Together for Innovation: 20 entrepreneurship programs go digital in response to Covid-19

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We’re Bridge for Billions, a digital network of  entrepreneurship programs on a mission to democratize access to training and mentoring on a global level. We decided that entrepreneurship could not stop at the hands of Covid-19. We need innovative solutions now more than ever and entrepreneurs need our support to create them. So, we looked to our purpose and used our online program as a catalyst for innovation during the pandemic by open sourcing our platform free of charge to other entrepreneurship programs around the globe.

Together for Innovation: Purpose-driven Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs look for support via mentoring and educational resources, usually centred in incubators, accelerators, communities, innovation hubs or universities and business schools. In the face of a global lockdown and social distancing restrictions, these resources were impossible to maintain, condemning thousands of entrepreneurship programs to end or rely on meeting tools and forums to communicate with their teams without any previous preparation.

To solve this problem, we  teamed up with 20 of the most innovative, resilient and cutting-edge  entrepreneurship programs in the world as a short term response to the pandemic.  Through this initiative, as a united group of purpose-driven ecosystem players, we aim to ensure ongoing support for purpose-driven entrepreneurs and innovation so we can build a better world post Covid-19.

These leaders are at the forefront of purpose-driven entrepreneurship education, collaborating with Bridge for Billions to  provide entrepreneurs with an online platform to develop their business. Their courage and adaptability in times of crisis has allowed them to continue to support the global entrepreneur community despite restrictions caused by the pandemic. 

Through their quick reaction to the crisis, together we have already supported over 370 Entrepreneurs across 240 startups, spread throughout 5 world regions and 13 countries. This shows us that collaboration and purpose are indeed the key to unlocking a fairer, more resilient and more sustainable society post Covid-19.

To download the infographic of the program’s impact, click here: 

entrepreneurship

Learn More about our Partners:

We have been working with some of the most innovative businesses across the world to ensure entrepreneurs have the resources they need to move forward with their ideas. From a focus on fashion and education to sustainability and technology, each partner is a leader in their field, pushing the boundaries of innovation despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Centers of Academic Excellence: training the new generation to be job creators instead of job seekers

Loyola University in  Andalucía, Spain, has the mission to generate thought for the better and greater service of humanity, to educate students committed to the problems of the world, and to make all its activity a place of meaningful dialogue where people of different cultures, beliefs and ideologies can live an inspired life, promoting the creation of knowledge about the needs and problems of today’s world. They teamed up with Bridge for their Bridge Loyola program to continue to achieve their mission through an online format.

The University of Vigo  in Spain is a rigorous, transparent and inclusive academic leader, committed to diversity and gender equality, respect for the environment and environmental sustainability. With the transfer of knowledge and training at its core, the university strives for the scientific and cultural development for the betterment of society. In response to Covid-19, they are collaborating with Bridge to provide entrepreneurship education online. So far, they have incubated 15 projects, supporting 41 entrepreneurs.  

Geneva Business School is a  21st-century Swiss education institution contributing to a sustainable society with campuses in Geneva, Madrid and Barcelona. As part of their mission, they strive to ensure student success along with Swiss education academic excellence by engaging with local and international partners through mentoring, internships, research, company placements and transfers. This time, they have partnered with Bridge for Billions to provide entrepreneurship training and mentoring to their students during the Covid-19 period, supporting 45 entrepreneurs across 14 projects.

KIIT-Technology Business Incubator in India has a serious  commitment to combating the tragic impacts of covid-19, promoting startups with innovation to solve key challenges from the pandemia. To do this, they have started the Technology startups for good initiative to encourage  purpose-driven innovation and bring support to entrepreneurs during the covid-19 outbreak. The entrepreneurs are working on tech-led or enabled projects with solutions for problems in the Healthtech, Medtech, AI, IoT, AR/VR, Cleantech and Agritech, with 17 projects supported to date.

Entrepreneurial programs: Providing leading entrepreneurship support as incubators, accelerators, foundations or public initiatives

Europe

The Rural Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (ERESS) in Benlloc, Spain,  is teaming up with Bridge for Billions to  launch a 100% digital, free incubation programme. ERESS is a space for learning and understanding  in a collective way and building knowledge through doing. They are driving rural innovation forward through supporting the creation of social enterprises that provide innovative solutions to the real needs of the rural environment.

EspacioRES  in Spain believes that entrepreneurship is a platform  to change the world, no matter where you are, you can do it today.  They launched  a digital incubation program in collaboration for Bridge for Billions called #Dareyourself  for entrepreneurs who consider that this is their moment to contribute to society, their moment to make their project a reality and make their idea blossom. So far they have supported 7 startups.

The Social Innovation Center La Noria in Málaga, Spain, teamed up with Bridge and the  Press Association of Malaga for ‘Communication in startups’ for social organizations and entrepreneurs. This course has the main goal of providing  training in the acquisition of skills, knowledge and abilities for the communication planning of entrepreneurial projects; as well as the use of strategies, channels and communication tools such as social networks, press releases or web pages, among others.

The Office of Digital Transformation in Castilla La Mancha, Spain,  led by the Association of Industrial Engineers and located at the headquarters of the Official College of Industrial Engineers of Ciudad Real,  launched an innovative virtual incubation program to support digital entrepreneurship and business creation, in collaboration with Bridge for Billions. The office itself aims to facilitate the digital transformation process, improve the use, quality and access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and to promote the adaptation of SMEs to new environments through a better use of ICT focused on the digital economy.

