Focus on existing entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs who have already demonstrated viability at a small scale are most likely to succeed in making the leap to the next level where they can employ others. We support entrepreneurs to expand their small businesses and transform their communities.
Develop entrepreneur capacity
The skills it takes to start a business aren’t always the skills it takes to grow a business.
We provide hands-on mentoring, strategic consulting, and practical training to equip entrepreneurs with the skills needed for growth.
Remove barriers to growth
As businesses grow to scale, entrepreneurs face additional challenges of management, access to expensive capital, and navigating new regulations. We offer low cost capital and additional supports to empower our entrepreneurs to bridge the "pioneer gap."
At AEC we believe that the most pressing problems in Africa have solutions that already exist on the continent; African entrepreneurs know best the needs of their local communities and are constantly creating, testing, and scaling innovative solutions. AEC exists to unlock the power of these entrepreneurs to transform their continent.
AEC is a collection of business accelerators and incubators that offers business education, mentorship, technical support and access to affordable capital to entrepreneurs. To date, we have worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs who have generated 3,000 new jobs for others in their communities.
African economies are some of the fastest growing in the world, but that growth threatens to leave behind a generation of youth.
With 200 million people aged 15 to 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world. And yet, 60% of all unemployed in Africa are youth, and that doesn’t count young people who are underemployed with low pay and few advancement opportunities.
While young people are motivated to create their own jobs through entrepreneurship, they often lack the skills, networks, and capital needed to grow their businesses to the size where they can create jobs for others.
The Challenge for Refugees
Due to ongoing conflicts and persistent crises, the refugee population is only growing in Africa. With Sub-Saharan Africa hosting over 26% of the world’s refugee population, millions of refugees in Africa have been displaced from the workforce.
Rwanda has a very progressive and welcoming policy toward refugees. All refugees have freedom of movement within the country, and are allowed to work, start a business, open a bank account, and own land. With limited barriers for entering the workforce, the refugee community is ripe with entrepreneurs.
In partnership with the UNHCR, we offer training and business development services to hundreds of refugee entrepreneurs annually in Rwandan. These refugee entrepreneurs not only contribute to a more financially self-sufficient livelihood for their families, but also contributes to a better micro-economy within refugee settlements.
While many organizations in Africa support economic development, most focus on the early stages of new business creation or provide short-term services. These offerings generate an abundance of ideas, but too often fail to generate real enterprises that create meaningful numbers of jobs.
Instead of stimulating new business development, AEC’s programs provide on-going support to existing entrepreneurs to enter new markets, strengthen their operations, and ultimately grow their businesses.
The African Entrepreneur Collective believes in a simple concept: In order to create more jobs in Africa, we find the people who are already creating jobs, and help them do it better.
To accomplish this work, AEC’s accelerators and incubators are tailored for a range of entrepreneurs: Inkomoko (our signature business development program), AEC Rwanda Trustee (low-cost loan funding), THINK (the Tigo-backed tech incubator), and SPRING (an East African accelerator focused on innovations for girls).