The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), in partnership with the Citi Foundation and the U.S. Department of State, hosted the 2018 Youth Entrepreneurship Summit with Africa’s top 50 social entrepreneurs from 18 countries from February 26 to 28 in Nairobi.
The Summit brought together past and present young entrepreneurs, all of whom have been awarded seed capital from USADF to grow their businesses to improve their communities. “USADF invests in young entrepreneurs as they build their businesses and improve livelihoods in their communities.
Equipping young people to be a part of Africa’s growth is vital to Africa’s economic development needs,” says C.D. Glin, President & CEO of the U.S. African Development Foundation. “These young business leaders are part of a generation that will drive the growth and prosperity of the entire continent.”
“At Citi, we have been committed to the development of Africa since 1920, and through the Citi Foundation we have the opportunity to carry out programs that generate economic progress in the region through high-impact regional and local initiatives, with a focus on young adults and women.
The Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative is working with the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) to provide young entrepreneurs with the business support services and access to seed capital needed to cultivate their businesses,” said Citi Cluster Head for East Africa, Joyce-Ann Wainaina.
The Youth Entrepreneurship Summit featured networking, cross-sector collaboration, and skill-building sessions led by expert facilitators, thought leaders and local business men and women. This unique opportunity gave USADF’s youth entrepreneurs access to a built-in network of collaborators, mentors, partners, and peers that they may draw upon as their enterprises expand.
USADF Board Member Iqbal Paroo moderated a panel on the final day of the conference concerning the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem as well as mentoring and advising in small group coaching sessions with USADF grantees.
The USADF-Citi Foundation partnership impacts young entrepreneurs in Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
These youth-led enterprises in which USADF and the Citi Foundation have invested will continue to make an impact in communities throughout the continent in the years and decades to come.
In collaboration USADF and the Citi Foundation will provide over $500,000 in follow-onfunding for 12 of their most promising previous winners. These two-time grant recipients have demonstrated catalytic and socially conscious business solutions to issues they have identified in their communities.
These seed capital grants support entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, like Dr. Charles Akhimein who launched a mobile platform to answer health-related questions and advice for teenagers in Nigeria, and Brenda Katwesigye who provides affordable eye care to low-income children.
The Citi Foundation awarded USADF $450,000 in 2017 as part of its global expansion of Pathways to Progress, which has committed to reach 500,000 young people by 2020 with a $100 million investment.
This is Citi and the Citi Foundation’s solution to the current high rates of youth unemployment and the need to prevent a lost generation of talent.
To date, USADF’s has invested over $4 million dollars in seed capital to 200 entrepreneurs in over 30 countries, many of whom will be in attendance in Nairobi next week.
USADF selects Africa’s top entrepreneurs through the United States’ Young African Leadership Initiative, drawing Mandela Washington Fellows and alumni from Regional Leadership Centers throughout the continent.