Empowering Burundian Youth: Menya Accelerator’s Experience and Vision for the Future

grassroots movement

Menya Accelerator‘s mission is to equip Burundi’s young entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge, and opportunities essential for success. With more than half of Burundi’s population under the age of 18 and facing limited academic prospects and unimpeded educational pathways, Menya Accelerator’s mission is more important than ever. Don de Dieu Iradukunda, the founder, says, “We are creating an ecosystem where young people can gain the skills and resources, they need to achieve their entrepreneurial goals, as well as access to a supportive community.”

In the summer of 2022, Menya Accelerator launched its pilot programs in partnership with Global Partners for Development with a group of 20 students from a variety of backgrounds, including high school, college and young entrepreneurs. The intensive six-week program provided participants with valuable entrepreneurial leadership knowledge, hands-on experience, and the basics of securing investment funding and academic opportunities. Let’s explore the incredible accomplishments of Menya Accelerator’s programs so far.

Entrepreneurial Leadership Program: Fueling Business Success

Menya Accelerator has already helped three students successfully create their businesses: one in fish farming, one in developing Burundi’s first digital healthcare app, and the third, an artist who reuses waste materials to make art products. The fish farming entrepreneur has become the country’s unicorn trainer and has secured more than $10,000 in seed funding through a government program. This remarkable success illustrates the program’s transformative impact on young entrepreneurs, contributing to Burundi’s economic development by equipping them with vital skills and knowledge.

Opportunity and Mentoring Program: Unlocking Academic and Professional Success

Six Menya Accelerator students have achieved prestigious academic and professional positions. Collectively, three have been accepted into international universities with scholarships totaling approximately $50,000 per year. Another student was selected for the Yale Young Global Scholars program and will travel to Connecticut this summer. In addition, two students have secured internships at Burundi’s leading oncology center and a leading law firm. These accomplishments underscore Menya Accelerator’s unwavering dedication to helping students succeed, with their invaluable community of mentors playing a crucial role in achieving these goals. In addition, Menya Accelerator has become a sought-after destination for young Burundian graduates seeking full- and part-time opportunities through its internship program, which has hosted 10 interns over the past year. This initiative helps build the capacity of young professionals while attracting Burundian talent eager to give back to their community.

Planning for the Future: Expanding access to resources and opportunities

Menya Accelerator plans to launch comprehensive e-learning resources in the coming months to help youth pursue entrepreneurial ventures and access quality educational opportunities. It plans to collaborate with organizations such as MeToo, a leading platform that connects high-performing African students with top academic opportunities. By providing learners with access to valuable resources and opportunities regardless of their location, Menya Accelerator aspires to reach a wider audience and have a more significant impact on Burundi’s economic development.

Advancing Educational Opportunities: A Commitment to Empowering Burundian Youth

Menya Accelerator is extremely proud of the accomplishments of its learners and remains committed to providing Burundi’s young entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed. They are unwavering in their mission to empower youth to become community leaders and contribute positively to the world. With the upcoming launch of online resources and strategic partnerships, Menya Accelerator looks forward to the limitless potential of their program’s future.

Learn more about GPFD’s grassroots initiatives and our Grassroots Community-Led Development Fund here!

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