Limited places are available with VSO. Find out more >>
*If you have already been placed with Balloon ICS, your placement will continue as normal.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.