Young Entrepreneurs to Advance Local Economies and Community Health in Africa


An extraordinary number of young adults and less developed local labor markets call for innovative economic solutions in African countries. Innovations should both increase labor market participation of young adults and transform local economies. At the same time, in many African countries there are serious threats to community health through water or vector borne diseases. Lack of clean drinking water and unimproved sanitation facilities put communities in dire need to find sustainable solutions to improve community health.



An economic innovation with pilot status is ADA Microfinance Luxembourg’s Young Entrepreneurs Initiative. It provides microloans and financial training to help young people to start their own business in three African countries, Niger, Togo, and Rwanda. So far, ADA’S business model is not sustainable yet, as financial training and advice are externally funded. The first aim of the proposed SDG lab will be to find solutions how to transform ADA’s initiative into a sustainable business model. The second aim of the lab will be to enable innovative ideas how to improve community health with the means of microfinance. A focus will be on providing access to clean drinking water and improving sanitation.



Experts from African microfinance, research, local economy, and policymaking will participate in a two-day social innovation workshop, hosted by IRSEI and ADA.



The SDG lab will produce a sustainable business model for the Young Entrepreneurs initiative, ready for implementation in the three African countries, which will serve as a showcase for further developing countries. It will further enable one or more innovative solutions how to improve community health, ready for feasibility tests.



Making the Young Entrepreneurs Initiative sustainable could successfully address the SDGs of reducing poverty and gender inequalities, improving health and well-being for all, and contribute to sustainable societies.



  • Increase the conditions of the Young Entrepreneurs and their families by raising living standards, providing steady income for housing and health
  • Enrich local economies through creation of jobs
  • Provide access to improved living conditions, with potential to improve individual and community health
  • Via improved health, innovations could alleviate further pressing societal problems. For instance, fewer waterborne diseases in children would lead to lower rates of stunting, higher rates of school attendance and education, with possible benefits for occupation and earnings of future generations
PEARL Institute for Research on Socio-Economic Inequality, University of Luxembourg
ADA Microfinance