Programs Run by Nonprofits and other Community-based Organizations

The Adventure Project

Adventure Project (USA)

The Adventure Project works in developing countries seeking out partnerships with organizations creating jobs for their communities. Some organizations include KickStart, LifeLine, Living Goods, Water for People, and WaterAid. The organization chooses partners based on their measurable social impact, a proven track record of success, and readiness to scale. Since its inception, the Adventure Project has empowered 798 people to find a job. This has led to thriving local economies, improved environmental conditions and even reduced mortality rates. In Kenya, cooking over an open fire posed a huge health risk to both people and the environment. Now, stoves are made and sold locally. Masons create stoves and vendors earn commissions for their sales. And because they’re using 50 percent less charcoal, families are saving 20 percent of daily expenses. In other countries, villagers have been trained as health care agents, selling more than 60 products at affordable prices. These health care agents also care for more than 800 people in their communities.

African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM)

USAID and Western Union Foundation

The African diaspora is a deeply committed, yet largely untapped, source of innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to poverty and economic development in Africa. Through the African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM), USAID, Western Union and the Western Union Foundation seek to support the entrepreneurial activities of the African diaspora community in 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP)

U.S. Department of State

The African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), launched by the U.S. Department of State in July 2010, assists women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa. These small and medium business owners are transforming their societies through economic development and social advocacy in their communities. AWEP alumni have created more than 17,000 jobs and established 22 women's business associations across Sub-Saharan Africa that are transforming societies and spurring economic growth.

Alleviating Rural Poverty through Microcredit and Entrepreneurship

Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM)

Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia is Malaysia’s largest microcredit organization. Their objectives are to: a) reduce poverty among poor and low-income households in Malaysia by providing micro credit financing to finance activities that can increase and increase income; b) provide financial facilities, guidance and ongoing training to entrepreneurs from poor and low-income families, and c) produce entrepreneurs from the poor and low -income groups. Since its inception in 1987, it has disbursed more than RM2.3 billion in loans to 262,000 borrowers. AIM claims to have the world's highest repayment rate, at 99.2%. Learn more.

An AIDS-Free Future

PEPFAR: DREAMS Partnership

DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) provides a comprehensive, multi-sectoral package of core interventions to address key factors that make girls and young women particularly vulnerable to HIV. These include structural factors, such as gender-based violence, exclusion from economic opportunities, and a lack of access to secondary school. DREAMS layers multiple interventions at once so that adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) are surrounded with critical support to keep them safe from HIV and other risks. DREAMS is a flagship partnership between PEPFAR and private sector partners: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, and ViiV Healthcare. DREAMS is implemented across 15 countries and conducted in close collaboration with its partners, experts, advocates, and adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). To date, PEPFAR has invested nearly one billion dollars through DREAMS, reaching millions of girls and lifting up their families and communities. DREAMS drives a greater global focus on the unique risks and opportunities experienced by AGYW, and drives partner governments to renew their commitments on gender equality and its impact on adolescent health and development. Additionally, DREAMS enables multilateral organizations and non-governmental organizations to advocate more successfully for greater attention on and investment in AGYW. Critically, AGYW are meaningfully engaged at every step of DREAMS for their unique insights and leadership.

Be the Change: Careers & Degrees to Fight Poverty

Student Training and Education in Public Service (STEPS) (USA)

STEPS runs an initiative called "Be the Change", a series of activism guidebooks on their website that shows everyday citizens how they can help solve some of the world's biggest issues. This includes a guide focusing on ending poverty. The goal of the guide is to educate people about the poverty cycle that so many Americans are trapped in and show ways they can get involved to help break it. Readers can learn about volunteer, donation and advocacy opportunities, along with degree and career paths where they can have an even bigger impact.  The link can be found at https://www.publicservicedegrees.org/be-the-change/fighting-poverty/

Best Resources for Black Entrepreneurs

OnlineMBA.com (USA)

This is a compendium of resources available for Black entrepreneurs in the United States provided by OnlineMBA.com. https://www.onlinemba.com/resources/minority-entrepreneurs/

Business and Entrepreneurship Training for Agri-entrepreneurs 

Foundation for Community Development Association (FCDA) -- Cameroon

Foundation for Community Development Association (FCDA) is a non-profit organization located in Cameroon, Africa whose mission is to support agri-entrepreneurs to generate seed capital for investments in agri-businesses across Africa.  Their principal goal is to train and generate capital for entrepreneurs in the agriculture industry with the aim of poverty alleviation, job creation and wealth creation.  Some of the services offered by FCDA include but are not limited to, business development training, new venture financial management, seed and organic fertilizer acquisition, digital financial inclusion, micro-enterprising, market research, and capacity building.  FCDA seeks to improve the yield of farmers by half each year, urging households to develop startups, increase productivity, save money, alleviate poverty and create job opportunities.

Businesses in Fragile Communities 

SPARK -- Europe, Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa

SPARK is an international organization that helps young people, particularly women and refugees, to study, work and grow their own businesses in fragile communities.  By uniting the private sector, local government and other key partners, SPARK builds enabling environments that allow young people to start and scale up their own businesses.  Their programmes are founded in collaboration with local partners, built from their expertise and knowledge of local conditions to ensure maximum impact in the local job market.  Together with their local partners, SPARK empowers students and entrepreneurs through the implementation of six services: (1) small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) coaching (2) scholarships (3) internships (4) business support centers (5) cooperative support and, (6) entrepreneurship summer courses.

Business Essentials Program

Alternative Global Entrepreneurs (Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Haiti, Egypt, DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Pakistan, India, Ethiopia, Nepal, Thailand)

The Business Essential Program offers high-impact training and mentorship to individuals, organizations, and businesses who want to educate and support local entrepreneurs. In this program, Train-the-Trainers, individuals are trained to adequately deliver the entrepreneurial context in the specific context and community. The program counts with a curriculum that holds 16 sessions over 30 to 40 hours. Additionally, the coursework includes content and interactive activities, and skill training. Alternativ figured out their success with their program with constant tracking and feedback. They have great insight to continue expanding and fighting toward eradicating poverty cycles. 

The Business Place Network

Business Place, South Africa

The Business Place is a network of small business support centers. TBPN offers entrepreneurs the convenience of one-stop shop walk-in centers strategically located across the country. Upon entering one of the centers, entrepreneurs are immediately directed to reception where an experienced member of staff ascertains their needs. They are then referred to an appropriate co-location partner at that specific network where they receive targeted assistance. Core services offered to entrepreneurs include: coordinated business support, incubation; mentorship, market linkages; and financing interventions. TBPN also assists entrepreneurs with tender application processes, assisting them to unlock opportunities in the public and private sector.

Business Solutions to Poverty

TechnoServe, USA

TechnoServe is a catalyst and partner for transformative, on-the-ground, market-based solutions to poverty. They are a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. A nonprofit organization operating in 29 countries, they work with hard working men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries. By linking people to information, capital, and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities. Their successful entrepreneurship portfolio is based on four key pillars: Careful adaptation; Market-driven approach; Effective capacity development; Rigorous measurement and continuous learning. 

