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The Enterprise Fund

Sage Foundation

Applications for the Enterprise Fund are currently closed.

Sage Foundation's Enterprise fund backs nonprofits brightest ideas 

Applications for the Sage Foundation Enterprise fund are now open.

Every day, across the world, inspiring nonprofit leaders, volunteers and their supporters are working tirelessly to make your communities better places to live.

Too often we see small nonprofits with exceptional ideas on the brink of delivering change, unable to make their idea a reality due to a lack of funds.

We want to help you build opportunities from your bright ideas

The Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund will support the creation of either new or piloted entrepreneurial programs or initiatives that may go no further due to funding challenges. 

We are committed to helping the most enterprising solutions become a reality in our communities. That’s why our fund is only open to nonprofits with an income of less than $2M.

What are we looking for?

Enterprising and entrepreneurial ideas to help improve the lives of either: military veterans, young people or women and girls in 21 the countries where we operate around the world.

What are our key focus areas?

We have four key themes that underpin our work and shape how we contribute toward our communities:

  • Education
  • Enterprise & Employment
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Health & Well-being

What type of activity will we fund?

Through the creation of either new or piloted entrepreneurial programs or initiatives, we want to help you:

  • Build on your existing success and support the delivery of your overall mission
  • Generate additional income to make your organization stronger and more sustainable
  • Deliver innovative solutions that tackle issues in the towns and cities where Sage has offices

What funding will we award?

A limited number of grants between $5,000 - $25,000 will be awarded from this $500,000 Enterprise Fund.

Hear from 3 organizations that have already been supported by Sage Foundation's Enterprise Fund in 2017

Retired members of 31 Battalion — a group of San military veterans – have embraced entrepreneurship as a means to uplift their communities and supplement their incomes. Residing in Platfontein, an arid region of the Northern Cape Province, the soldiers are members of a community with limited access to government services and employment opportunities.

The retired military veterans subsist on small pensions, and some have no income at all. Major General Johann Dippenaar (Rtd) — Chairperson of the Council of Military Veterans' Organisations of South Africa — believed that helping them to build small businesses of their own could offer them a sustainable way to improve their living conditions.

Military veterans transitioning into civilian life are an often-neglected group around the world, which is why the Sage Foundation has identified veterans as one of three groups for support and funding.

“There is a strong need for social innovation in the Platfontein community, which has endured much hardship as the result of being relocated from Angola to Schmidsdrift in the 1970's, and then from there to Platfontein,” says Dr. Andreas Velthuizen, a Senior Researcher in the Institute for Dispute Resolution at Unisa, who is working with Sage and the Council of Military Veterans on this initiative.

How did Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund help?

Thanks to a successful application to Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund, Sage will help fund the creation of an entrepreneurship center where Platfontein residents will be able to get business advice and training in entrepreneurship.

Sage colleagues are also helping to train a core group of trainers from the aspiring entrepreneurs in the community, who in turn will be able to help train others in basic business skills and equip them with the knowledge they need to run their own businesses.

Battalion 31 members who have received training from Sage in January are already running small businesses ranging from livestock farming to take-out food shops and catering to hairdressing to arts and crafts.

The partnership with the Platfontein Community and the Council of Military Veterans' Organisations addresses two subjects Sage Foundation is passionate about: transforming lives through social innovation and entrepreneurship, and supporting military veterans and Sage colleagues are ready to support this project and its potential to uplift the Platfontein community.

 The French nonprofit, Social Builder, launched in 2011 with the vision of making sure gender equality is a top priority for decision-makers in France, especially in the digital economy. They are working tirelessly to ensure the acceleration of the digital economy goes hand in hand with a step forward in advancing gender diversity. Simply put, a modern digital economy must be fair.

Women’s participation in French digital jobs is critical. There is an increasing demand for talent in this sector. Yet, current figures show that only one-third of women in France work in the digital economy, only 10% of women attend digital training during their career and only 5% of women choose to go to an engineering school.

However, there is a positive transformation taking place. More women are succeeding in the digital economy and Social Builder aim to bridge that gap through programs such as ‘Etincelles’ that helps young, unemployed and talented women from different backgrounds find a good digital job. 200 women have been supported in the past two years, with a 90% success rate.

And the approach works

Since its creation, Social Builder has had a major impact in developing the leadership capacity of 5,000 young and talented professional women. An impressive 80% of Social Builder trainees find a job at the end of the program or secure additional training.

The team see a big increase in the confidence of the women, who feel they can take greater control over their career after working with them. They also use the strong Social Builder community to keep getting more visibility of the digital world and start to build their own professional network.

