Entrepreneurship and Social Change

Libraries are agents of social change and tools for reducing inequality. In both the Global North and South, libraries can help countries achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by promoting inclusion, employment, or healthcare information. They are also an integral part of the social and cultural economy, and contribute to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Action Principle

Libraries, especially in developing countries, are often run down and isolated, lacking financial resources or public support. These constraints limit their capacity to address the educational, health, or employment needs of local communities. LWB helps local actors create innovative and sustainable business models through income-generating activities that leverage their expertise in internet access, computer programming, the provision of educational services, and more. On a broader scale, we provide training and incubation programs that enable librarians to implement socially innovative and progressive projects, and work to promote their status as social entrepreneurs in the service of their community.

We believe that libraries, because they are widespread and open to all, are powerful tools for stimulating entrepreneurship, creativity, and collaboration, especially among young people. We support the creation of incubation spaces, FabLabs, co-working areas, and ideation libraries around the world. We imagine a future where the world’s 230,000 existing libraries are incubators of social entrepreneurship.

Our Strategic Objectives

  • To create economically sustainable models of libraries with a high social impact for communities in need.
  • To reimagine the role of librarians as agents of social change and social entrepreneurship.
  • To foster an entrepreneurial spirit through the use of libraries as incubators for social projects and social change.

Flagship Projects

  • BSF Campus

To meet the capacity-building needs of French-speaking librarians, Libraries Without Borders has created a free and open platform to address innovation, impact, and project management challenges. BSF Campus offers face-to-face training and an incubation space where young leaders in French-speaking Africa can collaborate.

  • The Ideas Box 4 Entrepreneurs

The Ideas Box 4 Entrepreneurs program offers a holistic solution to address the challenges presented by a lack of access to information, education and culture, as well as unemployment and health problems. This project provides an innovative, customizable and mobile tool for at-risk communities as well as a source of revenue for microentrepreneurs and their teams.

  • Promotion of Entrepreneurship in Africa

In conjunction with Ashoka, this initiative seeks to bolster the infrastructure and development of Africa’s social entrepreneurship sector by giving young people in cities throughout West Africa, particularly Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and Dakar (Senegal), the means to come up with and implement innovative solutions that create social capital and economic wealth.

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