The Empowering Entrepreneurship Initiative

The Empowering Entrepreneurship Initiative was created to provide direct support for entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Derived from a number of our portfolio products, the Empowering Entrepreneurship Initiative supports young, innovative businesses with a curated combination of mentoring, workshops, network building and funding.

In recent years, the German Development Cooperation has placed a special focus on supporting innovative businesses and startups in emerging and developing countries. After all, it is precisely these businesses that develop innovative solutions to local problems, create jobs, unlock potential for growth,  and ultimately become role models and pillars of their societies. The COVID-19 pandemic poses an acute threat to years of hard work to establish and grow these businesses due to its economic consequences, both in the short and long term.

Comprehensive relief programmes, such as stimulus packages that exist in the well established economies, often do not exist in emerging and developing countries. Subsequently, a fast and direct response is immediately needed to provide resources, mentoring and financial support for young, innovative entrepreneurs in emerging economies.

Based on existing support programmes in Germany and their adaptation to local contexts, founders and their businesses can be supported efficiently and effectively to help them sustain their business and grow through this challenging time. The Empowering Entrepreneurship Initiative will allow us to implement a modern solution to development cooperation — one that is focused on sustained economic growth.



The Empowering Entrepreneurship Initiative is launching with two programmes in 2020 that are designed to help young businesses cope with the economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total sum of nearly €3 million will be distributed directly to entrepreneurs in 6 countries to provide them with financial security while they focus on adapting their businesses to the unique struggles they have faced during the crisis.

Businesses will receive:

  • Individual mentoring sessions, adapted to their needs
  • Direct financial support (up to 9,000 Euros per business)
  • Expert workshops on crisis management, business development, leadership and growth
  • Access to our global network of +1000 startups, +300 mentors, experts and investors across five different continents

Apply now

#1 – COVID-19 Relief Programme180 teams of young, innovative businesses will be supported across ALL sectors.
Eligible Countries: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Jordan, Indonesia
Application period: 17 August 2020, 21:00
to 30 August 2020, 23:59 (Berlin time)

#2 – COVID-19 Relief Programme for Tourism150 teams of young, innovative businesses from the Travel & Tourism sector are supported in cooperation with the TUI Care Foundation.
Eligible Countries: Mexico, Jordan, Kenya, Indonesia
Application starts: 7 September 2020, 18:00 (Berlin time)

Interested to start further programmes in your region or sector?

While this programme specifically targets businesses in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Indonesia and Jordan, as well as businesses aligned with the tourism sector, there are many other countries and sectors that are likewise adversely affected by the pandemic. Additionally, notwithstanding the current crisis, many businesses around the world would still strongly benefit from the support provided within the Empowering Entrepreneurship Initiative. With this in mind, this partnership intends to launch more programmes within this initiative in the future.

Interested in collaborating with us on a similar support programme in your region or sector?

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