Catholic Charities of Omaha Microbusiness Program

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Inc (Nebraska, USA)

The Catholic Charities of Omaha Microbusiness Program is a three-year project which offers an online entrepreneurial curriculum to an average of 315 low-to-moderate income adults seeking to launch their small businesses. This program has impacted the lives of more than 650 Nebraskans by opening more than 150 businesses and creating more than 160 jobs. This program's success also lies in the curriculum being tailored to its students' demographics and socio-economic characteristics. The program is open to both English and Spanish-speaking students. 

Children’s Education Development Fund– Lwannunda Community Development Initiative

(Masaka, Uganda)

The Children’s Education Development Fund– Lwannunda Community Development Initiative is an umbrella organization for multiple development projects in Uganda. Initially, it started with the volunteering of local leaders. However, it has expanded to various communities that need to empower its youth to address their disadvantages. The disadvantages range from health and education to sustainability as the program addresses and targets topics covering young people with HIV/AIDS, educational disparities, and lack of healthcare assistance. The initiative has volunteering programs such as the Student Enterprise and Innovation, which influence young Ugandans to consider entrepreneurship as a route out of poverty. Additionally, the initiative includes teacher programs, which consists of helping Ugandan teachers develop classes.  There are opportunities for individuals to also interact with the existing projects led by Ugandans.

Dignity Unbound: A Whole New Approach to Solving Poverty

Atlas Network (USA)

Atlas Network increases global prosperity by strengthening a network of independent partner organizations that promote individual freedom and are committed to identifying and removing barriers to human flourishing (https://www.atlasnetwork.org/). Their vision is of a free, prosperous, and peaceful world where the principles of individual liberty, property rights, limited government, and free markets are secured by the rule of law. Atlas Network cultivates a network of partners that share this vision. To accelerate the pace of achievement by their partners in local communities, Atlas Network’s unique "Coach, Compete, Celebrate!" strategic model inspires the partners to improve performance and achieve extraordinary outcomes. They provide world-class seminars, workshops, mentoring, and other learning opportunities that inspire professionalism and build community among independent partners. Atlas Network also offers grant and prize competitions that fuel their partners' efforts to develop, innovate, and succeed. They foster camaraderie and stokes ambitions among the partners by celebrating their greatest accomplishments through events and media outreach.

Encouraging Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity Among Indigenous Women

WIPO Training and Mentoring Program for Indigenous Women Program

World Intellectual Property Organization (https://www.wipo.int/tk/en/women_entrepreneurs/) offers the Training, Mentoring and Matchmaking Program on Intellectual Property for Women Entrepreneurs from Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. The program aims to encourage women entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity related to traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions by strengthening the capacity of indigenous and local community women entrepreneurs to make strategic and effective use of intellectual property tools in support of their entrepreneurial activities. The Program provides participants the opportunity to: a) build capacity in intellectual property and acquire the skills necessary for an effective use of the intellectual property system, including in the digital economy; b) acquire basic knowledge of related fields useful in an entrepreneurial context, such as business modelling, marketing and digital storytelling; c) benefit from the support of a mentor to further develop and implement projects and businesses based on traditional knowledge and/or traditional cultural expressions that have an intellectual property component; and d)meet amongst Program participants, share and learn from each other's experiences, but also meet potential partners who can provide support with the implementation of the intellectual property components of their projects and businesses.

Entrepreneurial Thinking in Africa through Education, Business, Media & Finance

Tongston Entrepreneurship Group

Tongston is a leading pan-African group driving entrepreneurial thinking through education, business, media and finance for Africa’s sustainable socio-economic development, leveraging on its 4 integrated subsidiaries: Tongston College, Institute, Media and Ventures. Tongston's products and services include: Business Secondary Schooling, Consulting, Curriculum Design, Development & Integration, Training, Research, Media, Capital, Structuring, Business Development and Asset Management to students, educators, schools, corporates, governments and MSMEs. Tongston's vision is communities without unemployment, underemployment, unemployability and over-dependence on government. Two key products are: (1) Tongston Entrepreneurial Technical and Vocational Education (TETVE) product to tertiary students (polytechnics, universities, monotechnics) and vocational & enterprise institutions. Premised on Tongston’s proprietary entrepreneurial development model, the TETVE product is aimed at producing Tongston intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs to lead Africa’s sustainable socio-economic growth and development through (i) Developing entrepreneurial thinking capacity in learners through Tongston Institute (ii) On-the-job and classroom-based technical & vocational skills training delivered through partner organizations and Tongston (iii) Providing access to media, business development and investing services through Tongston Media and Ventures to select entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. The product is split into a formal and informal track. The formal track is targeting students at tertiary level (with a focus on public sector institutions, that lack funding and industry partnerships for scale) whilst the informal track is for those in non-formal and informal education, much of which live below the poverty line, are currently not in any form of education, employment or training, and/or are illiterates; (2) Tongston Introductory Entrepreneurial Educators Course is a short course that provides a unique opportunity to develop the key competencies required to embark on the journey to become an Entrepreneurial Educator and the need for Entrepreneurial Education for personal, cultural, socio-economic and sustainable development.

Entrepreneurship for Positive Social and Environmental Impact

Ygap -- Africa, South Asia and Australasia

ygap is an international organization whose mission is to advance global equity through inclusive entrepreneurship.  By offering the necessary support and resources, ygap strives to enable all entrepreneurs to create, launch, scale and sustain businesses that are making an impact, thereby maximizing their full potential and improving their communities in the process.  At the micro-level, ygap works to increase the capacity and agency of entrepreneurs to run successful businesses through programs that support market-based solutions that address social and environmental problems within their context.  At a macro-level, ygap identifies system-level barriers to support inclusion and access within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, then works with stakeholders across sectors to co-design and implement solutions to address them.

Entrepreneurship Training, Access to Capital, and Spirituality for Small Business Owners 

SINAPIS -- Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda

SINAPIS is a community of faith-based entrepreneurs, mentors and investors committed to empowering entrepreneurs professionally and spiritually through intense training and a global support network so they can grow to the next level and transform the world around them.  SINAPSIS is an elite program that is available to everyone.  It provides a 4-month MBA alternative training program, access to capital, ongoing opportunities and a vibrant community to those with the drive, heart and dedication needed to succeed as an entrepreneur.  Their main focus is on small and growing businesses typically with 5 to 250 employees as these are the companies that fuel the economy.  SINAPIS is growing globally and has teamed up with like-minded partners who have expanded SINAPIS’ programs into new markets in Brazil, Ghana, Liberia, Egypt, Burundi and Mongolia.

