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."
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.
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 1,600 entrepreneurs who have generated 5,400 new jobs in their communities.
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.
Where we work in Rwanda, all refugees have the right to move, work, own a business, open a bank account, and own land. With limited barriers to entering the workforce, the refugee community is ripe with entrepreneurs.
We offer training and business development services to hundreds of refugee entrepreneurs annually in Rwanda. 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.
AEC’s Annual Report 2017, "The Brave Rise Together" highlights our work to support rising African entrepreneurs who stood tall in the face of difficulty. Some fled their countries as refugees, others overcame significant set-backs and heartbreak. At AEC, we worked with over 1,600 entrepreneurs who took a risk, and in doing so they created over 5,400 jobs for Rwandans, Tanzanians, and fellow refugees. This report shares updates on our organization, model, and finances, as well as powerful stories of entrepreneurs brave enough to work together to improve their lives, and the lives of others. In 2017, we doubled our impact and we look forward to doubling it again in 2018.
Download our annual report below to learn more about our work and impact.
AEC is proud to be working with East Africa's young leaders to build their nations through private sector development. From our early days in Rwanda, here are the voices of young entrepreneurs we have supported in this video.
After researching the health benefits of cayenne pepper for several years, Christine, started her own cayenne pepper production company, CF-Premium.
Southern Rwanda has the ideal climate and soil for growing hot peppers. Christine works with five farmers on 11 hectors of land, providing them with soft capital, organic fertilizer and free seeds to grow their crops.
Jean Bosco and his partner founded HPS&B because they saw the need to expand the rice sector in Rwanda to benefit local farmers and consumers.
Jean Bosco has accessed three cycles of financing from AEC, along with intensive training to help his company thrive.
Blandine has created Rwanda’s only magazine targeting pregnant women and mothers, and one of the only magazines specifically for women and girls in the local language of Kinyarwanda.
Blandine was recently nominated for the Rwandan Youth and Business Excellence Awards for her work.