Due to COVID-19, Projections for Africa’s 2020 growth have fallen from 3.9% before the crisis to 0.4% or lower according to the World Bank. Several businesses are facing serious challenges, with the real threat being significant declines in revenue, insolvencies, and job losses — particularly for small and medium enterprises, or SMEs.

Acknowledging the reality that SMEs in Africa are vital drivers of economic growth and prosperity, ESP in partnership with USADF,  is offering a hand of support to 300 entrepreneurs. The support will come through a combination of coaching & technical assistance as well capital (zero-cost reimbursable loans) over a four-year period called the Africa Entrepreneur Resilience Initiative. The initiative is providing deserving enterprises with a chance to survive the devastating COVID19 blows while staying strong enough to continue with growth in a post-covid world.

Selection Criteria and Benefits


By identifying, engaging, and selecting enterprises that bridge the gap between positive revenue flow and impact, the initiative will be playing a significant role in recouping devastated economies, one enterprise after another. Keeping doors to African enterprises open goes beyond the continuation of the provision of the product or service in question, it guarantees jobs for a lot of employees that are at risk if adding to the already alarming unemployment rates across African borders.


Our first-ever cohort is comprised of 25 businesses from 7 countries, which are Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Senegal, and Ivory Coast. These businesses have the potential to impact over 125000 people and this is through job creation, working with farmers and other suppliers together with their households. The aim is to have 70% of the businesses female-owned.