Sisters’ Congregations Can Create System Change

Social entrepreneurship is a journey — one that demands the acquisition of skills, careful thought and execution, sustained effort, and adept management. But this journey also requires a moral commitment to society, and to exercising leadership to create a positive impact on society. This section describes the Sisters Blended Value Project. It profiles two congregations participating in the project: the Immaculate Heart of Mary Reparatrix – Ggogonya Sisters in Uganda and the Religious Sisters of the Holy Spirit in Zambia.

The SBVP provides practical, hands-on learning experiences, apprenticeships with local social enterprises, and mentoring in social entrepreneurship for Catholic Sisters, enabling them to transform their congregations into social enterprises with a special focus on women and youth. This project has two essential components: the Sisters Apprenticeship and the Sisters Accelerator.

Sisters apprentice with local social enterprises in their successful business models, and replicate these to start up their own enterprises. Having completed a Miller Center accelerator program in 2017, Egg preneur teaches poultry farming to foster women’s economic empowerment. NUCAFE participated in its first Miller Center accelerator in 2016, and has continued to collaborate in multiple ways. For the apprenticeship, its team mentors Sisters in sustainable coffee growing, entrepreneurship, and forming local cooperatives. Teach A Man To Fish completed a Miller Center accelerator in 2009, and now trains Sisters and teachers to lead students through the startup process, and then together they launch school-based social enterprises.

In the Sisters Accelerator, Sisters build out their own business plans to guide their growth. This program follows Miller Center’s curriculum structure, and Sisters are guided by Miller Center mentors. Upon completing the accelerator, the Sisters apply for impact investment. In the future, Sisters will replicate these entrepreneurial initiatives within their congregations and for other congregations of Sisters.

The apprenticeship begins with lecture-based training, but also incorporates practical learning activities. The apprenticeships are guided by online playbooks created by Miller Center and local social enterprises, with in-person and online Zoom programs delivered by these local entrepreneurs. The playbooks are resources for