In a region where social entrepreneurship is still a relatively new concept, finding the right people to invest in can be a challenge. Our partners seek social entrepreneurs who will effect measurable and scalable social impact for children, youth or women, have organizations with strong potential for financial sustainability and who will ultimately create tangible societal change. Our innovation competitions are designed to ensure that our investments in social entrepreneurs are converted into lasting social change for African children, youth and women.
“During the Concept Development Workshop, you get a chance to meet with social innovators and work collaboratively to help each other in understanding one’s business model through impact modeling, a pathway of change, and business model canvas. My work was greatly inspired by the Concept Development Workshop: although I didn't win the competition, I didn't stop developing Kepler Tech Lab to help high school students get hands-on experience in engineering that will empower them to come up with innovative solutions to social challenges."
- Alphonse Habyarimana, 2016 Tigo Digital Changemakers finalist and Manager & Developer of Kepler Tech Lab in Kigali, Rwanda.
Our incubators across Africa are set up with long-term success as the primary goal. In 2017, a total of sixty-five social ventures were supported with capacity-building, network and grant funding in order to help them put in place the strategy, processes, people, systems, credibility and connections they need to deliver and scale proven impact for children and youth.
Through the incubator program, our Change Leaders are empowered with tools to help them set goals for their social enterprises, track their progress and evaluate what works and what needs to change to ensure continued success. Here is a snapshot of our Change Leaders had to say about the program in 2017:
"Being part of the incubator and a winner of the Tigo Digital Changemakers competition has helped me to gain more confidence in our ability to unfold our mission. This is bigger than ourselves and to have organizations like Reach for Change and Tigo validating our idea and choosing to support us was encouragement we needed. The fund helped us not only to keep going as a startup but also to buy devices we needed and go on the field to test our software. It is a tremendous step in our journey.”
- Auxilia Ndamage, Change Leader, Rwanda
In 2017, our Change Leaders not only created an amazing impact on children — 237,490 children and youth's lives were positively impacted thanks to the work that they did — a large proportion also created employment and scaled their enterprises to expand their impact to new geographical locations:
We have a set of outcomes that we support our Change Leaders to achieve in the incubator program:
Short-term outcomes: The short-term goal of the incubator is that the social entrepreneurs gain the confidence, credibility, connections and business savviness to overcome key challenges.
Medium-term outcomes: The social entrepreneurs reach a point where they have proven their impact, become financially sustainable, become operationally ready for growth, and started implementing their impact scaling strategy.
Long-term outcomes: The ultimate goal is that the social entrepreneurs’ solutions impact a significant share of the children and youth in their target group toward fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In order to help our social entrepreneurs achieve these targeted outcomes we tailor our support to their needs, through a combination of:
Capacity-building: We offer advisory, technical training, mentoring, coaching as well as peer-to-peer exchange, and target our support across key development areas with a particular emphasis on social impact, financial sustainability, leadership & team, impact scaling and system change.
Networking: We connect our social entrepreneurs to our local and international network of experts and funders, with the aim to create opportunities for new learnings, partnerships and sources of revenue.
Grant funding: Selected social entrepreneurs are offered unrestricted financial support, often used for developing and delivering their solution and for strengthening the capacity and capabilities of their team. In addition to access to capacity-building, network and grant funding, a place in our incubator also serves as a stamp of approval given the highly competitive nature of our selections.
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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