Empowering African Entrepreneurs

Elumelu Foundation, Nigeria

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is an African private-sector-led philanthropy focused on empowering African entrepreneurs. The Foundation was founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist who is passionate about Africa’s economic development. Their long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Tony Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the continent. The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program is the $100million commitment by the Elumelu family to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a 10-year period. The goal is to create at least 1million jobs and contribute over $10billion in revenue to the African economy. Through its flagship Entrepreneurship Program, the Foundation empowers African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem across 54 African countries.  The Foundation has empowered 9,631 entrepreneurs thus far. The Program is built on a 7-pillar model, a unique holistic system of effective and intensive support to the African entrepreneurs, consisting of startup enterprise toolkit, online mentoring, online resource library, meet-ups, TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, seed capital and alumni network. In 2018, the Foundation launched TEFConnect, Africa’s digital entrepreneurship hub last year to connect the entrepreneurship ecosystem and facilitate businesses beyond physical borders. The platform currently hosts 800,000 users.

Empowering Communities with Lending Circles

Mission Asset Fund (MAF), San Francisco, USA 

MAF seeks to create a fair financial marketplace for hardworking people. They work to make Lending Circles and other loan products available nationwide. They provide a novel type of social loan program that helps people open bank accounts, avoid predatory lenders, and quickly build credit. The lending circle approach enables them to offer no interest social loans to start or build a business.

The Endeavor Entrepreneur Experience

Endeavor, USA

Endeavor is leading the high-impact entrepreneurship movement around the world. They employ a unique model to select, support and multiply the impact of our entrepreneurs. Endeavor's entrepreneurs continue to transform their communities, create quality jobs and inspire future generations of founders.

Entrepreneurship and Displaced Women in Cameroon

Reach Out

Centered in Buea in the southwest region of Cameroon, the Reach Out project enables conflict-affected and internally displaced young women to become economically independent. These women are supported through education and finances to create micro, small and cooperative businesses.

Entrepreneurship to End Extreme Poverty

Village Enterprise

Village Enterprise employs a group-based approach to equip and empower first-time entrepreneurs in Africa with resources and skills to start sustainable businesses and savings groups. They provide cash transfers, training and mentoring to entrepreneurs in extreme poverty. With the income and savings from their businesses, the entrepreneurs lift themselves and their families out of economic hardship, build resilience, and break the cycle of poverty. Village enterprises transform lives by igniting the entrepreneurial spirit. The Village Enterprise program on poverty reduction and improved well-being has transformed over 1.2 million lives and started 58,000 businesses.

Equipping Talented but Under-resourced Individuals

Rising Tide Capital (Jersey City, New Jersey, USA)

Rising Tide Capital (https://www.risingtidecapital.org/) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to transform lives and communities through entrepreneurship. Their vision centers on Inclusive communities of resilient entrepreneurs catalyzing a thriving and sustainable economy for all.  They provide business development services designed to transform lives by helping individuals start and grow successful businesses; build communities through collaborations with other non-profits, higher education institutions, corporations, and public agencies; and create a scalable program model with measurable impact which can be replicated in communities of need across the U.S. Rising Tide is a “CNN Hero” that has been recognized by President Obama for social innovation. They have celebrated the 1,000th graduate of their Community Business Academy, and have expanded regionally into four cities and counting.

FastTrac

Kauffman Foundation, USA

Fast Trac has three versions. One version is designed for entrepreneurs who are launching new technology or science-based ventures. Another is for those who are starting nearly anything else and from low income background. A third version is geared toward business owners who are looking to grow their companies. The New Venture program for startups is usually seven full days over four weeks. A group of peers, session leaders and visiting experts help delegates to vet their idea, show them how to do business research and help them to ask and answer the important financial questions they need to write a business plan. The experts also give food for thought on the best way to fund an idea. 

Financial Services for Low-to-Moderate Income Individuals

Economic and Community Development Institute (USA)

The Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), a nonprofit organization in Cleveland Ohio, offers numerous financial services targeted at low- to moderate-income individuals. Services include financial literacy classes, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), microenterprise training, consulting services, and microloans. Participants are referred to ECDI by One-Stop Centers, local community- and faith-based organizations, and through word of mouth. Before receiving any of ECDI’s services, all participants must complete economic literacy training. This four-session class teaches individuals the importance of saving and budgeting their money. Participants then choose which asset goal they want to concentrate on (microenterprise, homeownership, or secondary education) and begin saving money toward their goal in a matched savings account, or IDA. Match rates range from 2:1 to 4:1, depending on the program. The majority of ECDI participants enroll in the microenterprise program. These individuals undergo a 10-session training workshop where they learn the skills necessary to start their own business. Upon completion, all participants have developed a business plan, which ECDI staff help them to implement. At this point, many participants receive an ECDI microloan for business start-up or expansion. ECDI staff continue to work with business owners, providing technical assistance and conducting on-site visits.

Fostering an Entrepreneurial Mindset in Haiti

CEDEL Haiti, Port Au Prince, Haiti

Launched in May 2012, CEDEL Haiti is a social enterprise that promotes the development of the entrepreneurial mindset in Haiti. CEDEL Haiti was created in order to be the instrument that allows Haitian entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to realize their dreams. The main programs of CEDEL Haiti include the School Entrepreneurship Program (ProgrES), a national business plan competition and an agricultural pitch program, a bootcamp on starting a business, an annual entrepreneurship forum for women, and a mentoring program for aspiring entrepreneurs. Services offered by CEDEL Haiti include: entrepreneurship training seminars, business plan assistance, coaching of entrepreneurs, consulting support to aspiring entrepreneurs, networking activities, business incubation and a shared workspace, promotion of investment groups, youth conferences, business tours, market analyses and surveys and value chain analysis. CEDEL Haiti has reached more than 10,000 people through its programming. Partners include the US Embassy in Haiti, USAID/KONBIT Ashoka, the Central Bank of Haiti, FOKAL and a number of international universities.

Helping Black and Latinx People in the Innovation Economy

CODE2040, USA

CODE2040 takes its name from the year when it is predicted that minorities will become the majority in the United States. It is a nonprofit organization that is aggressively pursuing its goal of having “Blacks and Latinos proportionally represented in the leading edge of America's innovation economy as technologists, investors, thought leaders and entrepreneurs.” In addition to a flagship Fellows Program that places promising black and Latino college­-level computer science students in internship programs at top tech companies, CODE2040 has also started a Residency Program designed to help black and Latino entrepreneurs build companies and cultivate diversity in their own communities. The one-­year residency provides participating founders with a $40,000 non­equity stipend, as well as additional support from CODE2040, Google for Entrepreneurs and participating founders’ hometown tech hubs. Participants receive hub workspace for the resident and his/her team, along with mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs and investors in the CODE2040 and Google for Entrepreneurs networks.

