"Indego Africa is challenging the world of fair trade to keep up with its tenaciously business-minded approach to social change." - The Huffington Post
A Social Enterprise in Action
What is Indego Africa?
- Indego Africa is an award-winning, design-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit social enterprise that lifts women-owned businesses in Rwanda toward sustainable economic independence through access to markets and education.
- Indego Africa partners with for-profit cooperatives of more than 400 women artisans in Rwanda and exports, markets, and sells their jewelry, accessories, and home decor (a) on its online store, (b) to more than 80 retail stores across the U.S. and Europe, and (c) at major brands like J.Crew and Nicole Miller through cutting-edge design collaborations.
- Indego Africa then pools its profits from sales with donations to fund training programs – developed internally from the ground up – for the same women in management and entrepreneurship, literacy, technology, and health.
- Indego Africa hires top Rwandan university students from socially-vulnerable backgrounds to administer its training programs.
- Indego Africa has offices in New York City and Rwanda and is managed by a lean and diverse team with extensive experience in development, business, design, law, commerce, fashion, and Africa.
- Indego Africa is a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation and the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.
Indego Africa re-defines an outdated handicraft model of economic development and maps out a replicable blueprint for unleashing the power of women entrepreneurs in Africa. Download an overview of Indego Africa's business model, mission, and strategy.
Empower Independent Businesswomen
Indego Africa provides opportunities for women in difficult circumstances to not only meet their families’ basic needs, but also acquire skills that enhance long-term earning potential. Indego Africa's mission is to help each artisan cooperative achieve the following:
WOMEN GENERATING SUSTAINABLE INCOME. Women consistently earn more than $2 per day through their own initiative and oversee households that are entirely free of hunger, inadequate housing, and school absenteeism.
WOMEN LEVERAGING VALUABLE LONG-TERM SKILLS. Women deploy new high-value skills to earn supplemental income in their own community – whether at a cooperative, another employer, or their own business.
WOMEN RUNNING PROFITABLE EXPORT BUSINESSES. Women manage cooperatives that are fiscally responsible, effective in product design and delivery, and dynamic contributors to the community – all while engaging the global export market on their own terms.
WOMEN FEELING HOPEFUL AND CONFIDENT. Women translate their experiences of financial success and increased productivity into a lasting sense of self-worth and pride, knowing that anything can be accomplished by working together with others and relying on their own strength.
Indego Africa developed its business model before it chose Rwanda as its implementation partner country. The reasons why Indego Africa picked Rwanda are many:
- Corruption in Rwanda is among the lowest in all of Africa.
- Rwanda was ranked one of the top ten global reformers in the World Bank Doing Business Survey 2010, and second global reformer out of 183 countries.
- In the World Bank’s 2012 index of 183 countries, Rwanda was ranked 45th easiest place to do business worldwide, and 8th easiest place to start a business.
- In 2003, Rwanda adopted one of the world’s most progressive constitutions for women’s representation with 56% female representation in Parliament.
- Rwanda’s 3 year GDP growth rate is the highest among major African economies and neighboring countries, with 7.1% average year-on-year GDP growth since 2004 and a stable inflation and exchange rate.
- Average per capita income has more than doubled since 1994.
- One-third of households in Rwanda are headed by women, which are 12% more likely than those headed by men to fall below the poverty line.
For more information, visit our Social Impact page.
Spend the Day with Emelienne and Cocoki (2010)
2011 Social Impact Report Video (2012)
Artisan Partners in the U.S. (2011)
A Very Special Hello from Cocoki (2012)