Innovate the Future Program

HerStart’s Innovate the Future program propels sustainable economic development, entrepreneurship and social impact for women and their communities in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda.

Our goal is bold: Support 10,000 young women to become social entrepreneurs over the next 7 years.

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Social Entrepreneurs

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Canadian Fellows

$ M+
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Catalyst Fund

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Partners

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Years

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Countries

Advancing gender equality and social impact through entrepreneurship

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Driven by the power of global partners and passionate Canadian fellowship volunteers, the program puts the power of knowledge sharing into action so women can turn their business dreams into reality. Here's how HerStart’s program builds a more equitable and sustainable future that works for everyone:

  • Training young women in foundational entrepreneurship skills, financial management, personal leadership and social impact.
  • Incubating social enterprises to support growth and resilience including business development services, coaching and leadership training for entrepreneurs.
  • Investing through the HerStart Catalyst Fund to provide seed funding and business mentorship and help launch or scale businesses with measurable positive community impact.
  • Developing Ecosystems and a network of resources to support social entrepreneurs beyond the life of the program.
A young woman wearing a blue and gold dress, smiling at the camera while working on a laptop

Program elements that empower women

Training women entrepreneurs

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Over the course of the program, young people in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda participate in 3 levels of responsive social enterprise training and incubation.

Level 1:
Sparking Social Innovation

Designed for both aspiring and established entrepreneurs, this training teaches the building blocks of social entrepreneurship, including how to create and measure social and environmental impact.

Level 2:
Seed your Social Venture
Level 3:
Grow your Social Venture

Funding social enterprises for women

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Youth in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda that participate in HerStart’s social entrepreneurship training are eligible for seed funding and business mentorship through the HerStart Catalyst Fund. The Fund helps kickstart businesses as they scale up and boosts their ability to drive a more equal, climate-resilient and inclusive economy.

100% of contributions go towards accelerating youth-led social enterprises.

A young woman selling colourful pillows she made
A Canadian volunteer taking a selfie with two young women, all with big smiles on their faces in Tanzania

Connecting women entrepreneurs with skilled Canadians

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We invite experienced Canadians to put their skills into practice to create a more sustainable and equitable economy through HerStart’s international fellowships. Fellows take part in virtual volunteering or volunteer abroad placements where they connect with inspiring young people and global partners to build knowledge in many areas including gender equality, climate action, business development and more.

We’re looking for Canadians just like you...

Innovate the Future meets the Sustainable Development Goals

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At the center of HerStart’s Innovate the Future program are 3 pillars that align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, reflecting pressing issues that require resources and action.

Gender Transformative

Young women are at the centre of HerStart. We listen to their current realities, build opportunities and enabling environments that reshape gender norms, improve access to resources and promote leadership for gender-equal solutions.

Climate Resilience
Economic Inclusion

Our Partners

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Global collaborators

HerStart Innovate the Future program partners are champions for young women and social innovation in their countries. Through joint implementation, these collaborators enhance their gender transformative and environmentally sustainable programming.

Ghana
NORSAAC
YEFL Ghana!
Tanzania
Barefoot College Zanaibar
Zanzibar Technology & Business Incubator
Practical Permaculture Institute
Uganda
The Innovation Village
SINA

Delivery and design partners

YCI partners with some of the world’s leaders in social enterprise training, monitoring and evaluation, climate action, and tech innovation to support the design and execution of HerStart’s Innovate the Future program and incubation resources.

Funding Partners

YCI’s HerStart Innovate the Future and International Fellowship programs are funded through Global Affairs Canada’s Volunteer Cooperation Program, providing skilled Canadians opportunities to volunteer abroad overseas with global partners and advance Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

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