Helping the Incarcerated Learn About Entrepreneurship

Inmates to Entrepreneurs, USA 

The mission of Inmates to entrepreneurs is to assist people with a criminal background in starting their own business by providing entrepreneurship education in prisons and online. They see venture creation as a means to overcome the fact that the formerly incarcerated face unemployment rates five times the national average, and nearly two thirds of formerly incarcerated individuals find themselves back in prison in just three years. 

iDE: Powering Entrepreneurs to End Poverty

iDE (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Zambia)

The iDE fights climate change by offering entrepreneurs the use and services of climate-smart technology with business knowledge, financial access, and valuable and effective connections to market ecosystems. Their areas of focus include agriculture, WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene), gender equity, and climate resilience. Programs include: (Agriculture) the Farm Business Advisors network, connecting more than 3500 participants (farmers, suppliers, entrepreneurs, etc.) in remote areas; (WASH) the sale of latrines, water filters, and hand washing devices to low-income households; (Climate Resilience) climate-smart products and training on the most eco-friendly and effective practices for managing natural resources. Additionally, iDE conceptualized and executed the Market Systems Resilience Index, which tracks the resilience of market systems in rural areas. 

Increasing the Number of Black Entrepreneurs in Technology

Black Founders, USA

Black Founders is a national network of African­-American founders that is dedicated to increasing the number of successful black entrepreneurs in tech. The organization creates networking events year­ round, as well as educational programs and a conference series, “Ideas Are Worthless,” in San Francisco, Atlanta, New York and Austin where black founders can network with each other and potential partners and investors. Black Founders started the HBCU Hacks program, which is a well-known series of weekend hack-a-thons that provide students at HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) the opportunity to develop their computer science skills and invent apps or software. In fact, during the last few years, one-­fifth of graduating black students at HBSUs with a degree in engineering have benefited from the hackathon program. As a minority entrepreneur who has founded several startups and successfully raised VC money, I’ve always advised young people of color who are interested in entrepreneurship to actively seek outside help. Even if only 1 percent of resources within the tech community are dedicated to minority founders, those of us who want to see change in minority representation in future years should make the most of these resources ­­ in the hope of maximizing not only our own chances of success but also our ability to help others and pay it forward.

Innovations for Poverty Action

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that creates and shares evidence while equipping decision-makers to use evidence to reduce poverty. With a long-term presence in 22 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, IPA leads the field of development in cutting-edge research quality, innovation, and impact. In partnership with world-class researchers and strategic partners, we design and run randomized evaluations to measure the effectiveness of programs and policies aimed at helping the poor

Integrated Suite of Services to Support Entrepreneurs

Neighborhood Development Center, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) is a non-profit, community development financial institution. NDC assists local entrepreneurs with a well-integrated suite of culturally-competent, wraparound business services. Their training program serves as a model for many other communities. They have provided integrated business services to over 5,000 aspiring entrepreneurs, 85% of whom are persons of color. They focus on start-up to expansion.

Integrated Suite of Services to Support Entrepreneurs

ProsperUS Detroit, Detroit, Michigan, USA

A place-based economic development strategy designed to empower low and moderate income, immigrant and minority individuals. Through their culturally competent range of services, they strive to support the entrepreneurial spirit and small business community that exists in Detroit’s neighborhoods. Programs include training, business services and micro-lending.

Life After Prison: Resources and Business Skills for Inmates

PEP - Prison Entrepreneurship Program -- Texas, USA

Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has pioneered innovative programs that connect convicted felons with the nation’s top executives, entrepreneurs and MBA students so as to prevent recidivism, maximize self-sufficiency, and transform broken lives.  It is a unique and innovative program in terms of program structure, business education, mentoring and continued post-release support.  The program is not for everyone and has a rigorous criteria and selection process followed by a 6-month in-prison mini-MBA program that includes a financial literacy course, employment workshop, business etiquette course and a Toastmasters class.  Upon release, PEP supports its alumni with a comprehensive slate of reentry services including case management, transition housing, assistance in finding employment and connecting to social services.

Lifting Up Women Entrepreneurs to Change the World

Street Business School, USA

Street Business School is a leader in global training to end extreme poverty by empowering women as entrepreneurs, and teaches other organizations how to implement our proven and effective business training. Their world-class and world-changing model seeks to help 1 million people lift themselves from poverty by 2027. They use proven methods to give the poor the knowledge and tools they need to succeed. In only six months, they take that knowledge and tools to create a business of their own. As fearless businesswomen, they build their enterprises, meet their daily needs, and raise capable and confident children who will break the cycle of generational poverty.

MCF-SIEF - Mastercard Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund (2020-2021)

African Institute of Mathematical Sciences-Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) & Mastercard Foundation -- Cameroon

AIMS-NEI, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, launched the MCF-SIEF at AIMS Cameroon to better prepare AIMS Mastercard Foundation scholars and alumni with knowledge and skills to innovate and generate creative solutions to social challenges.  The program brings together scholars and alumni from both the Mastercard Foundation and AIMS scholars to learn how the Design Thinking Approach works and how to apply it to real-world problems.  Participants collaborate and create inspirational entrepreneurial projects in three broad areas: improving existing livelihoods, enabling diversification of income, and creating dignified and fulfilling work (jobs).

Microcredit and Entrepreneurial Support

Grameen Bank, Bangladesh

Grameen Bank (GB) has reversed conventional banking practice by removing the need for collateral and created a banking system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity. GB provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral. At GB, credit is a cost effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the over all development of socio-economic conditions of the poor who have been kept outside the banking orbit on the ground that they are poor and hence not bankable. Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder of “Grameen Bank” reasoned that if financial resources can be made available to the poor people on terms and conditions that are appropriate and reasonable, “these millions of small people with their millions of small pursuits can add up to create the biggest development wonder.” As of November, 2019, it has 9.60 million members, 97 percent of whom are women. With 2,568 branches, GB provides services in 81,678 villages, covering more than 93 percent of the total villages in Bangladesh. Grameen Bank’s positive impact on its poor and formerly poor borrowers has been documented in many independent studies carried out by external agencies including the World Bank, the International Food Research Policy Institute (IFPRI) and the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

Micro-entrepreneurship Empowerment for Youth 

YELD Kenya

Youth Entrepreneurship and Leadership Development (YELD) is a registered nonprofit charitable organization based in Kenya that is dedicated to improving the livelihoods of Kenyan youth and women through diverse economically enabling empowerment programs.  To help solve the double-crisis of high unemployment and business mortality rates, YELD has a Mentorship Program that is aimed at guiding micro-entrepreneurs and startups towards avoiding common pitfalls and building sustainable enterprises in the context of a changing economy.  YELD’s five pillars of empowerment are (1) entrepreneurship mentorship (2) entrepreneurial training (3) entrepreneurial coaching (4) entrepreneurial advocacy, and (5) leadership development.

Microfinancing for Women Entrepreneurs in Latin America

Pro Mujer -- Argentina, Bolivia, México, Nicaragua, Perú

Pro Mujer is a social enterprise with a women-centered, impact-driven approach whose mission is to advance gender equality in Latin America.  As a leading women’s development and microfinance organization in Latin America, Pro Mujer provides financial and health services, business training and empowerment to low-income women so that they can generate their own progress.  Pro mujer offers a growing business network for women entrepreneurs in Latin America that includes investors, governments and the private sector as they come together and share knowledge, exchange best practices and even offer services to ensure that women gain access to the resources they need to survive.   

