Ensemble Pour La Différence
We are Ensemble Pour La Différence, a collaboration between entrepreneurs in the Kivu regions of Eastern Congo and entrepreneurs in Europe. Together we create sustainable livelihoods and strengthen wellbeing in a region that has suffered war and insecurity for decades and where 80% of the people live in extreme poverty. Those of us in Europe provide finance and expertise in support of those of us in Eastern Congo who run social businesses for the benefit of the 15 million people in North and South Kivu. We integrate design and technology to innovate and enhance impact and we aim to build a model for sustainable progress.
As entrepreneurs we work in three areas of the Congolese economy
The installation of basic utilities that are taken for granted in developed countries but in Kivu are broken or never existed. They include home lighting, healthcare and internet provision
The production of handmade products such as soap, shoes and fabric, all of which are well understood by the Congolese but which have rarely been developed at scale
To produce and sell agricultural commodities, including coffee, rice, cassava and fish. With coffee, this includes facilitating sales to buyers in Europe and the US, which brings in much needed revenue for thousands of families
Today we are supporting 12 businesses with recyclable loans and practical advice. They combine to generate $2.55 million in revenue and support 8,500 households with a sustainable income that is sufficient to improve daily nutrition and shelter for the whole family. The businesses reach 150,000 customers with products such as solar lamps that improve the quality of daily life, and services such as internet access that strengthen the community and offer opportunities to move forward. Our aim by 2021 is to establish social businesses that generate over $20 million in annual revenue and serve useful products and services to 2 million customers. In this way we will help the people of Kivu step forward to a higher standard of living, social stability and lasting peace.