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Balloon Ventures ICS

UPDATE

We are currently unable to accept any new applications for Balloon ICS for 2018.*
Limited places are available with VSO. Find out more >>
Madame Harriet (right) dreamt of one day owning her own stationery shop. With the support of ICS volunteers, she developed her business plan and attracted more customers to her shop. Her business is now busier than ever
© ICS / Catherine Nyaumwe Munyarari
Madame Harriet (right) dreamt of one day owning her own stationery shop. With the support of ICS volunteers, she developed her business plan and attracted more customers to her shop. Her business is now busier than ever

*If you have already been placed with Balloon ICS, your placement will continue as normal. 

Our programme

Balloon ICS is a unique opportunity to use the latest in start-up enterprise thinking to help grow and develop micro businesses in Africa.

Our volunteers work with African entrepreneurs, helping them turn their business ideas into business reality.

Balloon ICS teams are taught our enterprise curriculum before getting stuck in, working with micro entrepreneurs to imagine, test and develop ideas that challenge the status quo.

In the past 12 months we have invested more than £60,000 in 262 businesses ranging from coffee carts to hair salons; from organic energy drinks to innovative advertising businesses.

We’re an award-winning social enterprise working with inspirational entrepreneurs in the exciting and important informal sector.

Are you ready to apply?
As a Balloon ICS volunteer, you could be working with entrepreneurs like Desmond, whose innovative organic energy drink, Maloni, is providing a brighter future for his family
© Balloon Ventures / Zedmill
As a Balloon ICS volunteer, you could be working with entrepreneurs like Desmond, whose innovative organic energy drink, Maloni, is providing a brighter future for his family

Destination countries

With Balloon Ventures ICS, you could go to:

How does supporting businesses lead to sustainable development?

At Balloon, we believe that entrepreneurs will end poverty. In the countries where we work, the informal sector is the fastest growing economic area and is the major creator of jobs and growth, accounting for nearly 70% of total employment.

However, due to strict loan terms and high interest rates, micro-entrepreneurs receive little support to grow their businesses from tiny, small-scale operations into SMEs with 10 or more employees.

The potential for growth and success is high, but intensive support and entrepreneurship training is often required to take these businesses to the next level.

The entrepreneurs we work with aren’t just self-interested businesspeople. They are change-makers with community impact in mind. Against the odds, they’re creating jobs and servicing their communities.

Meet four of our inspirational entrepreneurs:

Find out the stories behind Balloon's work in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda

How can you help?

We aren’t only looking for business graduates, or people with a background in business. In our experience, diverse teams have the greatest impact, so we’re looking for young people with different skills and ideas to create an environment where innovation can flourish.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a hairdresser, a fine art grad, or a budding entrepreneur looking to set up your own startup – you have a valuable contribution to make with Balloon ICS.

We’re looking for people who are motivated, keen to learn, and committed to building strong relationships forged from mutual respect and understanding. Our training will help develop your skills and give you the confidence to apply them in a business setting.

We're not only looking for business graduates. Volunteers from all walks of life are needed with Balloon
© ICS / Balloon / Stephen Nderitu
We're not only looking for business graduates. Volunteers from all walks of life are needed with Balloon
Balloon provides a golden opportunity to learn by living in a different community and understanding the causes and remedies of poverty first-hand. It is a chance to share views about global issues and gain experience needed for the competitive world.
Mutai Kipkoech
ICV, Nakuru, Kenya, 2014
Mutai Kipochech

Our programme not only provides entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and ideas to imagine new businesses, but we also run an investment fund which makes sure we can support those entrepreneurs who are ready to take their business to the next level.

You’ll have the chance to help your entrepreneurs prepare for a competitive pitch for this funding, and 50% will receive the funds required to implement their ideas. And that's all during your 12 weeks in country.

Read how Shammi helped one entrepreneur significantly increase his income – despite the odds.

How does it feel to live and work in East and West Africa?

It’s an almost impossible question to answer, but you can read about the experiences of those who have gone before you on our blog.

Read Chelley's reflections from her ICS placement in Kericho.

Apply now

If you’re ready for the challenge, fill in the online application form and select Balloon Ventures from the list of agencies you want to volunteer with.

If you'd like to find out more before you apply you can call us on +44 (0)20 8780 7400 or click here to find out more about the next steps.

Apply now