With the global poverty rate that had been in steady decline this century before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, there are still hundreds of millions of people trapped in an inescapable cycle of poverty. For these impoverished communities, essential commodities, such as food, water, electricity, and basic education, often remain tragically elusive, leaving them vulnerable to famine, disease, and a threat of economic disaster. ACE Development Fund, a U.S.-based non-profit, aids the ambitious and hopeful entrepreneurs, who are left financially destitute, in the African and Asian regions, and improves their communities by giving them the mentorship, connections, and opportunities they need to turn their business dreams into reality.
After founding the organization in 2008, Al Caperna entrusted leadership and expansion of the foundation to Elisabeth Cochrane, who spent decades in Nepal and India establishing schools, community-development programs, and other socially transformative platforms. Caperna started ACE Development Fund to strengthen community-based businesses and help disadvantaged communities support themselves, and since accepting the leadership role in 2009, Cochrane has done exactly what Caperna envisioned. By 2014, ACE had given business training to hundreds of driven entrepreneurs from low-income African and Asian communities, worked in over one hundred locations, and launched over two hundred businesses.
Like Caperna, Cochrane understands how much those in less fortunate parts of the world could benefit from strong business training and ample opportunity to utilize it. ACE Development Fund holds numerous training sessions to give their social entrepreneurs the knowledge they need to make their business plans feasible. They also encourage business professionals to involve themselves in the process as mentors and impact investors – rather than simply as donors – to ensure that the people of the communities they support can build as many business relationships as possible. With their business-strategy curriculum and vast network of experienced and interested business leaders, the organization gives those in need the knowledge and connections they need to gather support for their businesses and lift their communities out of poverty.
Though ACE Development Fund creates these opportunities, none of the businesses they helped fund and launch could exist without the commitment and drive of the entrepreneurs, like Joy and Rose – founders of the locally-funded Rose Streeshakti Snacks Centre in Lonavala, India – who ultimately succeeded in creating their business. It is these pioneers who deserve the utmost praise for their vision and passion that best serve their own communities.
For more details, visit: www.acedevelopmentfund.org