Balloon Kenya

Work with ambitious Kenyan entrepreneurs to grow businesses that change lives

What we do

As featured in the FT, Guardian and Virgin, we bring exceptional young people from around the world to work in Kenya for 6 weeks with budding local entrepreneurs. Together, these international teams imagine, test and refine new business ideas. We then fund the best of these ideas and help the businesses to grow. We believe that supporting youth entrepreneurship is the most sustainable way to tackle poverty and create change.

What you do

Complete an intensive 1 week training programme in entrepreneurship and innovation. Hone your skills in Kenya imagining and testing business ideas with the local community. Build a creative and supportive environment with your peers and learn from each other. Develop your confidence and teaching skills.

Working in pairs, forge connections with your Kenyan groups. Build lasting friendships based on mutual trust and respect. Plan lessons, adapting the curriculum to meet the specific needs of your groups. Give them confidence to design and launch innovative new ventures, pursuing their passions and developing businesses that address problems in their local communities.

Get out of the classroom with your groups and test their business ideas in the real world. Speak to 100s of local people and understand better the needs of prospective customers. Gather feedback, challenge assumptions and test again. Go out and make sales!

Prepare your groups to pitch for funding. Help them make their financial projections and calculate how much investment their businesses need. Reflect on how far your groups have come and take pride in the fact that you have led a process working side by side with 100s of Kenyans taking control of their futures and changing their lives for the better.

Spend the night in a rural village immersing yourself in the local community. Learn Swahili, practice Kenyan cooking, camp out at Lake Naivasha, and go walking with wild animals. Form deep connections with Kenyan communities, learn about HIV prevention, ethnic conflict, the battle for gender equality and other issues affecting Kenyan society. Meet inspirational local people and have a genuinely life changing experience.

Our impact

We’ve already worked with some truly inspirational young people. From Germany to India, America to Malawi, Malaysia to Britain, our 2012 and 2013 cohorts exceeded all expectations, and thanks to their hard work and drive we’ve achieved some great things.

Case studies

Click on the photos below to view

Uadilifu
Silage
Tharira Widows
Baby care
Baharini
Courier Service
John Kamau
Potato Farming & Biofuel
Mama Glo
Lunch Delivery Service
Evans Amon
Fish Farming

Where we're headed by 2017

We want to change the entire economic outlook of Nakuru Town. We want to develop and prove a sustainable model of development that can be scaled across the world to battle global poverty. And we want you to work with us to make this happen.

Why apply?

" For us this is mature global development "

Lord Michael Hastings

KPMG - Global Head of Corporate Citizenship

The Balloon programme will make you vastly more employable and innovative. Previous Fellows have gone on to work at top private firms like McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group, set up exciting new companies like Soko Text and Chalkboard Kenya, and make an impact in the social sector with organisations like Acumen and the HUB Westminster.

We guarantee that Balloon Kenya will be a life changing experience that will both challenge and inspire you. But don't just take our word for it! Listen to our alumni...

Balloon Kenya Alumni

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2013

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" The programme has an amazing curriculum, is taught interactively and is put into practice instantly. This method of learning is unbeatable " Lewis McGregor
Loughborough University

" I met the most amazing people and had the best time. The positive impact Balloon Kenya is having in Kenya and on ourselves as fellows is extraordinary. My greatest achievement yet... " Hannah Galea-Bateman
University of Northampton

" Balloon Kenya was extraordinary in every sense. The marvels you see in Balloon Kenya's website and brochures? Yeah, that's not just marketing, it's true. " Apolinar Toba
University College London

" Balloon Kenya has provided me with business knowledge far beyond what can be learnt out of a textbook; combined with the opportunity to truly improve Kenyan's lives. " Bella Cuthbert
University College London

" I most definitely did not expect to come away from the program feeling like I might have potentially made a tangible difference to people lives, it's an extremely fulfilling feeling. " Toby Nunn
University of Sheffield

" My experience in Kenya was educational, rewarding, and unique. The BK programme has also given me the tools I need to stand out among my fellow graduates. " Martin Quinn
University of St Andrews

" Balloon Kenya was challenging but highly rewarding! The best 6 weeks of my life. I would encourage anyone to get involved! " Dan Garlick
Sheffield Hallam University

" I arrived a neuroscientist and left wanting to pursue a career in global health and with entrepreneurship skills I did not know I had. I’ll be back! " Maxine Mackintosh
University College London

" In terms of entrepreneurial experience and exploring a new culture no programme can compare to Balloon Kenya. " Nick O'Ferrall
University of Exeter

" Challenging work with big impact; getting to know Kenya; having great fun. Definitely one of the most meaningful things I’ve done. " Nils Eiteneyer
London School of Economics

" Balloon Kenya gave me the opportunity to meet real people with real problems and help them better their lives through entrepreneurship. " Manavi Perera
University of Northampton

" My life is changed by changing other lives. " Hymn Wong
Willem de Kooning Academy

" I have learned that the best moment to start realising your dreams is now! " Verena Brahler
University College London

" Learnt about entrepreneurship, finance, international aid AND worked with locals to set up businesses in a developing country... all in 6 weeks! " Vivian Lam
University of Hong Kong

" I learnt how sharing knowledge with someone can change so much for them. " Nirmal Raithatha
Aston University

