ICS Entrepreneur is a UK government funded programme that tackles poverty in some of the world’s poorest communities by supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses in developing countries. It’s led by VSO in partnership with Balloon Ventures, Challenges Worldwide and Raleigh.
Unemployment is a key challenge facing young people around the world and tackling that challenge can boost economic growth in some of the places that need it most. To do this ICS Entrepreneur teams young volunteers from the UK with local volunteers from developing countries, putting their skills and creativity into practice supporting emerging businesses.
In a recent survey of our volunteers, 98% said that they would recommend ICS to develop skills for employment.
Whether you’re a recent graduate, someone looking for a career break or just interested in volunteering overseas, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference while adding skills to your CV that are highly valued by employers.
97% of volunteers compared ICS favourably with other opportunities for skills development such as work experience, apprenticeships and internships.
What’s different about ICS Entrepreneur?
In many ways an ICS Entrepreneur placement is the same as an ICS placement. UK volunteers work side by side with local volunteers and spend 10-12 weeks with partner organisations in some of the world’s poorest communities. ICS Entrepreneur volunteers support these communities by working with local entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. You don’t need a degree in business or to have started your own company as you’ll learn new skills during your training that you can put into practice and pass on to others. You’ll be able to use your new skills back in the UK too.
“The training I've received has given me a whole new set of skills and practical experience to pass on to others that will be beneficial for my future as well as theirs.” Jamie, ICS Entrepreneur volunteer in Kenya
Why choose ICS Entrepreneur?
In an increasingly global market ICS Entrepreneur is your chance to demonstrate your ability to innovate and work in a challenging environment to future employers. You’ll experience an unfamiliar culture while working with inspiring people and changing lives. In return for your effort you’ll come back to the UK with an experience that will really make you stand out in the job market and could even shape your career choices.
74% of volunteers regarded ICS as the exclusive or main reason they chose their career.
All UK-based 18 to 25-year-olds are welcome to apply, regardless of background, qualifications, disability and work history. So if you’re up for a challenge and willing to work hard, find out if you can take part.
ICS aims to provide a life-enhancing opportunity to as many people as possible, so if you have already volunteered on ICS you are not eligible to apply for ICS Entrepreneur. However, returned ICS volunteers with leadership experience and motivational skills can apply for team leader roles using the standard application form.