Africa: Global Social Entrepreneurship Focus of New Partnership


Washington — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has convened a three-year partnership that will invest in young entrepreneurs who are pioneering innovative new models to address global development challenges.

USAID will commit $2 million to support the project, which will be matched by an additional $2 million in support from General Atlantic, the Newman's Own Foundation, the Pershing Square Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Echoing Green.

The partnership will invest in 20 young social innovators working in developing countries in two classes of the Echoing Green Global Fellows Program, according to USAID. The project goal is to "prime the pump" for global social entrepreneurship by supporting individual entrepreneurs as well as by fostering the growth of "social entrepreneurship ecosystems" and increasing support for social innovators in developing countries.

Entrepreneurship and innovation are proven economic drivers that help create jobs and reduce poverty through sustainable market-based solutions, USAID said.

"We are proud to partner with organizations like Echoing Green that have a legacy of proven, smart investing in successful social entrepreneurs, including City Year, SKS Microfinance and One Acre Fund," USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said. "In order to answer President Obama's call to end extreme poverty in the next two decades, we need exactly these kinds of strategic partnerships to encourage young people to take their innovative, game-changing social enterprises to scale."

Fellows in each class will receive financial and technical support over a two-year period to work on their innovative new models of global development solutions. The partners, along with Echoing Green Fellows, will share best practices within the social enterprise community.

"This partnership is timely because of the moment in which the field of social entrepreneurship finds itself," Echoing Green President Cheryl Dorsey said. Social entrepreneurship has been able "to mobilize hundreds of thousands of committed young people as community problem-solvers, promote high-impact, cross-sector collaborations, and catalyze new thinking about investment strategies that generate financial and social and environmental returns," she said. Such factors have made the field "into a true global social movement for positive change."

More information on the Echoing Green Global Fellowship is available at the Echoing Green website.

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