Five Critical Steps to Establishing a Social Enterprise

Five Critical Steps to Establishing a Social Enterprise

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Ms. Rita Sembuya Namusisi was honored as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, Changemakers's inaugural celebration of the world's most influentual and inspiring women. Find her fellow honorees' voices here.

by Emily Bosland / Photo by Sanjoy Ghosh

Ms. Rita Sembuya Namusisi was born in Uganda in 1956. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Joyce Fertility Support Centre Uganda. She credits diverse changemakers including Florence Nightingale, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bill Drayton as her inspiration to continue growing a social enterprise.

“Alone you cannot achieve much, so I have worked with different stakeholders to bring about change. Role models inspired me to take a lead role and be focused,” Sembuya said. "I didn't wait for other people to make things better for me, but discovered that I could cause a change in society.”

When asked about how she achieved her goals, Sembuya replied, “I don’t give up easily and I inspire others. After identifying a problem, I am able to act immediately.  Other people take on after me and continue working with me as an example.”

Sembuya believes there are five critical steps in establishing a successful social enterprise. First, ask yourself the following questions:

1.    Problem observation: Is there a problem facing society? What is to be done? Who is to do it? How do you do it?
2.    Creativity: What is your capacity to motivate yourself and to absorb motivation from others? How do you overcome detractors and those who want the “old way” to stay? Do you have a new style or approach each day?
3.    Social impact: Do you have measurable indicators? Are you building a network? Are you shaking systems?

Then, keep in mind the following advice:

4.    Sacrifice: You must do everything in your means to help solve the problem surrounding you and others in your community. You will endure the most, and be the last to surrender.
5.    Truthfulness: You will be the person everyone else must trust. Be reliable and strong with your community. Deal with problems directly and genuinely.

Sembuya’s advice to changemakers everywhere: “Don’t be shy or fearful. Do it. Do not underestimate yourself. Be a founder – you will not have lived for nothing. Knock at every door; the opening is for those who venture to try.”


Ms. Rita Sembuya Namusisi, Executive Director, Joyce Fertility Support Centre Uganda.