Ashoka Social Investment Accelerator

Designed to support social entrepreneurs in Africa

Are you a social enterprise and are you looking to raise investments for the first time? Are you based in North, East or Southern Africa? Join our 6 months Ashoka Social Investment Accelerator by Ashoka Africa, designed to support social entrepreneurs!

For 35 years, Ashoka has pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship – finding, selecting and supporting some of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. Our network of over 3,000 Ashoka Fellows is successfully implementing system-changing solutions to human and environmental problems in almost every area of need, in 85 countries. Ashoka Fellows are extraordinary changemakers. But we believe that everyone needs to become a changemaker.

The aim of the accelerator is to support social entrepreneurs to refine their business model and become investment ready. It also aims to support them to find the right hybrid corporate structure to access both investment and philanthropy efficiently. The outcome at the end of the program is to produce a pitch deck, that you will be able to share with potential investors.

The programme

The Social Investment Accelerator consists of 8 modules. It will start with a kick-off 2-day workshop where the first 4 modules will take place. Over the 4 months period after the workshop, the other 4 modules will run as an online mentoring program. Entrepreneurs will be assisted by 3 experienced mentors and specific assistance will be provided by experts on topics such as marketing, sales, legal, accounting, impact, geographic expansion, support on business models. The Program will end with a Public Networking Event, where entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to pitch in front of our partners, Business Angels and Social Impact Investors. See below for more details.

Partners behind this initiative

A consortium of partners with Ashoka Africa, LeFil Consulting and VC4A stand together in leveraging the potential of Social Entrepreneurs to increase impact, sustainability and innovation in the African North, East and South Region. The SDC as the investor partner aims to contribute to poverty reduction in Southern, Eastern and Northern Africa by improving youth employment and employability, improve income and livelihood for families living in rural areas and small towns/villages, as well as improving access to food, healthcare, water and sanitation for populations living in these regions. These partners are calling for established social entrepreneurs/enterprises in South, East or North Africa to submit applications to be part of this project.

Eligibility criteria

The social entrepreneur/enterprise must:

  • Be legally registered in its country of operations.
  • Be based in South, East or North Africa.
  • Be built on a viable /sustainable business model, have a market-based approach.
  • Be looking to raise investment (angel, debt or equity).
  • Have at least 2 years of operations and of generating revenues.
  • Have the potential to scale and replicate in other settings or communities.
  • Have promise of substantial social impact through programs focussed on economic development, agriculture, nutrition, healthcare, education, as well as water and sanitation.
  • Have a team of minimum 5 people, with at least 2 English speaking persons who can dedicate time to the program.

Note: Quantifiable results and testimonies often help to demonstrate the potential for social impact of a project. (include)

Application process

• Applications open on 8 March 2018 and close on date is on 21 May 2018.
• Applications must be completed online, click here to complete your application form.
• The Consortium of partners with LeFil, VC4A and Ashoka seek the best ideas to accelerate and replicate innovations and sustainable models of social enterprises that have impact across South, East or North Africa.
• Applications will be screened against the Eligibility and Suitability Criteria.

Timeline Ashoka Accelerator

The projected timeline may be subject to change.

The program will be based on the Social Investment Toolkit with 8 modules to improve the social entrepreneurs’ impact as well as their economic and financial models:

1- Social change
2- Measuring impact
3- Business model
4- Scaling strategy
5- Financial model
6- Legal structure
7- Financing terms
8- Investment pitch

12 Finalists will receive the following

  • Finalists will participate in a two-day bootcamp in September 2018 in South Africa during which the first 4 modules of the toolkit will be addressed with all the social entrepreneurs, mentors, and experts.
  • An online mentoring program will approach the other 4 modules over the 4-month period after the Bootcamp. Each session (1 month = 1 module) will include a webinar with Mark Cheng, Ashoka Europe Director and Social Impact Investor, exercises to produce some slides (4-6) on each topic and collective Q&A. You will connect on a weekly basis with your mentors, who will provide feedback and advice. The outcome at the end of the online mentoring program is to produce a 30-40 slides deck (some slides will be produced during each module): the pitch deck will serve as a helpful tool for future pitch investment opportunities.
  • Join exclusive, online ‘peer’ calls, to network and exchange ideas with other shortlisted innovators and receive mentorship guidance from 3 selected professionals.
  • Have access to an exclusive network of Ashoka Fellows and partners.
  • Meet inspiring and innovative entrepreneurs.
  • The opportunity to pitch their business case to a panel of social impact investors during the closing event in February 2019.
  • Travel costs to the boot camp and the closing pitching event will be covered for the 12 selected entrepreneurs (travel costs for one (1) team member per organisation will be covered).


The project is supported by: Nestle, VC4A, Swiss Agency


May 24, 2018
Program dates Sep 1, 2018 - Feb 28, 2019
Organizer Ashoka
Website Visit website
Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Africa, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, United Republic of, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Sectors Agribusiness, Education, Healthcare, Water, sanitation and hygiene



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