" Balloon Kenya was challenging and rewarding. It opened my eyes to the value of entrepreneurship in having a global impact. " Shivani Jethwa
School of Oriental and African Studies

" There’s no better feeling than knowing the work I did with Balloon Kenya improved the lives of the people I supported. " James Holden
University of Plymouth

" Working with Kenyan entrepreneurs taught me the fundamentals of a business and beyond that, how to appreciate life. " David Chia
University College London

" After being thoroughly uninspired by the other internships opportunities available, this made a fantastic alternative. " Will Smith
University of Exeter

" Balloon Kenya has given me the confidence to pursue future challenges and experiences that have impacted both my professional and personal outlook. " Sarina Patel
London School of Economics

" The Balloon Kenya programme was great for me as I gained work experience in what is a new and exciting form of International Development practice: Social entrepreneurship. " Nichola McAvoy
University of Portsmouth

" Balloon Kenya was a once in a lifetime opportunity where I met like-minded people and experienced entrepreneurship and innovation first hand. " Luke Mallard
University of Plymouth

" The inspiration, independence and confidence you experience is second to none. Every business student should endeavour to complete a programme like this. " Hayley Barnes
University of Newcastle

" Initially I was apprehensive having had no business experience, but with a brilliant curriculum and lots of support it was no problem. I had an amazing, and challenging, six weeks. " Lavinia Hicks
University of Durham

" I have gained core concepts of entrepreneurship, strengthened by immediate application. I am confident it will be beneficial to my future career. " Daniella Humby
University of Northampton

" Balloon Kenya was an eye opening experience for me. Not only did it teach me the essentials of entrepreneurship, but also made me appreciate Kenya for all that it has to offer. " Krishna Hemaraj
University of Cardiff

" During the Balloon Kenya programme, not only will you develop a host of invaluable skills, but you will do things and meet people that will stay with you forever. " Chris Simmons
Aston University

" I was able to discover a new country and help many individuals with whom I got to know personally. I learnt new skills, added value to my CV, whilst still having a great time. " Amanda Campbell
University College London

" The insights and tools I've gained from Balloon Kenya are invaluable, and I know they will positively influence how I approach my future work. " April Pascua
UCLA

" Balloon Kenya was an amazing experience which allowed me to immerse myself into a completely different culture and learn how businesses operate in Kenya. " Cat Staffa
Aston University

" Balloon Kenya was a life changing experience, an eye opener on community issues, and great way of giving back to the society. I would recommend it any time! " Izzy Kamau
University of Northampton

" I am glad I was a part of BK and this experience has taught me invaluable lessons on Social Enterprise and business. " Jasmine Blake
University of Northampton

" Balloon Kenya taught me so much about entrepreneurship and global development. It has been an invaluable experience. " Victoria Dorling
University of Newcastle

" What an amazing experience " Christine Gichina
University of Northampton

2012

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" The Balloon Kenya programme truly has been the most rewarding experience I have had to date. " Anna Rickman
University of Oxford

" Balloon Kenya was an amazing experience for me as a Kenyan. As well as learning new skills I also discovered so much about my country and fell more in love with it. " Suraj Gudkha
London School Economics

" Having studied international development for the last 3 years this is honestly the most sustainable and impactful project I have seen. " Oshie Shulman
University of Northampton

" Balloon Kenya was hugely challenging but also an amazing experience. " Amy Sumaria
University of Oxford

" Within 6 weeks of returning from Balloon Kenya I had a very exciting job offer. I know I wouldn’t have been offered this position without the programme " Felicity Cremin
University of Bristol

" Balloon Kenya was incredible and gave me so much drive to pursue entrepreneurship and create my own path. " Pankaj Lalwani
University of Northampton

" I gained invaluable experience of entrepreneurship and how it can be used to better society. Truly, I now see the world in a different way! " Leah Waterfield
University of Sheffield

" The programme provided me with the fundamentals to teach entrepreneurship, but also entrusted me with the freedom to adapt to change. Overall it gave me invaluable hands on experience. " Peter Kotvis
University of Michigan

" Balloon Kenya has given me the skills and belief to pursue my ideas and not be scared to fail. I also found amazing co-ordinators, new friendships and a whole knew outlook on life! " Vickie Clay
University of Northampton

" Balloon Kenya promotes the idea that to really understand you must experience. I have now taken this knowledge and started my own enterprise - Chalkboard Kenya. " Jeremy Brown
Goldsmiths College

" I absolutely loved working with my youth groups and the relationships I built with them were extraordinary. I wish I could have stayed longer! " Shoshana Dzialoszynski
University of Northampton

" My experience was compelling, challenging, and rewarding. Balloon Kenya is a fantastic initiative which I genuinely believe could have global impact. " Youkang Jun
University of St. Andrews

" The programme was both an eye-opening experience and an investment in my future. Since returning I've experienced increased interest from graduate recruiters. " Emma Rankin
University of Lancaster

" In my opinion the Balloon Kenya curriculum was of higher quality than the entrepreneurship module I took at my university. It gave me great confidence in my own abilities. " Nick Bargstadt
University of Exeter

" I have always wanted to start my own company but didn't know how! Balloon Kenya has equipped me to take the first steps to realising that dream. " Steve Finerty
University of Hull

" Balloon Kenya has already opened so many doors for me. Thank you so much guys! " Lauren Burke
University of Northampton

Awards

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