Casa do Impacto in Lisbon, Portugal, seeks to create a meaningful  social impact on a national level. They have created an organization with social entrepreneurship at its core to help build a more inclusive and sustainable society. They have teamed up with Bridge to look for tech startups with solutions to fight the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak in the elder population through the Santa Casa Challenge.

LATAM

Yunus Environment Hub is based in Germany but has recently been supporting developing projects in Columbia in order to accelerate the transformation towards a Circular Economy and to tackle environmental issues such as plastic pollution, deforestation or the emission of greenhouse gases through Social Business, initiated by The Grameen Creative Lab. The Yunus Environment Hub is an initiative to raise awareness for the urgency to act upon the environmental crisis and to support the creation of Social Businesses that address environmental issues. Their program seeks to support entrepreneurs who generate a positive impact on the environment and/or facilitate spaces for inclusion and economic development with their ventures. They have teamed up with Bridge to continue to do this in the online space so far supporting 17 startups and 40 entrepreneurs.

Climate Launchpad in Colombia believes that the future is green, but to get there massive amounts of green, sustainable ideas need to be put into action and starting a business is the most powerful way of doing that. They support entrepreneurs through a competition format, and are now teaming up with Bridge to allow the 22 projects selected as finalists in their most recent competition to continue to develop their ideas online.

Impact Hub Managua in Nicaragua is helping local organizations by giving them tools to overcome the negative impacts of the pandemia in their businesses through their incubation program PIE in collaboration with Bridge for Billions, providing these businesses  with the  resources to innovate with agility. With this program they’re looking to give the right support to support the latest  innovation from new startups or existing businesses. So far they have supported 27 startups.

Africa

Botswana Innovation Hub aims to  offer a unique platform for scientific, technological and indigenous knowledge-based innovation. Now it is teaming up with Bridge for Billions to achieve that mission online as well. They are moving at full power to increase technology entrepreneurship development to boost national competitiveness, and have so far onboarded 37 Start-ups on their 2 month, online programme in order to maintain support despite lockdown or restricted movements.

RecycleUP! Ghana is an incubator with a difference. They believe that if every citizen, every organization and every country tries hard enough to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste, a world free of waste is possible. Their aim is to contribute to the creation of a robust circular economy in Ghana where all resources are effectively used to maximize impact thereby avoiding waste. To support this mission, they have teamed up with Bridge for Billions to support social circular economy entrepreneurs build their projects,  they have already supported 7 startups.

MDF West Africa is supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs in green businesses in the Ashanti and Western regions of Ghana despite Covid-19. Working with partners SNV, Kumasi Hive, I-Code and financed by the European Union, they are boosting green employment and enterprise opportunities in Ghana through the GrEEn Project aiming to  deliver vital incubation and acceleration services to support green start-ups using our online incubation platform. They are focusing on Start-ups in the agriculture, energy or Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sectors in the Ashanti and Western regions and  22 startups have already joined the program.

The Gambia Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) a project by the International Trade Centre, addresses the economic root causes of irregular migration by supporting youth employment and entrepreneurship in Gambia. To address the challenges of COVID 19, YEP partnered with KMC Mayor, Bridge for Billions and other partners to sponsor solutions that can help overcome the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the KMC Mayor  including Market distortions and closure of non- essential shops; Reduction in public transportation revenue due to less passenger allowed and Learning disruptions due to closure of schools. They  have already supported 4 startups through the project. 

Kinaya Ventures in Senegal is an open Innovation based platform which connects promising startups to large corporations and investors in Sub Saharan Africa. Kinaya Ventures’ mission beyond connecting the dots between startups, corporates and investors, is to upskill entrepreneurs and help them scale. Kinaya Ventures’ ambition is to act as a digital ecosystem enabler in Francophone Africa and beyond. Now, Kinaya Ventures has partnered with Bridge for Billions to continue supporting entrepreneurs through an online accelerator program in which they have already welcomed 17 startups.

The Assembly Hub in Nigeria, is supporting innovation for fashion entrepreneurs &  creative talent in Africa by delivering training, mentoring, networking, online resources, recruitment and consulting for the creative and fashion industry. They support fashion creatives, entrepreneurs and professionals with the resources they need to grow and experience, to bond and become.To help them continue to do this, even through the covid-19 crisis, they have teamed up with Bridge for billions to take their training online and have already enrolled 30 startups.

Westerwelle Haus in Rwanda empowers entrepreneurs in East Africa to build successful ventures which result in more job creation and boosting economic growth in the region. The Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali offers a unique mix of services; co-working space, networking events, private offices, maker-space, advisory services and international networking opportunities to local entrepreneurs with the goal is to create an entrepreneurial hub for the community to exchange ideas and develop their business plan. They have partnered with Bridge to continue to achieve this goal through the pandemic by using our online incubation platform as a training resource, so far supporting 48 entrepreneurs across 20 startups.

North America

NBA Cares, USA, is a religious organization that has an innovative incubation program to support social entrepreneurs. The goal of this initiative is to support and empower new Disciple-related health and social service organizations, projects, and ministries to focus on their growth, strengthen their impact, and work towards sustainability. From their collaboration with Bridge, they are now taking their program online to support entrepreneurs at this time. They have incubated 2 startups so far.

Are you a mentor, entrepreneur or ecosystem builder? Click here to learn more about how you too can be a part of Bridge for Billions. 

Phoebe Smith

Phoebe Smith

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