Our Social Impact Incubator (SII) was launched in 2013 after we observed the highly fragmented civil society in small countries such as Burundi and Malawi. Donors were not investing in social innovation because of it.
Our solution? If we could identify and nurture local champions, perhaps we could create an alternative sector, build our own portfolio, and influence other partners, funders, and investors to create tailor-made, viable support systems for young social entrepreneurs.
Through SII, we aim to create an environment for innovators to amplify and grow their impact, by providing tools, building networks, and connecting them to investment. SII is built to transform organizations at three levels: individual, organizational, and ecosystem. We believe that supporting visionary leaders builds strong and stable organizations that create a more cohesive ecosystem for young social entrepreneurs to be successful.
How we do it:
- Seven months of in-class training to support system strengthening
- Individualized coaching and mentoring to address organizational and leadership needs
- Convening investors, donors, and other community members throughout the year
Between 2013 and 2015, we witnessed great success of the program—over 60 local organizations participated in SII-Burundi. The incubator resulted in multiple new partnerships for SFF and funders invested nearly $2 million in our SII Champions.
SII-Malawi launched in 2016, building on the successes and lessons learned from Burundi. Since then, dozens of organizations have graduated the program and it is now in its sixth cohort.
SII-Rwanda launched in 2019. The program has been tailored to fit the local context and focuses both on NGOs and social enterprises. As of 2021, SII-Rwanda is also working with Champions based in Burundi and Eastern DRC.
SII-Tanzania launched in 2021, working with NGOs, CBOs, and social enterprises across 10 regions of the country.
Powering the Changing Faces of Leadership (2021)
Medium: In Times of Crisis and Beyond, Local Leaders Are the Ones We Need (2020)
The New Times: Rwandan startups tipped on innovation (2019)
CNBC: Segal Family Foundation launches innovation incubator to nurture Africa’s young inventors (2019)
HuffPost: Social Impact Incubator: Disrupting the Status Quo in Malawi (2017)
How Matters: Is there a better way for indigenous and international NGOs to work together? (2015)
GrantCraft: Discovering Best Practices Through Reflection (2015)
GrantCraft: The Social Impact Incubator (2015)
HuffPost: Social Impact Incubator Promotes Local Innovation in Burundi (2014)