International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security
Mission - Our mission is to end extreme poverty in rural Africa through entrepreneurship and innovation.
Our vision is a world free of extreme poverty and chronic hunger where people have the means to sustain their families.
751 Laurel St. PMB #222
San Carlos, CA 94070 USA
microenterprise, small business, business training, business mentoring, graduation program, microgrants, grants, international, development, Africa, Uganda, Kenya, microfinance, livelihood, extreme poverty, women
International Economic Development (Q32)
Management Services for Small Business/Entrepreneurs (S43)
Agricultural Programs (K20)
IRS Filing Requirement
This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.
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What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Microenterprise Development Program
Since its inception in 1987, Village Enterprise has been developing and refining an innovative model of poverty reduction combining training and mentoring, seed capital grant and/or asset transfer, and savings programs to create small rural businesses. Village Enterprise’s economic development model plays a unique role in this sector, providing economic opportunities in rural, agricultural areas that other
organizations are not reaching, and gives ultra-poor women and men the opportunity to transform a small grant ($150) into a new business, a better standard of living, and hope for the future. Village Enterprise is headquartered in San Carlos, CA, and operates in Kenya and Uganda.
This unique and proven model includes the following elements:
Business Training: Empower groups of three people to create, operate and sustain income-generating businesses. Business training includes modules on: identifying business opportunities, leveraging
existing resources, marketing, profit and loss concepts, basic accounting methods,
savings, and conflict resolution skills to improve the management and
operational capacity of peer-owned business.
Startup Grants: Provide qualified groups with one-time seed capital grants (not loans) of $150 or the business assets and inputs for a specific type of business ("Business-in-a-Box”) to start peer-owned microenterprises. Each group completes a short standard-of-living survey (qualifying them as below the poverty line), and creates a business plan. Additional targeting is provided by using the PPI (Progress Out of Poverty Index) and Poverty Wealth Ranking in the villages, to ensure we are reaching the poorest villagers.
Savings Groups: Provide financial literacy and savings training, and organize small business owners into business savings groups of up to 30 people. Each savings group elects a leadership team,
writes its own constitution, and provides self-directed savings and credit services to its members. Savings is a key vehicle for people living in extreme poverty to 1) smooth their income and respond to emergencies, 2) provide capital for business expansion and build assets and 3) increase their credit.
Ongoing Mentoring: Through a strong network of Business Mentors (field staff who live in and around the villages served), provide business mentoring to our business owners for a year during the program to help the new entrepreneurs gain confidence, overcome normal challenges faced during
the initial stages of operation, expand, and ultimately become self-sufficient.
Village Enterprise employs a unique rural service delivery model, which distinguishes it from other organizations in this field. Village Enterprise works through a network of Business Mentors, who live and work in the rural communities we serve.
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
Where we workNew!
How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Number of hours of training
Total number of hours of training for fiscal year (July 2015 to June 2016) provided by business mentors to participants. 16 training sessions of 2 hours each for 323 Business Savings Groups.
Number of participants engaged in programs
Total number of participants in Village Enterprise's one-year graduation program. Participants are provided with seed capital, training and on-going mentoring by a local business mentor.
Number of businesses started
Number of rural businesses started in East Africa (Kenya and Uganda), consisting of 3 business-owners per business.
Number of financial literacy courses conducted
Number of financial literacy trainings provided for fiscal year (6 sessions per Business Savings Group created). Calculation: 323 (BSGs) x 6 financial literacy trainings. 275 X 6 and 217 X 6
Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
How will they know if they are making progress?
What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
Our goal is to help rural East Africans in extreme poverty (e.g. living below $1.25 a day) create and sustain small, income-generating businesses. This is a means to an improved standard of living for themselves and their families, including better nutrition, housing, and education for their children.
Village Enterprise directly addresses Goal #1 of the UN Millennium Development Goals--“Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger"--and indirectly supports five other goals related to health and education. More specifically, Village Enterprise addresses the problem of extreme, rural poverty in East Africa, where more than 70% of the population is living below $2/day. Due to inadequate income, education, and self-confidence, the cycle of poverty is self-perpetuating. We help hard-working men and women overcome those significant physical and mental barriers to break out of the cycle of poverty.
A typical Village Enterprise program participant is a subsistence farmer who struggles to provide adequate food for her or his family and has limited education and no previous experience operating a small business. Microfinance loans, used for reducing poverty in all regions around the world today, are typically not available in rural East African communities. Furthermore, the few microfinance institutions that operate near Village Enterprise's villages rarely offer business training and financial education, which are critical to the management and long-term success of microenterprises.
-In process with a rigorous three-year independent randomized control trial (RCT) with Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA) to assess the effectiveness and impact of our microenterprise development model
-Continually improve and refine our core Microenterprise Development Program using participant feedback, innovation summits, industry-expert feedback, and data from rigorous monitoring and evaluation
-Continue to refine our rigorous, village-level targeting process using a poverty wealth ranking exercise and assessment of poverty level using the Grameen Foundation's Progress-out-of-Poverty Index (PPI) to ensure 90% of our program participants are below the poverty line
-Constantly develop and create new innovations in the field, such as the Smarter Market Analysis Risk Tool (SMART) to identify top-performing agricultural businesses on a regional-by-region basis.
