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Open Applications for StartNow 3rd Cohort

Join Yunus Environment Hub StartNow course to develop your Social Business Plan with voluntary expert mentors in 8 weeks. The applications for the 3rd cohort are open until July 4, 2021. For this cohort, we have teamed up with Einstein Rising Foundation in Uganda to increase our reach and provide more opportunities to all the Social Business Entrepreneurs anyone who want to build social business solutions in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and Ethiopia. 

About StartNow

Yunus Environment Hub (YEH) created StartNow, a self-learning platform for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. StartNow is a platform where each week the entrepreneur will learn and work on a module of their business plan and at the end, they will have a compiled and structured document that serves them as a social business plan and additional tools to launch and run their Social Businesses. The course is accompanied by a volunteer mentor who will support the entrepreneur during the 8-week process. Since the beginning of the program, YEH hosted two cohorts with 77 participants.  

  • Applications are open for Potential Social Business Entrepreneurs:

To join the course, you only need to commit to working on your Social Business plan with a minimum time commitment of 4 hours per week over 8 weeks is required.

  • For Potential Mentors who want to share their experience and knowledge with others:

You can join us to share your knowledge and experience with the youth entrepreneurs who are leading the change towards a greener future. The estimated workload for the platform during the 8-week course is 1-2 hours per week. As a volunteer mentor, you can gain certified experience in mentoring and learn more about how your business skills can be transferred to support social businesses.

Below, you can read more about the experience of our volunteer mentors and social business entrepreneurs in the previous cohorts.

Rachel Wairimu Kiura


Lead Trainer with Raesna Consultancy, Kenya
Why did you participate in the StartNow program?

I love empowering and transforming lives and especially young people so that they achieve their goals and not repeat most of the mistakes that many entrepreneurs have made before.

Do you think the StartNow program helps to support entrepreneurs? Why?

“Yes, the StartNow program helps to support entrepreneurs. Because as the entrepreneurs go to start their businesses or grow their businesses, they get full procedures to put in action so that their businesses will not fail which is a big problem with entrepreneurs.” 

Fernando Duvane

Social Business Entrepreneur

Nhluvuku Services

Can you describe your social business? 

“At Nhluvuku, we dedicate our effort to combat environmental pollution by the waste in Xai-Xai, developing environmental education for all citizens, introducing the waste segregation at source, supplying recyclable waste collected to recycling companies. We as well recycle part of them and produce organic compost. We also promote personal development to make citizens see the limitless opportunities they can explore. We are working with the Municipality body to include waste segregation as a rule. Our staff comprises young people, especially women.“ 

Mark Bitel


Independent Consultant in Organizational Impact and Effectiveness  
Why did you participate in the StartNow program?

“I wanted to offer my time and expertise to assist young entrepreneurs in Africa to develop their ideas for their projects that could improve their own financial prospects, serve their communities and do something to mitigate climate change. I believe that social enterprise can empower people, drive innovation and contribute to tackling ‘wicked issues’.”   

Do you think the StartNow program helps to support entrepreneurs? Why?

“The platform is a facilitator, rather than the solution.

The weekly mentor meetings enable the exploration and support to go deeper. But it is no substitute for the hard work that the mentee must put into developing their ideas and actions. It has been a joy to work with my hard-working mentee. Some of the most useful support that I have provided as a mentor is to help push my mentee to go beyond his comfort zone, as well as encouraging him to visit businesses and other organizations outside of his own city location to see how others are taking action in a similar domain in a different location to gain knowledge and learn the lessons from the mistakes, they have made in setting up their business. This has had the additional benefit of establishing potential partnerships and markets for his business idea.”  

“The relationship between the mentor and mentee has to be based on honesty and openly addressing inequalities between them. It has been important to have the conversation that because I am white and am 25 years older than my mentee, that he is an expert in his own reality and that he has to find his own solutions, rather than expecting me to tell him what is best for him. This has put us on a more equal footing, like two sides of the same coin. It’s a great relationship that provides mutual benefit.”  

“I love empowering and transforming lives and especially young people so that they achieve their goals and not repeat most of the mistakes that many entrepreneurs have made before.”

Julieth Nila

Social Business Entrepreneur

Habeli Care

Can you describe your social business? 

“Habeli Care’s mission is to  make young girls and women comfortable and stress-free during their menstrual periods by providing a fully packaged menstrual hygiene kit called Girl on The Go that they could use on the go. We want girls and women to embrace their periods whenever and wherever.”  




If you got inspired by these amazing stories and would like to be a part of the change, do not forget to apply until July 4th, 2021!

Learn more about the StartNow program.

Learn more about our cohort partner Einstein Rising.

If you have any questions regarding the program and the application process, contact Program Manager Katerin Carrillo.

We are wishing the Social Business entrepreneurs the very best of luck as they embark on this amazing journey together with Yunus Environment Hub.