could incorporate my passion for fashion and jewellery and the need for education in Africa. From this small idea we now have sparked into a global company where with each watch you buy, we provide the uniform and resources the children need in Sub Saharan Africa for education for a year. We have also begun to provide solar lights so that they don’t have to burn harmful fuels in their homes or travel to dangerous places to study under streetlights. Our business changes lives every day, by giving children the gift of Education, which I believe is fundamental.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Will Adoasi is a social entrepreneur and founder of Vitae London, an ethical watch brand that offers fashionable, quality watches at affordable prices. Within the company’s DNA is the desire to advance social justice.
Vitae London works within several Sub-Saharan African provinces to help give children access to education. For example, with every watch sold from the new Elmington collection a child is gifted a Solar Lamp from local charity Pen to Paper Ghana. This means the children don’t have to travel for hours or burn harmful fuels in order to study in the evenings.
The rest of this editorial will be published at a later date.