-Participate in an effort to develop a cloud-based technology platform for ultra-poor programs. Deployed the use of Open Data Kit, a Google.org suite of mobile tools that simplified our complex data collection and entry process in the field
-Implement and pilot new partnerships to replicate our model in additional East African countries to expand impact
Through these strategies, Village Enterprise will be able to better target and more efficiently serve our program participants who live in rural areas. Overall, it will contribute to the long-term improvement, expansion, and sustainability of our program across East Africa.
Village Enterprise's strength lies in the local leadership in the field and the deep network of support from our donors, board, partners, fellows, and volunteers.
Village Enterprise has been serving people living in extreme poverty at the community-level for many years, and in turn, has built a highly capable, committed field team that represents the local community we serve. Over 95% of our field staff are East African. We hire local leaders that are capable of mentoring, monitoring, driving, and inspiring our program participants to create sustainable businesses that can lift them out of poverty. Besides program delivery, our field staff live where we work and are uniquely attuned to the needs of our constituents. In addition, our Uganda and Kenya Country Directors bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in program management, capacity building, and research. Through feedback loops all our staff constantly innovates and our program improves as a result. In order to achieve our long term expansion goals, we are increasing the number local field staff to accommodate our growing program.
Furthermore, our base of support is committed to building the long-term goals of the organization and have committed generous resources to taking the organization further, as evidence by our recent completion of a three-year $5 million campaign in that was started in 2013. The campaign will position Village Enterprise to expand our model across new areas in Kenya and Uganda, scale our program with partners in new countries, and innovate new technologies and ideas to increase our impact.
In October 2013, Village Enterprise launched a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) evaluation of its program. RCTs represent the gold standard of the evaluation methodologies. Preliminary results are scheduled to be made available in the spring of 2015.
Consumption Expenditure Recall Survey: Village Enterprise performs research intended to 1) test a project's theory of change, 2) assess changes in business owners' standard of living, and 3) compare the relative benefit of different interventions. We conduct consumption expenditure recall surveys on a random sample of program participants. For the survey, an interviewee is asked to determine amounts of food, semi-durable (medicines, soap, etc.), and durable (furniture, plates, etc.) items they have purchased over certain periods of time. After business owners are in operation for a year, we collect new consumption expenditure data to capture any changes in the sampled group.
Standard of Living: We also collect an internally-designed survey to capture standard of living indicators, such as meals per day, meat/fish per week, children in school, etc. Our standard of living survey captures data that is not found on the PPI and consumption expenditure recall survey and provides a snapshot of daily life and of other assets that increase or improve over the course of our program. The survey is collected at the beginning and end of the program to discern changes in livelihood indicators.
Program Performance Measurement: By capturing baseline data before the business owners receive a grant, and collecting additional data 1-2 years into the program, we can assess the impact of our microenterprise development model on households. We produce Internal Program Performance Measurement Reports three times a year coinciding with our funding cycles.
Each business created by Village Enterprise costs than $500 in expenses and improves the standard of living of 20 people for years to come. (This calculation is based on each businesses having three owners, and each owner having an average of 6-7 dependents.) . An independent Business Longevity Study unveiled that 75% of our businesses are still operational 4 years after receiving Village Enterprise services, and identified contributing factors to business success and/or failures. Outcomes include better nutrition, improved health, increased education for children, higher-quality housing, individual empowerment, and a sense of hope now and in the future.
In October 2013, Village Enterprise launched a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) evaluation of its program. RCTs represent the gold standard of the evaluation methodologies. Preliminary results are scheduled to be made available in the spring of 2015. Moreover, it will contribute to the ongoing policy debate on the creation of sustainable mechanisms for poverty alleviation.
In 2014, Village Enterprise started 2,170 new businesses across Kenya and Uganda, bringing the total number of businesses started since our founding in 1987 to 33,000 businesses. For more indicators on our progress on eradicating extreme poverty, visit: http://villageenterprise.org/our-impact/performance-dashboard
The outcomes we track indicate that our microenterprise development program is a high-impact and cost-effective solution. By helping people living in extreme poverty start sustainable businesses, we are moving beyond "giving a person a fish" to "teaching a person how to fish" so that long term cycles of the poverty trap are broken. Sustainable businesses that lift and keep people out of extreme poverty will contribute to our long-term goal of a world free of poverty and hunger.
In the past four years, we have refined our model to include a mixed and holistic approach to poverty alleviation. We realized that unconditional cash transfers could make a bigger difference if it was coupled with other interventions that include business mentoring, business training, and savings groups. With these interventions as a core part of our program, we also needed to improve our targeting and M&E processes to better serve our target population, people living under the $1.25 per day extreme poverty line. Besides adopting industry standards for poverty indicators, Village Enterprise is dedicated to constantly improving and refining our work. Therefore, we came up an Innovation Summit that happens twice a year among Village Enterprise staff. The Innovation Summit allows us to review new innovations and pilots and come up with new ideas to improve our program. It has been widely successful and continues to drive new innovations in the field including mobile phone data collection, improved trainings for illiterate populations, among many others.
While there are barriers to scaling, we realize that we can increase our impact by working with partners to implement our program. Through strategic partnerships, Village Enterprise is looking to scale our program to other regions in East Africa. In working with our partners, we will train them on all the various aspects of our model and consult with them on how to best serve the ultrapoor in their respective region.
Village Enterprise Fund, Inc.
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.
as of 8/23/2018
Term: 2011 - 2016
Cypress Growth Fund
Mansour, Gavin, Gerlack & Manos Co., L.P.A
San Francisco-based Jewish Vocational Service
Social Innovation Consultant
The Kurdelski Group
Bain & Company
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
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Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?
Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?
Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?
In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
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