AFRILINK is a non-profit organization operating a network of “Enterprise Accelerators” in Africa, with resources from local businesses, individuals, communities and, the United States.
We provide young entrepreneurs who have started viable businesses – with social impact potential – access to mentorship, training, and finance.
AFRILINK selects men and women, aged 18-35, with enterprises in the most promising sectors, such as green-technology, healthcare, services, agriculture, and IT; that have the potential to double in size with regard to employees and revenues.
We offer them a chance to grow their businesses, and create employment that improves the landscape of their economies.
AFRLINK partners with universities, businesses, local governments, NGOs and community groups in both Africa and the United States. We especially partner with organizations that fight youth unemployment and poverty.
As part of our accelerator program, we match experienced mentors from US, Africa and other parts of the world with entrepreneurs, in a 2-year commitment of coaching and support. Mentors and mentees build strong friendships that promote knowledge of their families, cultures, and countries.
We also are looking to match volunteers with technical expertise in areas such as finance, marketing, etc., to provide shorter-term consulting to entrepreneurs in our accelerators.
Business Skills Training
Through on-the-ground research in Nairobi, we have identified lack of access to selected business skills, policymakers, and technical experts as three major factors limiting the expansion of small businesses (which we define as having 1-5 employees, and current providing goods or services). ARILINK has partnered with global and local pools of expertise to meet this need, through accelerator facilities. We provide foundational training that focuses on capabilities such as cash-flow management, product development, legal compliance, marketing, strategy, and other skills.
In addition to access to networks and skills, the major factor limiting the doubling-rate of small businesses in Africa is access to working capital. Upon screening and vetting of their businesses, and admission to the accelerator, entrepreneurs can expect an infusion of “patient capital” – affordable working credit, and bridge-equity investment, in return for a small ownership stake. As first steps, we are looking to partner with local banks and VC funders to offer subsided loans to our pre-screened and supported entrepreneurs.
Accelerators are facilities and meeting hubs for entrepreneurs. Our first facility is selected to be in Nairobi, Kenya. At our accelerator, selected and accepted entrepreneurs receive an intensive 6-month exposure to business skills training taught by experts, one-on-one mentorship (in-person or online, which continues for 2 years), access to technical advisors, and a supportive growth-focused environment.