USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures Grants $6.5M to Support Entrepreneurship in Rwanda


Village Enterprise, a nonprofit working to end extreme poverty in rural Africa, has received a $6.5 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development’s Development Innovation Ventures (USAID DIV) program.

This is DIV’s second largest grant ever and their largest in over a decade. It will support Village Enterprise in scaling their proven poverty graduation model across Rwanda.

The Grant Will Reach 30,000+ Households

The USAID DIV funding will allow Village Enterprise to provide critical resources, training, and skills to over 30,000 Rwandan households living in extreme poverty.

Village Enterprise will support them in launching and running their own small businesses, which range from retail shops to bicycle repair ventures.

Entrepreneurs receive intensive mentoring and business/financial literacy training throughout the year-long program. This empowers vulnerable groups like women, refugees, and youth to build sustainable livelihoods.

Partnership with Rwandan Government to End Extreme Poverty

A key component of the grant is equipping the Rwandan government to deliver the poverty graduation model independently. Village Enterprise will provide training to government workers on implementing the program.

They will also set up a management information system for the government to track progress on its own as it continues scaling up.

The partnership is part of Rwanda’s National Strategy for Sustainable Graduation, which aims to eliminate extreme poverty nationwide by 2030.

Catalyzing $28 Million in Additional Investment

USAID's Development Innovation Ventures - Entrepreneurship in Rwanda

Beyond the $6.5 million grant, Village Enterprise will work with the Rwandan government to leverage an additional $28 million in funding.

This will move over 1 million people out of extreme poverty by 2027.

If successful, the model could serve as a blueprint for other African nations also seeking to eradicate extreme poverty.

Quotes on the Transformative Potential

“This grant and partnership have the potential to help end extreme poverty in Rwanda—they can serve as the blueprint for other African governments looking to end extreme poverty.” – Village Enterprise CEO Dianne Calvi

Village Enterprise CEO Dianne Calvi

“Our poverty graduation model has a proven record of success. With thanks to USAID, we can roll-out our program in Rwanda to foster more entrepreneurship, innovation, and collective action.” – Sylvere Mwizerwa, Rwanda Country Manager at Village Enterprise

Sylvere Mwizerwa, Rwanda Country Manager at Village Enterprise

About Village Enterprise’s Mission

Village Enterprise aims to end extreme poverty in rural Africa through entrepreneurship, innovation, and collective action. They equip vulnerable groups with skills and resources to launch businesses and build sustainable livelihoods.

To date, Village Enterprise has supported over 80,000 new businesses, trained 274,000 first-time entrepreneurs, and positively impacted over 1.6 million lives across Africa.

The Significance of This USAID Grant

With this $6.5 million in funding from USAID’s DIV program, Village Enterprise can rapidly expand its proven model for graduating households out of extreme poverty across Rwanda.

By tapping into entrepreneurship and supporting new business creation, they are empowering individuals to lift themselves out of poverty. The grant signals exciting progress in combating extreme poverty in Africa.



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