A Common Vision

Social Builder and Sage Foundation share a common vision. Both recognize that it’s essential for businesses and nonprofits to be “connected to the evolution of society; to be aware of the changing needs and expectations of their communities”. Motivated by a belief that innovation can deliver social progress, the Social Builder team successfully applied for an Enterprise Fund grant.

The investment from Sage Foundation will increase the outreach of the Social Builder program to an extra 60 trainees, who will develop the skills required to succeed in the digital sector. It will also allow the team to expand their programs to more unemployed young women from diverse backgrounds, and increase opportunities for new partnerships and funding, so Social Builder can expand throughout France.

This expansion will be supported by a professional training program, focused on leadership activities developing professional goals. The extra funding will also support program coordination, essential for scaling up and funding salaries, for the outstanding coaches who support the trainees.

Thinking of applying? Here’s what Social Builder said:

“If you’re thinking of applying, you should. Because - unity makes strength - all digital actors must participate in the digital transformation to deliver real impact and change our society. Everyone is in charge of the future of the world, so apply and you may benefit just like we did”.

Tell us about PowerMyLearning?

PowerMyLearning helps teachers, students and parents in high-poverty school communities harness the power of digital learning, to improve student achievement toward college and career readiness.

How do you achieve that?

We help schools leverage technology and digital learning to promote STEM literacy. Our school-based model includes professional development, family engagement services, and our digital learning platform.

Our comprehensive educator support and family engagement services transform traditional classrooms into 21st-century learning environments, that embrace student-centered learning, enable personalized instruction and student-driven learning, while also increasing home technology access and parental involvement in their children’s learning.

I am proud to say that we have served over 9,000 students, and their families and teachers across 25 schools.

Why is your work so important?

For the first time in recent history, more than half of U.S. K-12 students are from low-income backgrounds. In this cohort, 80% are not proficient in core STEM subjects, which are subjects critical to future career readiness.

Where we are, in Georgia, we have the third lowest graduation rate in the country.

PowerMyLearning is seeking to fix these issues through digital learning.

How have you been supported by The Sage Foundation?

We received our first grant from the Sage Foundation in 2016. This supported our Family Engagement Program for one school during the 2016/17 school year.

We decided to apply to the Enterprise Fund because of the alignment with our mission. Sage Foundation is committed to helping more people reach their true potential. PowerMyLearning believes that students can reach their full potential by graduating from high school prepared for work and life. We strive to help students achieve these goals every day.

We were delighted to be awarded a grant. It will support the expansion of our Digital Learning Services to an Atlanta-area public elementary school – where between 70% - 100% students qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch.

What outcome do you expect to see?

PowerMyLearning is a data-driven organization that uses metrics to measure the success of our programs. Through student test scores and surveys, we determine how effective our services are in reaching our goals. While we won’t know the impact of this work until the end of the 2016-17 school year, we anticipate these likely outcomes:

  • Student Test Scores Improve: Our partner schools typically experience growth in math proficiency that is 7 percentage points more per year than comparison schools and 8 times the national average.
  • Students Own Their Learning: Nearly 75% of students report that participating in our program lets them learn the way they like to learn, find activities to help them learn things they don't understand, understand their strengths and weaknesses with mathematics concepts and explore topics that interest them on their own.
  • Parents are Engaged in Learning: 99% of families feel more connected to their child's school and are more confident in helping their child with learning at home. Parents also report an increased perception of their child's ability to learn and are more comfortable talking with their children about learning goals and progress.


How can people support you?

You can visit our website to make a donation, donate computers, and sign up to volunteer with PowerMyLearning. Just visit You can also engage with and follow us on Twitter and Facebook @powermylearning.

How do I apply?

We have built a new and improved application form. Before you start, you’ll be able to read helpful tips and FAQs on completing the form. You’ll also now be able to save your application as you go.

Before you start, please read the basic criteria for this fund. If you answer ‘No’ to any of these questions, we recommend you do not apply.

We can still help. The Sage Foundation could support you with a product donation. 

Enterprise Fund Criteria Checklist

  • You must be a recognized/registered charity or nonprofit organization in accordance with local country governance and laws
  • Your organization must have an income that is less than $2M
  • Your organization’s work must focus on either supporting Military Veterans, Young People (up to 25 years) and/or Women and Girls
  • Your funding request is to support projects or initiatives that have been operational for two years or less
  • Your funding request must be for work that is delivered and benefits communities within a 50-km radius of a qualifying Sage office. Please note: Locations will be detailed in the application form.
  • Your organization must be able to provide volunteer opportunities for Sage colleagues to support you and / or your work