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Build Back Better

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) through the Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) Programme, and Yunus Environment Hub (YEH) have launched a program to support 25 social businesses (35% women owned and 40% youth owned) in Kenya to harness the advantages of the circular economy for a sustainable and resilient recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program promotes the SBs transformation to a more circular, resilient, and economically sustainable business growth that prioritizes social and environmental sustainability and enhances greener and long-term employment opportunities.


Dubbed as Build Back Better Social Business Program (BBB SBP), the 16-months program involves implementing individualized business solutions based on entrepreneur’s needs, societal and current global environmental challenges such as unsafe work environments, climate change-related challenges, cash flow shortages, disrupted supply chains, and resource depletion economy. We engage our internal and external social business advisory consultants to provide in-depth expertise in social business diagnostics, market assessment as well as circular and green opportunity mapping. The experts will support the social businesses in accessing new markets or position themselves within the new markets. They will also support the market entry of new products and services. 


As defined by Prof. Muhammad Yunus, a social business is a mission-driven business that is entirely dedicated to solving social or environmental problems. Specifically created for this purpose, a social business generates profits that are to be re-invested and aims to be financially self-sustaining.

In this regard the objectives of the BBB Social Business Program are to:

  • Support the transition of 25 selected social businesses to become more circular, resilient and greener
  • Support social businesses to regain or out-perform their pre-COVID operations 
  • Secure existing jobs and creating new green employment opportunities
  • Ensure safe and healthy working conditions for employees of the social businesses
  • Prepare 25 social businesses to be more resilient for future challenges
  • Expose the social businesses to funding opportunities and support fundraising process

The program focuses on four sectors with significant socio-economic and environmental impact. These include:

  • Agriculture and agribusiness value chains
  • Basic Services e.g. waste management, water and sanitation, electrification, mobilization, etc.
  • Manufacturing and retail
  • Hospitality and tourism

Selection Process and Activities

The social businesses will be selected through a rigorous screening from a pool of over 90 social businesses in Kenya. The 40 finalists will be invited for a pitching session and undergo a thorough due diligence process, after which, 25 candidates from both urban and rural regions in Kenya will be selected to participate in the BBB Social Business Program.

Once the selection is done, the need assessment will be conducted to understand the social businesses’ needs and a comprehensive, individualized consultancy and advisory roadmap will be developed for every social business involved.

During the 16-months, the selected social businesses will have dedicated site visits, and receive continuous coaching, consultancy, and mentorship from YEH social business experts, financial advisors, and Health & Safety consultants. This will facilitate their green recovery, becoming more economically sustainable, circular, and resilient while retaining the existing jobs, creating new employment opportunities, improving the existing income systems, and tackling challenges from the environmental crisis. The social businesses will also get an opportunity to network with financial institutions and investors, and pitch there revised circular social business models in our Funders-table event. YEH will support the social businesses during the subsequent funding application processes. The activities will be hosted partly in-person and online. 

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for this program, the social businesses required the following:
  • Must be registered in Kenya for at least two years
  • Their product or service must have been on the market for at least two years
  • They must be able to prove at least two years of revenue history
  • Must have been negatively affected by COVID-19
  • Are within the sectors of interest for the BBB Social Business Program
The application process is closed for this cohort. Register here to receive the important news on the BBB Social Business Program:

We proudly announce that on Wednesday, 15th June 2022 we will host the public launch event of our project “SINA – Soziale Innovationen für Nachhaltigkeit” at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. With high-level speakers, we will discuss the role of social innovations in the sustainability transformation in Germany and present first project insights to the audience. (The event is conducted in German only)