In Burundi, where more than half of the population is under the age of 18, Menya Accelerator presents an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to put forth innovative ideas and create income-generating ventures within their local communities. Actively leveraging entrepreneurship, technology, and mentorship, Menya Accelerator is committed to advancing education, leadership, and practical learning experiences, equipping the Burundian youth with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the 21st century.
Mentorship and Support for Young Entrepreneurs
Through its Entrepreneurship Program, Menya Accelerator promotes sustainable business growth and development by offering an array of support, including comprehensive training, mentorship, practical workshops, networking opportunities, and access to funding. This hands-on approach presents a learning environment that is both motivating and engaging while encouraging young entrepreneurs to learn proactive ways to turn their business ideas into a reality. “At Menya Accelerator, we want to create an ecosystem where young students can get the skills they need for their entrepreneurial goals but also have access to a community that will support them in the path towards achieving their objectives,” says founder Don De Dieu Iradukunda.
Last year, Menya Accelerator established the Menya Impact Fund to periodically distribute financial resources to young entrepreneurs looking to advance or scale their innovative startups. Each beneficiary is partnered with a mentor that provides support and helps establish achievable goals at every stage of their business journey. This approach ensures the funds drive substantial progress and impactful results in the long-run. The Menya Impact Fund was successfully launched with an initial grant from Global Partners for Development with its first four beneficiaries being Best Youth Vision, Tanga Healthcare, Siri Spices, and ARAD (Action for Regenerative Agriculture Development).
Best Youth Vision: Advancing Sustainable Fish Breeding Practices
Best Youth Vision, founded by Bartelemy Nzeyimane, is a fish breeding business in Bujumbura that promotes sustainable fish breeding practices as well as food security and employment opportunities in the area. The company also raises earthworms and black soldier flies to feed the fish being bred on-site. Barthelemy has become the country’s first person to advance this fish farming approach, training other local breeders in his community. As one of Menya Accelerator’s innovative startups, Barthelemy has already garnered support from other funders and with a financial boost from the Menya Impact Fund, he was able to complete the construction of a fully-equipped breeding facility to scale production. “Menya taught me the value of focus, emphasizing the importance of concentrating on one aspect while gradually expanding services and products,” says Barthelemy. “As a result, my venture specializing in selected fish fry has made significant strides, selling 10,000 fingerlings within its initial six months.”
Tanga Healthcare: Facilitating Healthcare Access in Rural Burundi
Burundi faces a number of challenges in the health sector where lack of access to healthcare is a recurring problem, especially when it comes to accessing specialist doctors. In response to this challenge in their community, Emmanuella Nivyumuremyi and Guy Olivier Nibimpa are collaborating to launch Tanga Healthcare, an innovative software that will facilitate booking appointments with specialist doctors in rural areas of Burundi. This mobile app will allow patients to book appointments avoiding unnecessary travel and long waiting times. With recent funding, Tanga Healthcare is on the verge of launching its minimal viable product that will help scale their business and seek further funding. “Menya Accelerator has helped us refine our business model, crafting a clear three-year revenue plan,” says Guy. “We have also secured a significant grant through the program, which marks a pivotal step in our journey.”
An Innovative Way to Preserve Organic Spices
Siri Spices has utilized its funding to develop 100% organic powdered spices, showcasing an innovative approach to food preservation and extending the shelf life of perishable vegetables. In addition, with the grant funds, they plan to construct facilities to support their food preservation methods and acquire equipment to begin production. This innovative startup is poised to introduce its minimal viable product to the market, highlighting its potential for sustainable growth and impact. “I was at the idea stage and Menya helped me put together a solid foundation for my firm and also necessary documentation to start on a professional note,” says Siri Spices founder Anniella Ingabire. “Menya connected me to investors and other people who are interested in my business and would like to help.”
Action for Regenerative Agriculture Development
ARAD is one of the leading youth-led egg producing farms in Burundi with a capacity of over 1300 organic eggs per day. Beyond the impact of producing highly nutritious eggs served in the underserved market of Burundi. ARAD is serving as an employer for Menya Accelerator youth looking for internships, jobs and also providing entrepreneurial opportunities by allowing them to be official egg traders in Burundi. The company is still young with inspiring expansion plans that aim at capturing 25% of Burundi’s egg market by 2029 while providing jobs to marginalized community members with women and youth at the center. With the grant funds, the company was able to build new chicken housing and upgrade the chicken feed to more organic feed. The fund also allowed the company to create a credit fund for street children who wanted to venture in the egg selling business in Burundi. This has provided employment to 26 former street children and is guaranteed sustainable revenue and better welfare.
Menya Accelerator’s Approach for Entrepreneurial Success
These innovative startups, among others supported by Menya Accelerator, highlight the transformative impact of East African-led grassroots initiatives and the impact of mentorship. The direct and indirect impacts of these projects are vast, ranging from job creation and skill development to sustainable solutions and innovative entrepreneurial ventures. When looking to the future, Menya Accelerator continues to focus on expanding its programs, impact, and reach through strategic partnerships like that of Global Partners for Development. By supporting innovation, skill development, and sustainable business practices, Menya Accelerator is not just shaping the future of individual entrepreneurs but is also contributing significantly to the economic development and resilience of Burundi.
The Impact of Community-Led Grassroots Initiatives
Global Partners launched its Grassroots Community-Led Development Fund to directly support grassroots organizations in East Africa. All organizations supported by the Fund are led by East Africans who are implementing sustainable, impactful, and innovative solutions to public health and educational challenges in their own communities, much like the young entrepreneurs at Menya Accelerator. These organizations understand the strengths and needs of the people they serve, and our goal is to help amplify and accelerate their impact. All organizations supported by the Fund are identified, vetted, and recommended for funding by our partners and staff in East Africa. GPFD believes local people have the right and the insight to drive change in their own communities, and the GCLD Fund enables them to strengthen and scale their work.
Learn more about the impact of GPFD’s Grassroots Community-Led Development Fund here!