Microfinancing for Small Entrepreneurs in Nicaragua

MiCrédito -- Nicaragua

MiCrédito is a financial institution that offers underserved populations in both urban and rural Nicaragua with access to microfinancing for their business ventures.  Their mission is to create business solutions that include both social and financial support to micro and small entrepreneurs, providing for a more prosperous future.  In addition to microfinancing, MiCrédito offers financial education needed for the prosperity and growth of client businesses and the organization itself.

Microlending for Entrepreneurs

United Prosperity, USA

United Prosperity is a nonprofit organization providing an online lending platform connecting lenders to poor entrepreneurs across the globe. A Kiva-like peer-to-peer loaning system allows anyone with spare cash to guarantee loans to entrepreneurs in need. Lenders select the entrepreneur they want to support and lend any amount they wish. United Prosperity then consolidates the loan amount and passes it on to the entrepreneur through a local bank. For every $1 given by the lender, the bank makes a nearly $2 loan to the entrepreneur through a partner Microfinance Institution (MFI). Once a loan or a loan guarantee has been made, the entrepreneur’s progress is tracked online. When loans are repaid, lenders get their money back. They then have the opportunity to recycle it by lending or guaranteeing the loan to another entrepreneur. These microloans aim to help entrepreneurs, mostly women, grow their small businesses. United Prosperity has transferred more than $280,000 in loans to 1,300 entrepreneurs. Moreover, MFI helps build entrepreneurs’ credit history with local banking systems, thus encouraging more banks to lend to them.

Microsoft Global Social Entrepreneurship Initiative

Microsoft Corporation, USA

Microsoft’s global initiative is designed to help social enterprise startups build and scale their companies to do good globally. The program is available in 140 countries and actively seeks to support underrepresented founders with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. The criteria to qualify for the program include a business metric that measures impact on an important social or environmental challenge; an established product or service that will benefit from access to enterprise customers; and a commitment to the ethical and responsible use of AI.  Microsoft is trying to provide the foundational building blocks to help social entrepreneurs create companies that can achieve worldwide impact. Social enterprises that become part of the Global Social Entrepreneurship program will receive access to free Microsoft cloud technologies, including up to $120,000 in Azure credits, along with technical support and guidance. A dedicated program manager will help Global Social Entrepreneurship startups market and sell solutions and connect to large commercial organizations and nongovernmental organizations that are potential customers. Participants focused on sustainability, accessibility, and skills and employability are also eligible for grants. Social enterprises that join the Global Social Entrepreneurship program will be part of a worldwide community of like-minded innovators who come together to share ideas, foster connections and celebrate success.

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs (USA)

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is a worldwide educational non-profit that empowers young entrepreneurs from low-income communities. For that reason, the NFTE designed multiple programs that tailor to the needs of the diverse and various NFTE students. These programs are made possible by volunteering highly-trained teachers and local, successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. The flexibility and project-based aspects of learning experiences make possible the success of this non-profit . They count with 86% of NFTE alumni employed, 80% of NFTE alumni credentialed, 25% of NFTE alumni entrepreneurs that have launched their businesses, and 50% of NFTE alumni earning more than the current U.S. median salary. 

Opportunity International

Opportunity International (Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe)

Opportunity International offers practical and long-lasting financial solutions to families living in difficult conditions and who need access to a sustainable livelihood and quality education by focusing on four areas: 

  1. Equipping families with the tools and training necessary to build their successful enterprises.
  2. Improving their harvests.
  3. Offering quality nutrition and essential living elements to their families.
  4. Sending their children to educational institutions.
  5. Making steps to eradicate the poverty cycle.

Their focus on rural communities’ lifestyles and the lack of high-quality education was inspired by the high number of people living in poverty and the recent decay of education because of the pandemic of COVID-19. Therefore their financial solutions concentrate on Education Finance (Loans, EduQuality, Data, Monitoring & Evaluation, and Business Intelligence), Agriculture Finance (Loans, Training, Access to Markets, Digital Services for Rural Communities), Microbanking (Mobile Banking Services, Loans, Savings, SME Financing, Financial Literacy Training, Business Management), and Innovative Programs (Digital Financial Services, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Opportunity Zones, Graduation Programs, Refugee Financial Services, Vocational Training for Youth). 

Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) Initiative

USAID

USAID launched the Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative with the goal of spurring innovations that accelerate the creation of promising, high growth, and sustainable entrepreneurial ventures across the developing world. Through PACE, USAID invests millions of dollar to help identify, test, and implement financially sustainable models that accelerate the growth of small and growing businesses that promote broad-based economic prosperity or address development challenges in areas such as food security, health, and energy access.

Partnering for Job Creation in Uganda

UNIDO (United Nations) and Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports

A program to introduce entrepreneurship into Uganda’s education system for both stages of secondary education: ordinary level and advanced level. The curriculum was developed and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports in partnership with academia, the private sector and international development organizations. It includes the development of entrepreneurship syllabi, teacher guides, student textbooks, monitoring tools and in-service teacher training. Students are encouraged to adopt entrepreneurial attitudes, coached to identify business opportunities within their communities and taught how to manage a small business. From a pilot program with ten secondary schools, the initiative has been expanded to include  over 2,000 secondary schools across the country. Entrepreneurial activities allow students to generate their own income and become more financially independent from their parents.

UNIDO established similar programs in RwandaNamibia, and Mozambique

Poverty, Micro-enterprises and Funding

National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development, India

NABARD is a premier Central Government Institution, is the pioneer in supporting and funding various banks, NGOs, SHGs in prompting micro-enterprises and eradicating poverty from the country. 

Prison Entrepreneurship Program - PEP Collider

Prison Entrepreneurship Program (Houston and Dallas, USA)

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP Collider) offers a “mini-MBA” based on the depth and rigorous aspect of the process inmates experience alongside their business executive mentors. This program connects business executives and inmates through entrepreneurial interests and leadership aspirations to transform lives, families, and communities. This initiative allows inmates to re-enter society with the highest possible level of success and avoidance of pitfalls. The acceptance rate of this program is 5%; it offers one-to-one training, tools, skills, and a support structure to achieve a fulfilling and healthy, productive life after prison. 

Programs for Economic Empowerment and Education

Indego Africa, Rwanda and Ghana

Indego Africa is a nonprofit social enterprise that supports women, including refugees, in Rwanda and Ghana through economic empowerment and education. They aim to break intergenerational cycles of poverty. To do so, Indego Africa provides female artisans with the tools and support necessary to become independent businesswomen and drive local development. Partnering with 18 cooperatives of female artisans, Indego Africa sells handcrafted products through an e-commerce site, collaborations with designers and brands and at boutiques worldwide. To develop their entrepreneurial skills, Indego Africa provides artisans with a mix of training and support programs addressing entrepreneurship business and leadership issues. Indego currently employs over 600 women, 58 percent of whom make over $2 a day. According to the World Bank, $2 a day marks the entry point into Africa’s growing middle class.

