Around the world, social entrepreneurship is increasingly seen as an accelerating force towards achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs). From facilitating inclusive economic growth and education, to leading digital transformations, to championing human rights and increasing access to basic services, young social innovators play a critical role in creating the world as it should be. And yet, they face distinct barriers in sustaining and scaling their ventures, particularly when it comes to gaining the necessary knowledge and skills and accessing funding.
The Youth Enterprise Fund (YEF) is filling this gap by facilitating access to flexible funding and needs-based mentorship and support for early- and mid-stage social ventures in Nigeria. Funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and implemented jointly with LEAP Africa, the YEF targets alums of LEAP Africa’s Social Innovators Programme with the goal of supporting awardees to increase the impact and sustainability of their work. In addition to supporting young social entrepreneurs, the project will also utilize systems change tools and approaches to map the Nigerian social entrepreneurship ecosystem and develop a strategy to engage relevant stakeholders in sustaining and scaling the YEF’s innovative approaches.
The initiative is expected to generate valuable evidence for how actors engaged in philanthropy and entrepreneurship may better diagnose the needs and potential of young social entrepreneurs at various stages in venture maturity.