United Social Ventures
United Social Ventures coaches innovative young Ugandan social entrepreneurs from the very start of their journeys to create impactful and scalable startups, ready for funding.
We believe that social ventures are the best level for young changemakers to lead change. Why?
- Equitable - Anyone can create one - you don't need wealth/privilege, just ingenuity.
- Impact - They prioritise impact over profits & are centered on their users.
- Sustainability - Their market-based nature - continuously selling the same product - give them a permanence.
- Scalability - They are designed to solve systemic challenges for all.
While Uganda tops the charts as the most entrepreneurial country in the world - almost 30% of young people are engaged in the early stages of setting up and running an enterprise - the majority of these startups never fulfill their potential. 21% go out of business every year and only 2% expect to employ 20+ people in the next five years (GEM, 2015). There's a national "missing middle" of MSMEs valued at $4.87 billion and globally in lower income countries this gap is $5.2 trillion (IFC, 2017).
We believe this 'Pioneer Gap' is largely caused by a vicious circle: Entrepreneurs progress slowly, lacking a framework to get started, so the vast majority never reach a stage where they are attractive to funders (and their friends and family don't have the ability to help to this stage), therefore entrepreneurs observe their chances of success are low and never fully commit to their ideas - however innovative - and so progress is even slower.
United Social Ventures is trying to build a bridge for early-stage social entrepreneurs across the Pioneer Gap - from start to growth - through three approaches:
Curriculum - we've create a framework of over 100 bite-sized projects to help start-ups with the tools they need to (a) generate innovative ideas, (b) go-to-market, and (c) develop a strategy for growth. These are also introduced to entrepreneurs through over 34 different workshop/webinar modules. Ultimately, this learning-by-doing framework makes their initiatives more effective, sustainable, and scalable.
Coaching - we meet all our 'Venture Members' once a year to judge their progress on our bridge and then recommend which of the bite-sized projects we can help them with. For 'Venture Fellows' we offer 100 hours of coaching to build growth strategies and fill gaps in their teams' expertise.
Community - We run series of workshops through partnerships with other ecosystem actors (e.g. innovation hubs, universities, and other development partners) who subsidise participants. Some workshop modules are build in collaboration with other institutions who bring particular expertise. And, ventures are introduced to a community of funders to help them access funds, commensurate to their progress.