Chapter 8 Supporting artisan communities through social entrepreneurship in Kenya: an exploration of Soko
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Artisans working in the developing world face substantial challenges, including unreliability of income, exploitation by middlemen, and high costs of running their businesses. Founded in 2012 by three women from two continents, Soko is a social enterprise based in Nairobi that connects Kenyan jewellery makers to Western consumers via a mobile phone application and the Internet. It is working to help artisans, the majority of whom are female, bypass the pitfalls of traditional marketing channels by engaging in direct peer-to-peer trade. This chapter draws from literature on social entrepreneurship and the artisan context as well as primary data from interviews and surveys. Using Soko as a case study, it evaluates its social impact in order to generate insights for the wider social entrepreneurship and development communities.

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