Resources to Help Undocumented Immigrants Pursue Opportunities

Immigrants Rising (USA)

https://immigrantsrising.org/story/a-world-of-resources/

https://undocuhustle.org/

Immigrants Rising is a non-profit community organization founded in 2006, and based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Their mission is to empower undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals through personal, institutional and policy transformation. They started as an initiative to support undocumented students, with students who were already advocating for opportunities to learn and improve their lives. Their work is both driven by and for undocumented young people, and they have a focus on building and strengthening young persons’ individual and collective strengths and resources necessary to learn and thrive. Immigrants Rising believes that personal transformation in young people can inspire entire communities, and through individual successes, increase understanding, change policy and open access to greater opportunities for all. They develop educational partnerships with institutions, and their strategies provide life-changing financial support that enables undocumented young people to overcome systemic barriers while developing career training, and leadership capacity of the undocumented community. Their services include Immigration Legal-Intake Service, California In-State Tuition Tool, Mental Health Connector, and Wellness Gatherings. They train undocumented young people to reclaim and share their personal stories to strengthen community bonds, transform hearts and minds, and advance policy legislation. Their related website at https://undocuhustle.org/  addresses the entrepreneurial spirit at the heart of the immigrant experience by showing immigrants how to leverage their skills, knowledge and experience to generate income through contracting or business start-up opportunities.

Rising Tide Capital 

Rising Tide Capital (New Jersey, USA)

Rising Tide Capital seeks to build an inclusive community of resilient entrepreneurs by giving access to Knowledge Capital (Business Management Education), Social Capital (Networking, Mentorship, and Sales Opportunities), and Financial Capital (Loans and Financial Literacy Training). Therefore, this program allows individuals to successfully start and grow their enterprises by taking advantage of the business development services. The services are classified into distinct programs, which are the following: The Community Business Academy (business management training program), Business Acceleration Services (a suite of support services), and Credit to Capital (acquire capital by working personally with a business coach). The programs have proven successful by demonstrating that a rising tide entrepreneur opens a new business every three days.  They have a current network of more than 7746 entrepreneurs, and 95% of those entrepreneurs have seen an increase in their business sales within two years. 

Rural Poverty in Africa

Village Enterprise works to end extreme poverty in rural Africa through entrepreneurship and innovation. The program is simple and cost-effective. Village Enterprise equips people living in extreme poverty in rural Africa to start sustainable businesses and savings groups. Graduates from the program generate income and savings from their small businesses that improves their standard of living and breaks the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. Validated by an independent randomized controlled trial, the Village Enterprise Graduation program provides groups of three entrepreneurs with cash transfers as seed capital, training and ongoing mentoring by a local business mentor. They organize the business groups into Business Savings Groups (BSGs) of 30 entrepreneurs (10 business groups) to allow access to growth capital, provide a safe place for savings, and build social capital. Examples of businesses include livestock, farming, small retail stores and restaurants, tailoring, and beekeeping. Village Enterprise has started over 48,000 businesses and trained over 185,000 East Africans.

Self-Employment and Enterprise Development Program

State of Washington, USA

SEAP in Washington, offers a valuable option to eligible people who wish to run their own business. This program gives one the flexibility and income opportunity unavailable through traditional employment. SEAP is a unique opportunity for to enter into self-employment entrepreneurial training and receive business counseling while collecting unemployment benefits. To be eligible for the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), one must: qualify for regular unemployment benefits; enroll in a training program that is approved by the Employment Security Department's commissioner; be identified as likely to run out of benefits or be eligible for Commissioner-Approved Training (CAT).

The SOMO Project

SOMO Project, USA and Kenya

The SOMO Project identifies, trains, funds and mentors entrepreneurs looking to drive social change by building enterprises in their own low-income urban communities. They invest in social entrepreneurs and provide the training and tools to help them build enterprises that change their communities from within. By investing in the right people, they help break the cycle of poverty and help bring long-term stability to urban slum areas.

Street Business School

Street Business School (Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Kenya, Lithuania, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, USA, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe)

The Street Business School offers an award-winning entrepreneurial in-person and virtual training program that seeks to end generational poverty by empowering women entrepreneurs. The programs look towards giving access to knowledge and skill training to make possible the development of sustainable businesses. Their SBS’s success lies in their train-the-trainer immersion workshop and the virtual training. Individuals access the SBS curriculum, coursework, and post-workshop coaching sessions to deliver SBS to the desired community. To date, SBS has generated a substantial impact: 89% of their graduates have at least one business two years after completing the program, 1462% average income increase across graduates earning less than $0.65/day, and 211% average increase income across all their graduates. 

Supporting Youth Serving NGOs

Etijah

The Youth and Development Consultancy Institute (Etijah) provides training and capacity building expertise to youth-serving NGOs in order to develop the entrepreneurship, employment and living skills of Egyptian youth. Approximately one-third of Egyptian youth are unemployed and Etijah is committed to developing their skills so they can live prosperous, productive lives.

Supporting Sustainable Development Projects

High Atlas Foundation

The High Atlas Foundation works to establish sustainable development projects in local communities throughout Morocco. From organic agriculture to clean energy projects, the HAF works in partnership with the public, private, and civil sectors.

Support Artisan Women in Latin America

Mercardo Global, USA

Mercardo Global is a social enterprise organization that links indigenous artisans in rural Latin American communities to international sales opportunities. As a result, this organization helps provide sustainable income-earning opportunities, access to business training and community-based education programs. Mercado Global also increases access to microloans for technology, such as sewing machines and floor looms. Mercado Global believes income alone cannot solve long-term problems. Therefore, the organization focuses on both business education and leadership training. In doing so, Mercado Global enables artisans to address systemic problems within their communities. Artisans are given microloans, ideally to purchase equipment that allows them to work more efficiently. They then pay back their loans, allowing another artisan to attain one. Forty-four percent of Mercado Global entrepreneurs held a leadership position within their cooperatives in the last three years. Ninety-six percent participate in the finances of their households. And 77 percent of women voted in their last community election.

Supporting Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development

SEED Initiative

The SEED Initiative is a multi-country partnership involving Germany, India the Netherlands Norway, South Africa, Spain the United Kingdom, the USA, Switzerland, the UN, Kenya, and Canada. SEED inspires, supports and researches exceptional, entrepreneurial, nascent, multi-stakeholder partnerships for locally-led sustainable development . The initiative focuses on 'business as unusual' - innovative action delivering real solutions through project cooperation among small and large businesses, local and international NGOs, women's groups, labour organisations, public authorities and UN agencies, and others working in the field of sustainable development. The SEED Initiative aims to support outstanding and innovative start-up entrepreneurs working in partnership in developing countries to improve livelihoods and manage natural resources sustainably; develop practical tools to help social and environmental entrepreneurs to scale up; influence policy-makers to create enabling environments for sustainable development businesses; and inspire new entrepreneurial ventures to deliver social and environmental benefits.

