Recently, Orange Corners of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency published its first Orange Corners Progress Report, covering the first four years of the OC programme (2016-2020). The success of the first OC incubation programme in South-Africa in 2016 has paved the way for the OC programmes in 15 local hubs within 13 countries in 2020, with 720+ trained entrepreneurs, 1660+ jobs supported, and 50+ private partnerships created to date. The report captures the lessons drawn from our past achievements, beneficial to setting long-term goals and achieving sustainable growth. These are the key takeaways.
OUR PROGRESS TO DATE
The Orange Corners HQ Team, our local Service Providers (incubators), entrepreneurs, private partners, stakeholders are immensely proud of the impact we have realised over the past four years. As a global initiative with local and regional impact, our aim is to encourage structural, systemic change that enables young entrepreneurs to turn ideas into sustainable and scalable businesses. Through the creation of businesses, young entrepreneurs subsequently bolster local economies and create a stimulating environment for youth employment.
Since Orange Corners’ launch in 2016, we have supported the creation of multiple businesses, which led to the creation of 1661 jobs, 336 new products and services that have entered local markets and organised 1045 masterclasses! Programmes as Orange Corners are tremendously important to further enhance entrepreneurial skills and boost competencies. Together, we are confident that we can overcome any challenges that come our way, while continuously supporting new business ideas and fostering entrepreneurial mindsets.
COLLABORATION IS KEY
Partnerships are the defining factor behind the success of our ecosystem approach. We actively attempt to include and connect each stakeholder involved, including governments, businesses, knowledge and financial institutes. Our network and community outreach are some of our strongest assets. We currently have more than 77.000 direct followers on our social media channels and access to 520.000 followers indirectly through the channels of our local service providers, who are of utmost importance for Orange Corners. They are best placed to understand the dynamics of the local context and to support the local start-ups in their implementation of the programme at all respective OC locations.
To facilitate entrepreneurial best practices and address shared challenges, a Community of Practice is currently being built together with Orange Corners’ local teams of Service Providers. Similar community groups will be created for current Orange Corners entrepreneurs and alumni. These learning communities are promising opportunities to increase Orange Corners’ impact and to forge entrepreneurial collaborations regionally and globally.
OC envisions a world in which every young adult can grasp the opportunity to develop skills and businesses to build a future. Female entrepreneurs cannot be left behind, currently accounting for 42% of the total of entrepreneurs we currently support. We strive for a minimum of 50% female participation in all programmes and we are working on incorporating gender sensitivity in all parts of our programme. One example of this is the PowHER programme. This programme is aimed at empowering women to become successful entrepreneurs by empowering and encouraging women to participate in our programmes. It serves a pre-programme to our incubation programme, in order to identify and tackle barriers women face when venturing into entrepreneurship.
In 2019, OC launched an supplementary access to finance programme known as the Orange Corners Innovation Fund (OCIF). OCIF actively stimulates innovation and provides seed capital and funding to Orange Corners entrepreneurs in six different countries. This year we will expand to nine different locations! Looking ahead, we hope to build upon the positive developments stemming from the creation of the OCIF. Furthermore, we wish to enhance a wide set of Dutch foreign policy themes, such as agriculture, female empowerment, and sustainable and social business models within our programmes. Our entrepreneurial journey to support the ecosystems of Africa and the Middle East has only just began!
Want to learn more? You can find the full report here.