A report released by Reach for Change highlighted the substantial impact the organization has made through its support programs for social entrepreneurs, positively impacting 237,490 African children and youth in 2017 alone. The children and youth benefitted from programming that contributes to 9 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including good health and wellbeing, quality education and gender equality, among others. The report also announced the launch of two initiatives on women’s economic empowerment and youth employment.
The report details the organization’s work in providing accelerator and incubator programming to support the development of local social entrepreneurs with innovations that solve pressing problems for children and youth. The programs provide entrepreneurs with business development support, capacity building, grant funding and networking opportunities, components that enable them to scale their impact and operations, reaching more child and youth beneficiaries as well as creating employment in their communities. An indicator of the success of the organization’s accelerator and incubator programs, the report cites that 100 percent of social entrepreneurs who have graduated from Reach for Change’s programs in Africa are still in business today and continue to deliver impact in their communities.
In partnership with over a dozen corporations, charitable foundations and non-governmental organizations, including the IKEA Foundation, Millicom, UNICEF, the British Council and the Sophie Stenbeck Family Foundation, Reach for Change supported 65 African social entrepreneurs through its intensive multi-year incubator program designed to help organizations scale and 93 social entrepreneurs through its shorter-term accelerator program designed to help entrepreneurs launch operations.
Amma Sefa-Dedeh Lartey, the Africa Regional Director of Reach for Change, said the report demonstrates the need and effectiveness of institutional support for early-stage African social entrepreneurs.
“Every year we receive thousands of applications for support from promising African entrepreneurs who have innovations with the potential to solve some of the most critical challenges facing Africa; things like health, education, inequality and economic growth,” Lartey said. “It really speaks to the impact of programming like ours when you see 100% of our graduates continuing to run successful social enterprises in large part due to the skills and knowledge that they have gained while working with us.”
Lartey stressed that Africa’s development and achievement of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals hinges on supporting local social entrepreneurs to implement lasting, large-scale solutions to the problems their communities face.
“In order to make a meaningful contribution to Africa’s development, the solution lies in linking local innovators with great ideas to the right supports to help them implement strategic plans to maximize their impact and stay in business over the long term,” Lartey explained. “We have been very fortunate to do provide these essential supports thanks to our dedicated partners, who have provided us with the financial support required to deliver quality programming to our entrepreneurs year after year.”
The report also announced the launch of two new accelerators focused on economic empowerment for women and youth employment, two pressing issues in Africa. The women’s economic empowerment accelerator will assist women-led enterprises to launch and grow sustainable businesses that employ large numbers of women, especially in rural and marginalized areas. The youth accelerator, dubbed Youthforce Africa, will open up pathways for youth employment and build youth’s skills and drive investment in youth-led enterprises in Africa. Reach for Change is currently seeking new partners to come on board to enable the programs to maximize their impact and create lasting change in underserved communities.
To view the report online and learn about the amazing work of innovative, African social entrepreneurs supported by Reach for Change, visit africa.reachforchange.org/impact .