Green Entrepreneurship


To co-create an overall business support and promotion structure for social entrepreneurs who want to run economically sound businesses with a focus on social and/or environmental impact because they believe this is the path towards sustainable job and income creation and positive environmental change.


Middle East and North Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia


Since the industrial revolution, human activity has been responsible for large-scale environmental degradation and climatic change. Yet innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) run by passionate entrepreneurs who want to benefit society and the environment have great potential to make the necessary shift towards more sustainable production and consumption. Starting a sustainable social enterprise also makes young women and men more independent, creates new jobs and generates income. But while many policymakers, NGOs and investors agree on the importance and role of these enterprises, actual long-term support and opportunities for them remains patchy.


Hivos’ Green Entrepreneurship program invests in a systemic approach that includes close collaboration with government agencies, local incubators/coworking spaces, universities, business support organizations, financial institutions and investors. By doing so, we co-create a support network that can take socially and environmentally conscious entrepreneurs from the start-up phase to becoming sustainable and investable businesses with long-term impact. Our additional investment vehicles, Hivos Impact Investments and the Hivos Triodos Fund, provide finance to accelerate the growth of exceptional SMEs. This is how we prove the investment case that business with impact in emerging market countries is not a pipe dream.

Results so far

The program is in its initial phase, yet has already trained 25 local business support trainers, set up business support structures in Southern Africa and invested in a number of frontrunner SMEs, such as Lady Bonin, Green Fingers Mobile and L’Atelier du Miel.

Period and budget

2018-2020, €2.7 million in Southern Africa (other regions to be announced)

Partners; incubators/ coworking spaces; government agencies; financial Institutions and (impact) investors; universities and research institutions