What attracted you to the Kakuma/Kalobeyei area? Why did you choose to apply for the KKCF funding?

AEC Kenya is a subsidiary of African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC), a US non-profit organisation, supporting micro and small businesses, including refugee-owned enterprises, with business development services, access to finance, market linkages and supply chain integration to thriving communities across East Africa.

Since launching in Rwanda in 2012, AEC has supported more than 29,000 refugee/host entrepreneurs across East Africa. Our success in Rwanda demonstrates that when refugee and host entrepreneurs have access to relevant business development services, tools and affordable finance, they will not only live more independently, but they will also contribute significantly to their refugee and host communities.

With over 200,000 refugees across Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement, and having recognised Kakuma as a marketplace inspired and informed by research, including the 2018 IFC report and AEC scoping visits, we knew that Kakuma/Kalobeyei would be next on our expansion list after proving that our refugee entrepreneurship programme model works in Rwanda.

In 2019, AEC expanded the refugee entrepreneurship programme from Rwanda to Kakuma/Kalobeyei, and since then, we have worked with 3,382 entrepreneurs (58% women) in Kakuma/Kalobeyei; opening up more expansion opportunities to scale our impact across Kenya, including Dadaab Refugee Complex, Mombasa as well as in Ethiopia.

Finally, the KKCF funding opportunity aligns perfectly with our vision for impact and growth in refugee communities, specifically in Kakuma/Kalobeyei, as well as with our proven business model.