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SOCAP11 Social Entrepreneur Spotlight: Elizabeth Dearborn Davis, Akilah Institute for Women (Rwanda)

SOCAP August 30, 2011

I am attending SOCAP to learn more about the connection between social enterprise and education, and different approaches for financing social ventures in the developing world. I founded the Akilah Institute for Women, a college in Kigali, Rwanda. We currently offer a Diploma in Hospitality Management, and will soon launch Degrees in Agricultural Sciences, and Entrepreneurship. We are preparing young women with leadership development, entrepreneurial skills, and confidence to find meaningful employment and launch ventures in the fastest growing sectors of the economy. Currently, 85% of Rwandan women work in subsistence agriculture. As one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, Rwanda has the opportunity to become a model of post-conflict reconstruction and strategic development.
The Rwandan government has provided a 90 acre campus for the site of the new Akilah campus. We are developing student-run social enterprises that will fund the operating expenses of the campus. This model of self-sufficient education is scalable, while also providing more opportunities for practical training and deepening the students’ experiences.
Meeting with individuals in the impact-investing space will provide the necessary connections and knowledge that Akilah can use to offer financing to Akilah entrepreneurs. I want to learn more about the available options and partnerships to launch campus social enterprises.

Impact Investing
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