Innovation – Thabiso Mashaba

Social entrepreneur and co-founder of These Hands Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise (GSSE), Thabiso Mashaba is passionate about facilitating change in rural communities through innovation.

The chief executive of this International Development Innovation Network-funded company, Mashaba also advocates for the creative industries to be recognised as an official sector of the Botswana economy.

These Hands finds innovative technology-based solutions for promoting sustain- able development, encouraging entrepreneurship and combating poverty in rural communities in developing countries.

Mashaba facilitates change in rural Botswana by linking community members with international innovators and designers, and giving them the opportunity to use their traditional skills to come up with innovative solutions to livelihood challenges.

To this end, These Hands is finalising a social network (which can be used on a 2G mobile phone without internet) that will connect those in rural communities with business and development experts.

Mashaba believes this will promote sustainable development and entrepreneurship in these communities. This social network will allow rural communities to communicate and collaborate with development practitioners serving their communities.

In addition, it will provide a place where entrepreneurs in these communities can find the support that they need to succeed.

Mashaba says this social network will produce better development outcomes and will empower entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and provide meaningful employment opportunities to their communities.

An International Design Development Summit (IDDS) Zambia 2013 alumnus and facilitator of the UNDP and Botswana Innovation Hub’s Annual Social Good Summit since 2013, Mashaba organised the IDDS D’Kar 2015. This summit resulted in the setting up of a sustainable Innovation Centre in D’Kar, which is set to indirectly impact 1 500 D’Kar residents.

Mashaba is the interim chairperson of the Arterial Network Botswana Chapter. He is also currently completing a global master’s degree in development practice under the presti- gious Socio-Economic Development BIHL Trust Professor Thomas Tlou scholarship.

He graduated with a BA degree in economics and accounting from the University of Botswana.

Thabiso is also an Ashoka Change Makers Social Intrapreneurship for Innovation in Health Wellness course graduate, lead partner for Africa region, and Orange Africa Social Venture 2015 Top 11 Finalist.

Described as a strategist, cultural economist, arts trainer and policy maker, Mashaba says Africa has to deal with social issues, as opposed to just serving the society they service. Private entrepreneurs, he claims, need to steer a social course.

Email: [email protected]

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