Investing in social entrepreneurs in Ethiopia

To improve the situation for women and children in Ethiopia, H&M Foundation joined forces with Reach for Change. The project supported local social entrepreneurs that have found new solutions to social problems affecting women and youth. Within the project, Reach for Change identified local social entrepreneurs that had ideas on how to solve the most pressing issues facing women and children in Ethiopia. The entrepreneurs were given seed funding, access to business expertise and networking opportunities in order to grow and develop their initiatives.

The participants in the program had in common that they are persons with a strong drive to create positive social change; they find new solutions to local social problems and use innovative methods to achieve change. The program supported the participants by offering two steps that help them realize their ideas.

Step one – Accelerator

A larger number of participants were handpicked by a jury and had the chance to join the first step of the program. Through the accelerator they were supported to improve the social impact of the ideas and to be financial sustainable, by getting access to smaller grants as well as structured group sessions for 3-6 months.

Step two – Incubator

A few entrepreneurs, who were ready for bigger investments, were accepted to the second phase, called the Incubator program. The Incubator provided the participants with a larger grant, advice, expertise and tools to grow their operations, for example by improving business, development, and leadership skills. Most of the entrepreneurs were focusing on education and health, or economic empowerment of women.

Two examples of social entrepreneurs supported by Reach for Change who have realized their ideas is Naomi Kuseyo who has successfully given hospitalized children in DR Congo access to education inside hospitals and Hayford Siaw who has developed a concept for mobile libraries that has given children in rural areas in Ghana access to literature and thereby increased literacy levels.

  • Total donation: 3.1 million Swedish Krona
  • People reached by 2017: 300
  • Partners: Reach for Change

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