New partnership to support 30 African Education Entrepreneurs

Today, Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P), via I&P Education to Employment (IP2E), announced a partnership with the Mastercard Foundation that will support businesses in the education sector to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

The three-year program will accelerate 30 education entrepreneurs (edupreneurs) in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Senegal by addressing key challenges related to access, quality, and relevance faced within the sector, including:

A.      Funding for education businesses in recovery phase seeking to adapt and expand;

B.      Skills development through technical assistance to accelerate SMEs’ digital transformation;

C.      Education opportunities through innovative social inclusion mechanisms; and

D.     Data and advocacy through robust impact management systems and policy dialogue.

The education start-ups and SMEs will be selected based on their capacity to offer quality education and training while promoting employability and youth empowerment within their countries of operations.

As a pioneering impact investment group, we have witnessed the gap between the available skills of young women and men and the needs of the job market. While African governments have limited means to solve these problems, the private sector is increasingly perceived as a possible complementary player that could boost access to, and the quality and relevance of education,” explained Emilie Debled, Executive Director for Strategic Developments & Partnerships at I&P.

By accelerating the work of edupreneurs and SMEs in the education space, the US$10.5 million program aims to impact 95,000 beneficiaries, including students, trainees, and ed-tech platform users served by these businesses, out of which 55% will be women and 33% disadvantaged youth.

Providing a pathway to recovery for early-stage edupreneurs and SMEs within the education sector will strengthen their operations, build resilience, and increase their social impact within the countries and communities in which they operate with a ripple effect on the improvement of education at a national level,” commented Nathalie Akon Gabala, Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Head for Western, Central and Northern Africa.

With support from the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program, IP2E will be able to deploy its Access Facility, a grant-based facility aimed at increasing access to quality education in Africa, to support SMEs in the education sector that have been severely hit by the pandemic.

The program will use mechanisms to ensure that the targeted SMEs are able to promote greater social inclusion among young people, especially young women and girls, who do not generally have the means to attend quality programs. The program will pilot the design of income share agreements or scholarship programs with these education SMEs. In doing so, it will build the capacity of targeted SMEs to enhance access to their programs to young people, primarily young women.

“Although the education sector was heavily affected by the COVID-19 crisis, many edupreneurs doubled down on efforts to retain students and accelerate the use of digital tools in schools. This partnership will be instrumental in strengthening the resilience of these SMEs to provide young people with better pathways to education and employment,” said Domoina Rambeloarison, Director of the Access Facility at I&P.

About Investisseurs & Partenaires

Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) is a pioneering impact investing group entirely dedicated to financing and supporting start-ups and medium-sized enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa. I&P was launched in 2002 by Patrice Hoppenot and has been led by Jean-Michel Severino since 2011. The team of approximately 90 people is based in 8 African hubs (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, and Senegal), in Paris and in Washington D.C.

I&P has partnered with more than 120 companies operating in some fifteen African countries in a wide range of sectors. I&P brings long-term financing as well as strategic, managerial, and technical support. As an impact investor, I&P’s mission is to maximize the societal impact of its partner companies and contribute to dynamic and inclusive growth in Africa.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Foundation, please visit:

About the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program

The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has two main goals.  First to deliver emergency support for health workers, first responders, and students. Second, to strengthen the diverse institutions that are the first line of defense against the social and economic aftermath of this disease. These include universities, financial services providers, businesses, technology start-ups, incubators, government agencies, youth organizations, and non-governmental organizations. For more on the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program, please visit  Follow the Foundation on Twitter at @MastercardFdn.

Media contacts:


Emile Debled – Executive Director for Strategic Developments at I&P:
Domoina Rambeloarison – Director of the Access Facility:
Clémence Bourrin – PR and Communication Officer:

Mastercard Foundation

Kweku Ahiagble – Country Lead, Program Communications, Ghana:

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