Village Enterprise is thrilled to be the newest cost-effective and high impact charity selected by The Life You Can Save. Our mission is to end extreme poverty in rural Africa through entrepreneurship and innovation.
To accomplish this, Village Enterprise provides a “graduation program” that includes business and financial skills training, mentoring, small grants, and savings networks to first-time entrepreneurs living on less than $1.90 a day.
Integrated conservation training ensures that new business activities promote environmental best practices. Examples of businesses include livestock, farming, small retail stores and restaurants, tailoring, and beekeeping. Guided by technological and business acumen, the Village Enterprise is both scalable and adaptable.
Since our inception, we have started more than 33,000 businesses, trained more than 136,000 entrepreneurs and improved the lives of more than 700,000 women, children and men.
We currently work in Kenya and Uganda, with plans to scale to additional African countries though partnerships.
The Village Enterprise Graduation Program
Select program participants through an in-depth targeting process using rigorous assessment tools to verify that each participant’s income is below the poverty line
Organize self-governing Business Savings Groups (BSGs) of 10 businesses and 30 entrepreneurs each. These groups provide a safe place for savings, allow access to growth capital, and build social and economic networks. Business Savings Groups are ongoing, and serve as our ‘exit strategy’, enabling our business owners to continue their financial progress after the 1-year program ends.
Provide 16 modules of training over the course of a year that include: business and financial literacy, profit and loss, marketing, bookkeeping, and basic savings
Assist each 3-person business with selecting a viable enterprise and creating a sustainable business plan
Disburse an initial $100 seed capital grant to start each business and—if operational milestones are met—a $50 follow-on grant or non-cash asset transfer
Supplement training with a full year of mentoring to ensure that business owners receive sufficient guidance in running their enterprises
What Makes Village Enterprise Unique?
Village Enterprise provides a cost effective, innovative and results-oriented model. What makes us different?
- Grants – not loans. Allowing people in extreme poverty to immediately reap the benefits of their new businesses profits.
- We succeed where others dare not go. Working in poorer and far more remote villages than are typically served by other NGOs and microfinance organizations.
- Cost effective graduation program Achieving results at significantly lower costs than other graduation models.
- Group-based approach. Business groups of three bring diverse skillsets, spread risk, build social capital and produce cost efficiencies.
- Targeting the most vulnerable. A rigorous targeting methodology ensures that our program serves those at the bottom of the pyramid. 80% of our participants are women.
- Rigorous monitoring, evaluation and continuous improvement. Early adopters of smartphone-based data collection and reporting tools (TaroWorks).
- Local East African leadership model highlighted in the 10th anniversary issue of The Stanford Social Innovation Review. 95% local African staff.
- Innovation and collaboration in our DNA. Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Next Century Innovators award in 2013. Village Enterprise’s Incubator piloting new program elements and innovations, including USAID Youth Study & MasterCard Foundation Savings Study.
- Quality at scale. Others models build systems for scale; we ensure quality at scale by integrating the talent with the technology at the grassroots level.
- We cannot end extreme poverty alone. To increase our impact and scale, Village Enterprise partners with NGOs, governmental agencies, corporations, foundations, research institutions, universities, religious institutions, and giving networks.