Diverse group of young people collaborating


Small businesses increase local employment opportunities, provide goods and services to residents and generate higher levels of income growth within neighborhoods. Due to systemic barriers to financial resources and investments, members of under-resourced and underrepresented communities have difficulty starting and growing small businesses that result in economic growth.

Our programs connect young people and innovators from marginalized communities with access to capital, mentorship and training — to diversify the pipeline of entrepreneurs and create mobile businesses that expand access to essential goods and services.


Powered by Ford Fund and 1863 Ventures, HERImpact is designed to help women social entrepreneurs scale their enterprises to increase impact and long-term sustainability. The program builds a community of women founders and entrepreneurs, creating a network that provides expertise, coaching and mentoring support. Funding is awarded to founders who pitch their business plans in a competition decided by women in leadership at Ford and 1863 Ventures representatives.

Since 2018, Ford Fund has invested $400,000 in women-led social enterprises and provided business development resources to more than 600 social entrepreneurs in Detroit; Kansas City, Missouri; Miami; and Washington, D.C.

Women standing and clapping in the crowd


In partnership with Enactus, we empower university student entrepreneurs across Brazil, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, South Africa and the United Kingdom to design and implement projects that address social challenges and help move people and communities forward. Since 2013, we’ve invested more than $3.6 million in the program, which has supported more than 4,200 students in launching more than 300 student-led projects that have had positive social outcomes for more than 385,000 people around the world. Projects range from addressing food security to expanding access to clean water or transportation to responsible waste management and more.


Through our Smart Mobility Challenge, we encourage student entrepreneurs from leading European universities to develop ideas for urban mobility solutions in their communities. Solutions may enable people and goods to move freely, easily and safely; provide access to essential resources; or promote connectivity, health and well-being. Students pitch their proposals for a chance to receive funding to help implement their ideas. To date, we have awarded $352,000 USD in grants in support of 41 student projects in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Group of young adults posing for a picture next to the Smart Mobility Challenge banner