Founded: 1987

Goal: To end extreme poverty in rural Africa through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Vision: A world free of extreme poverty, where people have the economic means to sustain their families. 

How:  We provide aspiring entrepreneurs who live below the extreme poverty line with business and financial skills training, seed capital, mentoring, and access to business savings groups. Village Enterprise creates an opportunity for our program participants to generate a sustainable income and savings stream through their small businesses, allowing them to “graduate” from extreme poverty.

Types of Businesses: Examples of businesses include livestock, farming, small retail stores and restaurants, tailoring, and beekeeping.

Where: Kenya & Uganda with plans to scale throughout rural Africa.

Reach: We have started 36,000 businesses, trained over 145,000 business owners and transformed the lives of over 700,000 people.

Results: Outcome measurements include better nutrition, improved health, increased education for children, higher-quality housing, individual empowerment, and a sense of hope for the future. We have measured a 35% increase in standard of living after just one year. 

Who we work with: We identify individuals who live under $1.90 per day and have no prior business experience who are unable to provide for their family's basic needs. We assess poverty levels through a community based Poverty Wealth Ranking process. 

You should know:

  • 80% of our businesses are run by women 
  • 95% of our staff is East African 
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 80% of the world’s extreme poor. 
  • Our model is simple, extremely cost-effective at just $500 per 3-person business 
  • Village Enterprise is the first non-profit in the Graduation sector to pass an Impact Audit conducted by ImpactMatters, earn a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, and be selected as a top charity by TheLifeYouCanSave
  • In Uganda, our naughty pet donkey named Nicholas, who was rescued from years of coal-carrying labor, is known to break into our office and eat.