Reach for Change and the IKEA Foundation announced a new partnership that will help 120 outstanding entrepreneurs in Ethiopia develop social enterprises that improve the health, education and protection of children in Africa’s second most populous country.
The partnership is projected to impact over 84,000 children in Ethiopia while providing a major boost to the social enterprise sector in the country. To achieve this, the IKEA Foundation is providing Reach for Change with a €3.3 million grant to roll out accelerator, incubator and rapid scale programs and provide supports to Ethiopian social entrepreneurs through a social enterprise forum. This will enable 120 outstanding entrepreneurs to establish and build social enterprises that impact thousands of children for years to come. The three-year partnership will support entrepreneurs whose work helps children to enjoy better health, do better at school, and be protected from trafficking and abuse.
Social entrepreneurship is increasingly becoming an alternative to traditional development programs in Africa because it enables local entrepreneurs to implement long-term solutions that eventually create systemic change. Reach for Change currently runs accelerators and incubators for social entrepreneurs in 18 countries around the world; its accelerators are aimed at helping social entrepreneurs develop prototypes and prepare for early-stage investment, its incubators are much more intensive programs that help social entrepreneurs develop financially sustainable organizations that can expand to reach large numbers of beneficiaries. Reach for Change has been operating in Ethiopia since 2015 and has already helped more than 40 social entrepreneurs develop through its accelerators and incubators.
The rapid scale program is a cutting-edge initiative that will enable more experienced social entrepreneurs to increase their impact and scale their innovations at an accelerated rate. The program will include technical expertise around business development, financial management, operations and communications, leadership & governance among others. They will also be supported to access and strengthen networks that can help them to scale nationally, regionally and/or internationally, including private sector, government and the NGO sector.
Ethiopian social entrepreneurs with innovations that improve children’s education and well-being will be identified through a rigorous selection process conducted by Reach for Change and the IKEA Foundation. The top 120 social entrepreneurs will then be supported with training, funding, access to sector experts and mentors and networking opportunities with government, private sector and civil society organizations.
“We are honoured by the support that the IKEA Foundation has provided to transform children’s lives in Ethiopia,” said Amma Lartey, Reach for Change Africa Regional Director. “Not only will their investment make a massive impact on thousands of children’s lives, it will also support the growth of the burgeoning social enterprise sector in the country.”
“Social entrepreneurship will be increasingly important in solving key challenges and creating job opportunities for young people in a fast changing society. It can help improve the lives of many children in Ethiopia who deserve a healthy start in life and a solid education. That’s why we are proud to support Reach for Change. ” said Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation.
As a result of the partnership, thousands of vulnerable children will enjoy better health, do better at school, and be protected from trafficking and abuse, thanks to Reach for Change’s support for local entrepreneurs committed to solving social problems.