Select candidates who are invited to join our accelerator program gain access to a specialized program designed to transform innovative ideas into real impact in just a few months. Our accelerators deliver a series of support workshops to social entrepreneurs to help them refine their solutions and impact targets, articulate their business models, and sharpen their investor pitch.
At the end of the accelerator program, the social entrepreneurs pitch their refined innovations to a jury of experts who select the most promising entrepreneurs among them to join our incubator.
In 2017, we supported 93 social entrepreneurs in our acceleratos across Africa. Here is the feedback we received from participants about the program:
“The financial workshops were the most important for me. I had no idea how to work on such things before the workshops. As a result of the accelerator, we were able to outline a 12-month projection and prepare a business plan."
- Accelerator participant, Ethiopia
“Thanks to the workshops, we have adopted a business model to make our project sustainable."
- Accelerator participant, Chad
Every social entrepreneur needs a strong foundation to grow their initiative into tangible, scalable impact. When we run innovation competitions, we often meet people with great ideas, but who aren’t quite ready for our Incubator program and need specialized support to help them get their ideas up-and-running. We never like to turn a strong idea away, which is why we run accelerators to help prospective social entrepreneurs transform their ideas into investment-ready initiatives. Our accelerators include a series of workshops, one-to-one support and "validation" time, when the entrepreneurs go back to the field to test their hypotheses and refine their solutions.
“The financial viability of a project is an aspect that is sometimes neglected by social entrepreneurs. The business model trainings that we received in the Accelerator allowed us to understand the importance of developing long-term, financially sustainable solutions and gave us the skills we needed to find solutions that can adapt to socio-economic realities of the environment in which we are working.”
- Khalid Fadoul, a 2016 Accelerator participant in Chad, who founded TECHNIDEV, a social enterprise that develops quality educational content that students can access using their mobile phones or computers. After completing the Accelerator, Khalid advanced into our Incubator program and is now one of six Change Leaders that we support in the country with our partner Tigo Chad.
The goal of our Incubator program is to help social entrepreneurs scale their organizations, maximize their social impact and leave us at the end of their early growth phase with robust, financially sustainable social enterprises in place. The social entrepreneurs in our Incubators - amazing people that we call Change Leaders - receive advice, trainings & expertise and access to global networks to help them along their journey and, often, a financial grant to support their early stage social enterprise.
Change Leaders spend anywhere from 1 to 5 years in the program and graduate as “alumni” when they have mastered the skills they need to scale, have financial sustainability, create lasting impact and effect system change. Graduates of our Incubators are experts in impact measurement and reporting, have already demonstrate meaningful social impact, have a financially sustainable business model and have documented the contributions their solution are making towards lasting system change.
“The incubator has helped us to increase our social impact.
With the required reports we send each quarter, this helps us to evaluate our activities and also to adjust how we monitor project activities. Now we see our organization as a true social enterprise with the monitoring and evaluation that we conduct for each planned activity.”
- Nhana Samba, Le Geste, Change Leader since 2015
Le Geste provides training and integration programs that allow hearing impaired children to use digital tools for educational purposes. Le Geste visits special schools for hearing-impaired children and provides software and tools that allow them to fully use the internet, despite their impairment. Nhana was selected for our incubator program thanks to support from our partner Millicom.
“The most import thing I learned during the Incubator is the power of networks.
Since my project is entirely focused on serving people, it only makes sense that one of the primary objectives was to make as many people as possible involved. By connecting with other social entrepreneurs, I learned how solutions can be customized to fit regional contexts. Also, involving different stakeholders in the government and businesses helped me increase impact and be involved in even larger roles.”
- Gaspard Twagirayesu, Creation Hill, Rwanda, Change Leader since 2014
Creation Hill is tackling the lack of science, technology, engineering and math programming for students in Rwanda. They use trending technologies, fun experiments and technology-oriented game to demystify STEM principles for kids and provide them with a foundation to become future creators and innovators who will help develop Rwanda’s economy down the road.
“Reach for Change has helped us to strategize towards financial sustainability.
We have always largely relied on (foreign) project funding. Through the partnership with Reach for Change, we have developed our thinking away from traditional not-for-profit concepts, and are now actively working on alternative income streams linked to our expertise. We are working on FonixGH, a learning-to-read method that meets learning needs of children with learning difficulties. We have developed and validated the method, and are about to launch the book edition onto the market. The next step will be to develop the electronic edition to reach more and different users and to generate income for our social enterprise.”
- Margaretha Ubels and Ishmael Hammond, Special Attention Project, Ghana, Change Leaders since 2015
Special Attention Project improves the lives of children with learning difficulties through research, trainings and awareness campaigns, advocating for learning support in mainstream schools, and providing practical support to out-of-school children with learning difficulties. Margaretha and Ishmael are in our incubator program thanks to support from our partners, UNICEF, the EU and the Kavli Trust.
“Being in the Incubator has helped me develop a scalable model.
Before, I was just operating in one coding club, but now we have 21 coding clubs in Dar es Salaam. This year, I spoke with my mentor at Reach for Change about the possibility of franchising my social enterprise and got great feedback. This led me to apply for the NEXTGEN franchising competition and because of the great influence and impact of the Reach for Change Incubator, I was among the winners! Now I am looking into scaling Apps and Girls across all of Tanzania and other African countries!”
- Carolyne Ekyarissima, Apps & Girls, Tanzania, Change Leader since 2013
Apps & Girls is working to bridge the gender gap in ICT in Tanzania and beyond. They run coding clubs in schools and organize workshops, exhibitions, hackathons, boot camps and competitions to empower girls to solve problems using ICT.
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