Supporting the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs in Angola

UNIDO-CHEVRON

Chevron contributed $1,000,000 to a Unido-Chevron partnership initiative to introduce entrepreneurship as a subject in secondary schools in Angola. The entrepreneurship curriculum program aims to develop entrepreneurship skills among young people. The program helps to bring together young people, the education system and the private sector, linking the classroom to the business world. the young people acquire skills to identify, develop and manage new business opportunities.

Technology, Entrepreneurship and Ecosystem Development

SourceLink, USA

SourceLink builds communities that drive economies forward through entrepreneurship. SourceLink specializes in research and development solutions for the entrepreneurial journey. They work to provide tailored resources including a mix of technology, community engagement, and measurement to lead best practices in entrepreneurship and economic development. Launched in 2003, SourceLink has helped over 100 communities develop unique ecosystems and infrastructures. They provide entrepreneurs with components and services to identify, connect, and engage in a process of continuous improvement to drive desired economic impact. Over time, SourceLink has built a successful roadmap that communities of all sizes put to use. Ranging from one-stop shops and small businesses to complex entrepreneurial assessment studies, SourceLink identifies and conducts impactful research and development initiatives to empower the entrepreneurial community. The SourceLink Network spreads across various locations from Seattle to San Juan, and works to empower local leaders and communities to achieve entrepreneurship-led development goals.

TEF Entrepreneurship Programme

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (54 African Countries)

The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has empowered more than 15,847 young African entrepreneurs through this consolidated infrastructure and support program.  Past programs include ELUMELU Empowerment Fund, Tony & Awele Elumelu Prize, Nigeria 50, ELUMELU Professionals Programme, TEF - CCHUB Partnership, Nigeria Charities Act, Nigerian Philanthropy Summit, National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria, Blair-Elumelu Fellowship Programme, Africapitalism Institute, MANGA Farms, African Exchange Holdings LTD, and the Impact Economy Innovations Fund. There are various options available to get involved with those types of projects and programs, including volunteering at TEF Events, monitoring and evaluating an enterprise; hosting a TEF Entrepreneurship Meet Up; promoting the TEF Brand; and becoming a research partner. This is possible because of expert mentors, who are trained to deliver online mentoring to up to four mentees. 

TREYL - Transforming Rural Economies and Youth Livelihoods (2019-2022)

Practical ACTION -- Kenya

TREYL is an ambitious four-year program in partnership with the IKEA foundation that seeks to transform sustainable agriculture into a viable career that enables young people in rural areas in Kenya to afford a better life.  TREYL seeks to increase agricultural productivity through sustainable farming and decrease poverty levels in young people aged 25-35 through commercially viable regenerative agriculture.  The TREYL programme is currently working with an initial cohort of 6,000 young women and men to enhance their business skills based on an agro-ecological approach to farming.  Working groups made up of commercial providers and government agencies are tackling access to finance, training services and the provision of market information. Over the long term, the TREYL programme seeks to impact 80,000 young people by demonstrating the viability of businesses in the agricultural sector.  

Ultimate Resources for Black Entrepreneurs

GROWTHINK

The mission at Growthink is to support all entrepreneurs regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, economic status and other diverse backgrounds. They have created a resource platform to help black entrepreneurs to acquire the knowledge and resources necessary to achieve as much success as possible.

UNHCR - The Graduation Approach

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees - UNHCR  (Myanmar, Egypt, Costa Rica, Iran)

The Graduation Approach is a form of addressing the urgent needs of the poorest refugees and families. UNHCR's approach is a 24 to 36-month strategy so these impoverished refugees can become self-reliant. After the program, the refugees should be able to eat at least two cooked meals a day, hold productive thresholds, possess at least two sources of income, maintain a minimum savings balance, and at least repay a loan with their savings or credit. The UNHCR strategy is as follows: target the poorest households; provide a certain amount of cash for the families to meet their basic needs; help the families on planning their livelihoods and productive possibilities; build a savings plan; offer technical and entrepreneurial skills training; close mentoring with the participants to develop their self-confidence.  

Village Enterprise

Village Enterprise (Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique)

The Village Enterprise addresses extreme poverty in rural Africa, specifically women, youth, and refugees, by offering a Poverty Graduation Program that prepares them to become successful entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities. The community-based and locally-led program is designed with steps which include business savings groups, training, seed capital, and mentoring. This program is further enhanced with their partnerships, use of technology and innovation, and complex monitoring and evaluation. Their data-driven approach creates impact as the Village Enterprise has helped generate more than 58,000 businesses, trained more than 214,000 entrepreneurs, and changed the lives of more than 1,240,000 individuals. 

Women Empowerment Services

Solar Sister

Everyone should have access to clean energy. And the team behind Solar Sister believes women are a key part of the solution to the clean energy challenge. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 600 million people have no access to electricity. Moreover, more than 700 million must rely on harmful fuels. However, women bear the majority burden of this energy poverty and disproportionately shoulder the harmful effects. In order to address this issue and create more equity around clean energy and economic opportunities, Solar Sister invests in women’s enterprises in off-grid communities. By doing so, the Solar Sister team builds networks of women entrepreneurs. Women are first given access to clean, renewable energy. Then, they participate in a direct sales network to build sustainable businesses. Centering local women in a rapidly growing clean energy sector is essential to eradicating poverty. This allows helps achieve sustainable solutions to climate change and a host of development issues. Evidence shows the income of self-employed rural women with access to energy is more than double the income of those without access to energy. For rural female wage or salary workers, access to energy is correlated with 59 percent higher wages. Solar Sister is currently helping over 1,200 entrepreneurs. The team is also partnering with Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Sustainable Energy for All, U.N. Women and Women in Solar Energy.

Women Empowerment Through the Gospel and Entrepreneurship 

ROSE Women’s Foundation -- Kenya

ROSE is a global community whose mission is to empower women in extreme poverty through the gospel and entrepreneurship.  They uplift women as business leaders to create jobs, earn a dignified income and provide for their families.  Their programs focus on microenterprise business training, microfinancing and virtual coaching.

Women’s Social Enterprise

Small Projects Istanbul -- Turkey

Small Projects Istanbul is an NGO dedicated to helping those displaced by the conflict in the MENA region to rebuild their lives, through supporting community development, education and empowerment.  The Women’s Social Enterprise is a SPI project that provides an opportunity for women in the community to contribute to their livelihoods through handicraft production and sales.  Embedded within the Community Center space, the Women’s Social Enterprise aims to effectively merge social and economic agendas in relation to the needs of the community.  Participating in the Women’s Social Enterprise enables the artisans to not only earn income and develop transferable skills but also to gain a sense of ownership and independence, build confidence and connect with their peers.

