History & Mission

To end extreme poverty in rural Africa through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Getting to Know Us

Village Enterprise is a leading-edge organization forged and nurtured in Silicon Valley that has lifted hundreds of thousands of rural Africans out of extreme poverty. Guided by technological and business acumen, Village Enterprise has refined a model that is scalable and adaptable. Since our inception, we have started more than 35,000 businesses, trained more than 145,000 entrepreneurs and improved the lives of more than 700,000 women, children and men. Village Enterprise is now poised to reach potentially millions more.

Our Story

2016 & Beyond
2010-15
Innovating for Impact

2015

Our grants-based ultra-poor Graduation program recognized by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and featured in New York Times.

IPANYT

2014

2014-Budget-Reaches-$2-mil

Organization receives its first four-star rating from Charity Navigator. 30,000 businesses started. Awarded first USAID grant through partnership with FHi360.

FHI360USAIDCharityNav

2013

Independent randomized controlled trial (RCT) begun in Uganda with BRAC. Village Enterprise recognized by Rockefeller Foundation as Next Century Innovator.

Rockefeller

2012

Mobile technology adopted and deployed for all monitoring and evaluation.

taroWorks

2011

2011-New-VE-Model

New Village Enterprise model launched to increase impact. New model includes rigorous targeting methodology, a one-year training program, and a savings program.

2010

2010-Dianne-joins-as-CEO

Dianne Calvi, first CEO hired and first five-year strategic plan developed. New branding and website completed. Name changed from Village Enterprise Fund to Village Enterprise.

2001-2009
Growing the Model

2009

2009-Jane-Goodall_Conservation

Collaboration in conservation launched, aligning our poverty alleviation work with the Jane Goodall Institute in Uganda.

2008

Village Enterprise trains the BOMA Project in its microenterprise model.

2007

2007-10,000-businesses-milestone

First impact study completed; 10,000 businesses started since inception.

2005

2005-Jessica-Jackley

KIVA Co-Founder Jessica Jackley launches Kiva after interning with Village Enterprise.

2001

Decision to focus efforts on East Africa. First paid staff hired in East Africa.

1987-2000
Founding Phase

Between 2015 and 2020, Village Enterprise will lift an additional 700,000 Africans out of extreme poverty.

“We all have the chance to create a world where extreme poverty is the exception rather than the rule, and where all children have the same chance to thrive, no matter where they’re born. For those of us who believe in the value of every human life, there isn’t any more inspiring work under way in the world today.”

Bill Gates

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