Be the Change Academy

The Be the Change Academy (BTCA) provides free business training and supports enterprise creation through one-on-one Business Plan Clinics. It funds the best of them through its own Revolving Loan Fund and offers business incubation and differential mentorship to each funded youth-led  business start-up to ensure their success.

Our plan is to open more BTCAs, in Liberia to train, over 5 years, 4000 young women from disadvantaged backgrounds to start small enterprises or seek self-employment and improve the quality of their lives. The project seeks to develop a low-cost, scalable BTCA model that could be easily replicated and annexed to every High School in the country, transforming the Education system to enable the economic participation of young women by supporting them to create their own profitable enterprises. Developed in India (and named after Gandhi’s great call to self-reliance: “you must be the change you want to see in the world) – the BTCA is designed by youth for youth.  We have decided to focus on a female-only BTCA – chiefly because young women have the greatest need, and also because they have proved to be more reliable loan-repayments than men. Pilot-tested in Kisumu, Kenya, the BTCA model has proved popular amongst young women, immensely cost-effective, successful at improving existing businesses and a beneficial stimulus to local economies.

The BTCA provides free business training to young women between 15 and 35 years old and living in informal settlements. Some will already be self-employed or be running a small business in the informal economy. The price of admission to the BTCA is the seed of a business idea. Each young trainee must demonstrate that they want to be an entrepreneur – and that they have thought through some kind of business idea. Further, they must commit their time to the training.

The key to the BTCA is that it is youth-run by energetic local and international volunteers supervised by an experienced local manager and finance officer. This makes the BTCA extremely youth-friendly – welcoming and un-intimidating to young women living at disadvantage.

SUBMIT YOUR IDEA (BTCA Application form)

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