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The Growth of Charities: Empowering Development through Enterprise-led Approaches

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the way charities approach development work in developing nations. Traditional charity models often focused on providing direct aid and resources, which, while helpful in the short term, often failed to create sustainable change. However, a new approach called enterprise-led development has emerged, which seeks to empower communities and decolonise aid by fostering entrepreneurship and self-reliance through partnership. This blog explores the growing trend of charities using enterprise-led development as a creative solution, by sharing compelling case studies from developing nations where organisations have adopted this approach to create sustainable long-term change for these communities.

Two ladies creating a strategy on a whiteboard

Below are some examples of Enterprise-led development that show how powerful it can be.

Grameen Bank logo

One prominent example of enterprise-led development is Grameen Bank, founded by Nobel laureate, Muhammad Yunus. Grameen Bank pioneered the concept of micro-credit, offering small loans to impoverished individuals to start their own businesses. By providing access to capital, financial literacy training, and mentorship, Grameen Bank enabled borrowers, primarily women, to launch enterprises and generate income. This approach not only lifted individuals out of poverty but also fostered economic growth within communities.

kick start logo

KickStart International is another charity leveraging enterprise-led development to empower individuals in developing nations. They design and manufacture low-cost irrigation pumps and equipment that small-scale farmers can use to increase their crop yields. By providing farmers with the tools and knowledge to become more productive, KickStart International enables them to create sustainable livelihoods and escape the cycle of poverty. The organisation's focus on entrepreneurship and innovation has resulted in thousands of successful businesses and transformed communities.

Case Study 3: BRAC (Bangladesh):

Brac logo

BRAC, one of the world's largest nonprofits, has adopted an integrated approach to enterprise-led development. They provide micro-finance services, healthcare, education, and livelihood programs to empower marginalised communities. BRAC's multi-dimensional approach addresses various aspects of poverty and inequality, fostering economic self-sufficiency through entrepreneurial initiatives. By supporting small businesses, training entrepreneurs, and facilitating market access, BRAC has helped millions of people lift themselves out of poverty in Bangladesh and other countries.

Case Study 4: Acumen (Global):

Acumen logo

Acumen, a global nonprofit venture fund, focuses on impact investing in enterprises that address social challenges. They invest patient capital in innovative business models across sectors such as healthcare, energy, and agriculture. By nurturing and supporting enterprises that create both financial and social returns, Acumen enables sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Their portfolio includes successful ventures like Ziqitza Health Care in India, which provides affordable ambulance services, and Husk Power Systems in Africa, delivering renewable energy solutions.


The growth of charities using enterprise-led development in developing nations is transforming the landscape of aid and development work. By focusing on empowering individuals through entrepreneurship, access to capital, and innovative solutions, these charities are fostering sustainable change and economic growth.

The case studies of Grameen Bank, KickStart International, BRAC, and Acumen demonstrate the tangible impact of this approach, lifting people out of poverty, creating jobs, and transforming communities. As the world continues to tackle complex global challenges, the adoption of enterprise-led development models by charities offers a promising pathway towards inclusive and self-sustaining development.

Want to explore this topic further? Get in touch with our team for a virtual coffee and a chat.


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