Business Acceleration

For genuine economic development to happen, entrepreneurship is vital. Through our ‘acceleration’ schemes we give women entrepreneurs the tools and support they need to expand their businesses, reach larger markets, become more resilient, and create jobs within their communities.

Tackling poverty at scale

Through our accelerator programmes, we go from lifting individual women and their families above the poverty line to building thriving local economies.

Historically, Hand in Hand’s sole focus has been to support women with no previous business experience to create micro enterprises that lift themselves and their families above the poverty line.

Through this work, we identified an urgent need for an additional level of support – for women who want to expand and grow existing businesses.  By supporting this group of women business owners we:

  • Help them to increase turnover and profit of their enterprises above subsistence level
  • Create employment opportunities in the local community
  • Strengthen existing value chains, creating strong local business ecosystems. 



“This scheme turns one-woman start-ups into job-creating local businesses.”

Dorothea Arndt, Hand in Hand International CEO

Helping women overcome the barriers to expansion

  • Business skills. Hand in Hand’s acceleration courses provide women with a more advanced curriculum, with training on marketing and value addition, as well as sector-specific skills.
  • Market linkages and networking opportunities. We give women the chance to expand their networks by connecting them to mentors within their sector.
  • Access to credit. It can be tough for women to obtain credit from traditional financial institutions, such as banks, if they don’t have any credit history or have never held a bank account. We work with banks and microfinance institutions to help our members access to loans and credit, so they can invest in staff, equipment and stock.
  • Digital inclusion. We overcome the ‘digital gender gap’ by giving women the digital skills they need to run their businesses effectively (for example banking and bookkeeping apps) and to market and sell their products on social media or e-commerce sites.

Our partnerships

This acceleration programme will not only transform the lives of thousands of women and their families, it also offers the potential for grassroots entrepreneurs to create genuine economic growth in some of the most deprived communities in the world.

To achieve our goals, we partner with local and national NGOs, foundations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, companies and private donors. Find out more about partnering with us.

Our impact at a glance


Amount per dollar earned that men spend on their families and communities


Amount per dollar earned that women spend on their families and communities


Average female labour participation rate in Hand in Hand countries


Female participation rate in Hand in Hand Self-Help Groups

Our partnerships

Fighting poverty in Kenya with Visa 

We teamed up with Visa to reach 10,200 women to lift their families out of poverty in some of Kenya’s most disadvantaged regions.

Planet friendly farming with IKEA 

Thanks to the IKEA Foundation we will train 1,600 smallholder farmers in regenerative and circular practices to increase productivity and reduce poverty.

Partnering with Cartier Philanthropy to empower women

This groundbreaking project works with men to tackle restrictive attitudes that hold women back.

Success stories

Bathsheba, Kenya 

Boosting food security in her community during the  Covid-19 crisis. 

Faith, Tanzania

How one woman found a way to provide for her family when her husband lost his job.


Rozi-Khal, Afghanistan

A former refugee turned poultry farmer who can now provide for her children.