Village Enterprise

Week 42: Village Enterprise

Hello wonderful GIVE52'ers! Back with another fantastic organization. This week's organization is Village Enterprise.

Village Enterprise “believes in the power of the entrepreneurial spirit to transform lives”. This entrepreneurial spirit is something I cherish and try to cultivate every day. I was attracted to VE because this notion, that entrepreneurship can play a role in alleviating poverty, is one that started my own path into learning about global health, philanthropy, and what it takes to make an impact.

Village Enterprise equips people living in extreme poverty in rural Africa to start sustainable businesses and savings groups. Graduates from our 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.

Here’s how it works: Village Enterprise runs a one-year Graduation program which provides groups of entrepreneurs with seed capital, training and on-going mentoring by a local business mentor. They give businesses a $150 grant, notably not a loan, to start them off. 

Next, they organize entrepreneurs into Business Savings Groups. These are groups of 30 entrepreneurs who form a self-managed form of micro-finance. This means that members pool savings and can access loans. BSGs provide members with “ongoing protection against financial shocks and access to growth capital”, and act as a safety net. 

They also integrate conservation training which means new business activities automatically promote and use environmental best practices. Examples of businesses include livestock, farming, small retail stores and restaurants, tailoring, and beekeeping.

This unique organization was built in Silicon Valley, and applies the ethos of entrepreneurship to their work. They make certain that their programs are both scalable and adaptable. To date, their programs have assisted over 700,000 rural Africans out of extreme poverty.

Here's to the entrepreneurial spirit.
Happy Monday!