Balloon Kenya

Work with ambitious Kenyan entrepreneurs to grow innovative businesses that change lives

What we do

As featured in the Financial Times, Guardian and Virgin: we bring exceptional young people from around the world to Kenya, to volunteer for 6 weeks with budding local entrepreneurs and lead sustainable economic development.

Together, these international teams imagine, test and refine exciting 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 best way to tackle poverty and create change. And we know that you have the potential to lead this change and make a real difference, while gaining invaluable international business experience and experiencing an exciting new culture.

What you do

Arrive in Kenya and meet your volunteer team. Embark on an intensive 5 day training programme in entrepreneurship and strategy which has been delivered at leading business schools and universities across the UK. Hone your skills imagining and testing business ideas with the local community. Build a creative and supportive environment with your peers and learn from each other. Regardless of your experiences and background, we will give you the confidence and tools to lead an innovation process with entrepreneurs.

Working in small teams forge connections with your group of 5 Kenyan entrepreneurs. Empathy is the key here so you will spend time learning about their lives and ambitions and build 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 new ventures, pursuing their passions and developing businesses that address problems in their local communities.

Get out of the classroom with your entrepreneurs 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. Form partnerships with key stakeholders. Build sales and marketing strategies. Design a brand. Go out and make sales! The record on a programme is £2000 of revenue generated... beat that.

Prepare your groups to pitch for funding. Help them make their financial projections and calculate how much investment their businesses need. Develop a compelling pitching document that will document the entrepreneur journey. Each entrepreneur gets 30 minutes to present their idea with questions so make it count! The funding is administered by local youth co-operatives and the winning entrepreneurs receive a 0% interest, unsecured loan. Reflect on how far your groups have come and take pride in the fact that you have led a creative process working with Kenyans to take control of their futures and build a better Kenya.

Bond with your team of Balloon Fellows and make new and lasting friendships. Experience everything that Kenya as a beautiful and welcoming country has to offer. 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, music and dance, the battle for gender equality and other social and environmental issues. 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, 2013 and 2014 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
Robins Ochieng:
Handmade Goods
Teddy Ondicho:
Fruit Distribution
Selinah Ongachi:
Yogurt Production

2017: Where we're heading

We want to change the entire economic outlook of Kenya. 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

Click on the photos below to view

2014

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" Participating has affected me on so many different levels.  It developed me both professionally and personally, and I find myself applying what I learned in Kenya to my everyday life.  " Sammy Bellamy
Elon University

" No other course I know of puts business theory into practice as quickly or as successfully as Balloon Kenya. " Benjamin Lindley
University of Oxford

" Truly awe-inspiring. The entrepreneurs' thirst for knowledge was beyond compare. The experience out measures anything I have previously comprehended. " Alessandra Piper
Sheffield Hallam University

" BK has been one of the greatest experiences for me: The program, the people, the country. It showed me that I can make a difference in peoples’ lives. " Anna Buchman
University of Edinburgh

" "Balloon Kenya opened up a whole new way of thinking for me, intellectually and professionally. That and some incredible experiences with incredible people. " Charlie Satow
UCL

" I am now working at Accenture and I still use the learning and experience from Kenya everyday in my job. " Luke Robertson
City University

" An entrepreneurship and life experience. The adventures start from the weekend 1 and last throughout. An opportunity to meet great people and learn about Africa. " Russlan Ramdowar
INSA Lyon

" This has been my most rewarding experience to date. Learning, applying and creating a real life, long lasting impact. I left after 6 weeks feeling incredibly inspired. " Sehel Khandwala
UCL

" Extraordinary in every aspect. I acquired vital entrepreneurial skills and greatly enjoyed the local culture. BK has given me key tools for my future career. " Fatmimoh Mumini
University of Northampton

" BK provided me the opportunity to work with talented and ambitious people and get to grips with entrepreneurship development. Practical, professional and hands-on. " Lisa Freiburg
Universiteit van Amsterdam

" The programme gave me a new way of thinking, a truly inspirational experience, and the encouragement to start up my own social enterprise. " Nathan Prakash Paterson
LSE

"I worked with incredible people who demonstrated that initiative is at the root of any giant endeavour. I had no idea I could achieve so much in such little time; clearly life changing. " Hana Mori
UCL

" BK gave me a chance to showcase and practice skills which will progress me in the future while making a difference in Kenya.   " Kavit Shah
Manchester University

" A truly amazing experience! I learnt a lot about entrepreneurship, business and international development all in one programme. " Yvonne Manyangadze
University of Northamtpon

" An entrepreneurship training programme I will never forget! A challenge to say the least but a great and rewarding experience. " Wahito Kangere
University of Northampton

" Balloon Kenya provided the perfect insight into Business for me. I knew I had the entrepreneurial spirit before, I now have the confidence too. " Maria Fielder
University of Hull

" A thoroughly rewarding experience which I would strongly recommend to anyone with an interest in entrepreneurship or international development. " Matt Jones
University of Bath

" Balloon Kenya has been an inspiration for me to start pursuing entrepreneurship and I'm just about to launch my own online business. We worked hard and partied hard. " Suzanne Towett
Tilburg University

" I can’t think of many other opportunities where at the age of 23, you have the responsibility to help build a business from scratch. " Jenny Spruell
SOAS

" Balloon Kenya has been up until now the most significant and exciting business experience of my life. " Richard Homewood
University of Melbourne

" Balloon Kenya was an extraordinary experience. It was also the catalyst for many amazing opportunities. " Jennifer Leigh
University of Leeds

" Balloon Kenya was the most rewarding and meaningful experience I’ve ever had in my life. The long-term focus, the cultural immersion and the fantastic people make this special!  " Igor Miranda
University of Sao Paulo

" Six weeks that challenge your preconceptions, skills and knowledge, inevitably leaving you inspired and with a sense of purpose.  " Priyanka Shah
UCL

" Stop trying and start doing, a transformational philosophy learned in Kenya, applied forever. Personal and social development in its purest form, 6 weeks experience, a lifelong impact." Pascal Wagner
Aston University

" I wanted a programme which would allow me to discover a new culture, gain valuable life skills and, most importantly, make a worthwhile contribution.  Balloon was definitely the programme for me. " Clare Dickson
Cardiff University

" I learnt so much from Balloon Kenya and the locals I worked with who were truly inspirational. Such a life-changing and enjoyable experience.  " Daniel Pearson
Aston University

" They say when you leave Africa you leave a part of yourself behind. I am happy that that part of me was helping Kenyans entrepreneurs to discover the potential they had all along. " Raoul Vaswani
SOAS

" Balloon Kenya allowed me to enhance my working experience and improved my level of employability. " Richard Jenna
University of Northampton

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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