World Education Initiative: Empowering Vulnerable Children to Thrive

Bantwana, World Education, Inc.

Bantwana envisions a world where children are healthy, secure, and can reach their full potential. They use an evidence-based, socio-ecological model of comprehensive care to ensure that children and their caregivers have access to the support they need to grow and improve their overall wellbeing. Currently reaching over 600,000 people across six countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Bantwana engages at all levels. They work in close partnership with more than 90 organizations, clinics, and governments (local and national) to build and sustain systems that care for children. Through their work with dedicated and innovative community leaders, Bantwana targets countries that face growing numbers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), and invests in the core services that mitigate the impacts these children face. Bantwana’s current projects span from Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programs, to School Health Outreach Programs (SHOP), and HIV Prevention Life Skills Education and Rapid and Effective Action Combatting HIV/AIDS (REACH), and many more. Bantwana forms long-term partnerships and commitments with countries, working together with communities and governments, to develop innovative solutions to address long-term, entrenched challenges at scale and sustainably. Bantwana promotes transformative lasting change through their mission: to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable children and their caregivers and families affected by HIV and AIDS and poverty.

Youth Agro-pastoral Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme (2014-2023)

International Fund for Rural Development -- Cameroon 

The Youth Agro-pastoral Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme is designed to promote a policy, organizational and institutional framework that assists people in four regions in Cameroon in creating and developing successful agro-pastoral businesses.  Apart from developing viable agro-pastoral businesses, the programme also seeks to help with access to financial services.  Activities target young people in rural communities where there is greater potential to create a structured value chain for agro-pastoral production and related occupations.    

Youth Employment Enhancement Project

VSO - Voluntary Service Overseas -- Africa and Asia 

VSO is an international organization that brings about change not by sending aid, but by working through volunteers and partners to empower people living in some of the world’s poorest and most overlooked regions.  The Youth Employment Enhancement Project under VSO creates environments and platforms that allow young people to participate in conversations around livelihoods, pursue their dreams and aspirations and take action to improve their own well-being.  VSO supports youth in three principal ways: (1) they advocate for the creation of decent green jobs and raise awareness about the rights of young people and promote social accountability between young people and their communities (2) they design and implement programmes that mentor individuals in how to start-up businesses and give them access to financial services and digital technology, and (3) they empower young people through their youth networks who want to work to influence policies and promote systematic changes that allow for the creation of inclusive and decent jobs.

Youth Employment through Entrepreneurship in Tunisia

UNIDO, USAID, Government of Italy, Hewlett-Packard (HP)

An initiative to encourage youth employment through entrepreneurship and enterprise development in four vulnerable regions of Tunisia: Kairouan, Kasserine, Le Kef and Sidi Bouzid. The project aims at enhancing the knowledge and delivery capacity of local business support institutions and provides direct support to entrepreneurs and enterprises through technical assistance, training and business coaching. The project provides a business coaching program for start-ups, and assists aspiring entrepreneurs in preparing business plans. Entrepreneurs learn how to apply the innovative IT tools and business concepts of HP’s Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE) to their projects. Educators and students are trained through HP LIFE e-Learning workshops that is organized at the Higher Institute of Technological Studies (ISET) and in universities in the four regions.

Towards gender parity: women in creative industries in Pakistan

UNIDO and Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC)

Expanding employment and creating livelihood opportunities for women in Pakistan has been achieved by the establishment of the Business Growth Center which aims to work towards enhancing ability, mobility, visibility and connectivity of women entrepreneurs. Moreover, linkages with the Universities, private sector, and Vocational Training Centers are created through the foundation of Creative Industries Centers (such as in IQRA University). The strategy focuses on making all sectors of the economy more gender inclusive, by finding ways to include women into the traditionally male dominated sectors of the economy. This identifies and inserts value adding sub-sectors with high potential for women to access the already existing, male dominated, value chains. Such creative sub-sectors harness women’s creativity with the outcome of highly marketable products. These non-traditional parts of the economy mostly rely on creative, culture based designs and heritage based knowledge in which women play a pivotal role through their non-transferable, creative skills. These sectors include marble mosaic, gems and jewels, as well as home textiles.

Trust-based Model

JUST, USA

An emerging Austin nonprofit called Just seeks to provide capital, coaching, and community to Austin’s low-income entrepreneurs through a microcredit model based on trust-based lending. Starting with a loan of just $750 with more available to them as they succeed, entrepreneurs are able to buy a chair at a salon, launch a cleaning business, or sell a handmade good. Applicants aren’t vetted based on their credit score, business plan or even collateral. Instead, they’re vetted and invited to participate in the program by current Just entrepreneurs. Just’s trust-based model uses the power of peer-based accountability to manage credit risk and ensure repayment. The group trains leaders, typically Just graduates, to create teams of Just entrepreneurs, with each member having been vouched for by other members. This results in a tight-knit, peer-based group, which is naturally mutually supportive and mutually accountable.

UNIDO, Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and Moroccan Ministry of Industry, Commerce and New Technologies

Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Morocco

An entrepreneurship program that seeks to improve the income opportunities of the rural population in Morocco while enhancing the competitiveness of small-scale olive oil producing, textile and fruits and vegetable drying groups managed by women. The project has included improvement of the production processes, the provision of new equipment to make production faster, better and safer, training in management, good manufacturing, traceability systems, food safety, marketing, networking and finances. It ensured that the businesses could comply with stringent market standards and regulations, overcome barriers to trade and facilitate exports. The program has also assisted women in diversifying production to include more value added products.

Young Social Entrepreneurs Creating Water and Sanitation Solutions in Different Countries

Young Water Fellowship Program

Young Water Solutions is an international non-profit organization that aims to develop and support the potential of young people in Uganda, Bangladesh and other countries to contribute to universal water, sanitation hygiene and water resources management. We do so by empowering young leaders and entrepreneurs, providing them the tools to carry out water and sanitation projects and launch social businesses in their communities. We promote an integrated approach and support initiatives that address inter linked challenges such as climate change adaptation, reforestation, youth employment, gender equality and food security. Based in Brussels, Young Water Solutions was co-founded in 2015 by 16 young and senior water professionals from 11 different countries but with a common vision: a world where young people contribute to making access to clean water and sanitation an everyday reality for all people on Earth. Our mission is to make an effective and scalable contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, by empowering young people to implement water solutions in their communities. By 2030, we aspire to empower over 1,000 young leaders, including at least 500 young women, to implement water solutions in their communities so that at least 1,000,000 people can rely on clean water and sanitation and enjoy a life in dignity.

Youth Business and Environmental Entrepreneurship Training: For Sustainable Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction

Lushoto Youth Development Network, EcoVentures Intl. (Tanzania)

Based in the Lushoto District, Tanga Region, in Tanzania, the LYDN targets local problems within Lushoto by making long-term investments in capacity building, training, and advising the youth (16- to 25-year old students). The capacity building consists of developing an eco-entrepreneurial mindset and skill set in the young residents of Lushoto.