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A NEW GENERATION OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS IS EMERGING IN EASTERN CONGO

ENSEMBLE ENABLES THEM TO MOVE FORWARD

Social entrepreneurs across Eastern Congo have the ideas and motivation to create solutions to pressing needs, but not the experience and financial means to succeed.

Ensemble is a team of Congolese and European business people, designers and technologists. We help social entrepreneurs in Kivu to transform their ideas into a proven business and then we help them scale. 

We do this by providing tailored business advice and financial support. We also help them apply human centred design to ensure their products and services effectively respond to people’s needs, and use innovation to breakthrough the many constraints that frustrate progress.

Our funding comes from entrepreneurs, foundations and businesses that believe in this approach and our focus areas are agriculture, energy, public services and digital technology. This is where businesses in Kivu can be most transformative.

 
 
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Innovation is our heartbeat

We work in a difficult environment that imposes many constraints. we have to innovate.

This means that we look to:

●      open up a new space in which solutions can create progress

●      make a step change in an existing solution to increase its value

●      remove an obstacle that is blocking an opportunity

In practice this could include a new business idea or a new technology or a new payment solution. Each response is tailored to the specific needs of our business partner.

innovation is integral to our support for every partner

below are just a few examples for you to explore

 
 
 
 

phased support

we work with partners from proof of concept to roll-out and scale

There are many people in Kivu with business ideas, just as there are elsewhere in the world. To identify those most likely to succeed and deliver social progress we initially work alongside the entrepreneur for a few weeks to better understand their potential and develop a business plan. If it all makes sense and if the business has the potential to scale, we start Phase 1.

The main objective is to help the entrepreneur prove they have a sustainable business that delivers social outcomes. Our focus is on practical advice and mentoring plus low-level financial support to buy equipment or cover cash needs. We introduce them to human-centred design and we embed good business practice to ensure their offer has the potential to scale.

Phase 2 is about scaling, usually with financial support. We place greater focus on financial performance and we use field research to track the economic and social benefits of the business.

Sometimes our partners graduate from Phase 2 and secure financial support from a bank or impact investor, which is a success! Our relationship often continues in the form of a paid consultancy partnership, which in the long-term helps us reduce our reliance on philanthropic funding.