Citi, Foundation

Citi today announced a new grant of $250,000 to Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) as part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, a global commitment to connect urban youth to training, jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities.

19.05.2017 - 17:23:37

Citi Foundation Expands Pathways to Progress to Uganda and Kenya. The funding will support entrepreneurship and youth employment in Uganda (Gulu, Jinja and Mbale) and Kenya (Machakos and Nakuru).

Balloon Ventures is a major partner in the project and will be establishing information hubs to provide intensive advice, business support and technical expertise to the participating entrepreneurs over the coming year.

At least 50 micro-enterprises are expected to benefit. In addition, VSO will deliver a youth skills-building programme to directly address the youth unemployment challenge and develop a talent pipeline for growing small businesses. The initiative is expected to benefit 500 young people.

“By bringing the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative to Uganda and Kenya, we expect to make a big impact,” said Manolo Falco, Citi’s EMEA Corporate and Investment Banking head, “through our Volunteer Africa programme, we have been impressed by the vision, drive and commitment of small business owners in both Uganda and Kenya, and we realise how much can be achieved when they have access to the right business advice and support. Equally, we recognize the importance of providing young people with vital skills to enable them to secure jobs and thrive in today’s global economy. I am excited that this programme will directly address those two issues.”

“With estimates putting more than one in five young people out of work in Kenya, and youth unemployment on the rise in Uganda, this announcement could not be timelier. We’re delighted to be building on, as part of our Knowledge Exchange programme, the leadership and initiative Citi volunteers have shown in helping young people find employment, and coaching them to become the entrepreneurs of the future. This is just another example of the key role that the private sector can play in global efforts to tackle poverty and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals," said Chris Walker, Director of Private Sector Engagement, VSO.

"Balloon Ventures is fully committed to this programme, along with VSO. We know that entrepreneurs running their own businesses will help to defeat poverty, and this grant will support a host of Kenyan and Ugandan entrepreneurs in taking their businesses to the next level through dedicated support focused on innovation and growth" said Josh Bicknell, co-founder and CEO, Balloon Ventures.


Pathways to Progress is Citi and the Citi Foundation’s response to the persistent issue of youth unemployment globally. Led by the philanthropic efforts of the Citi Foundation, and strengthened by the active involvement of dedicated Citi volunteers, the Pathways to Progress initiative supports programs that help young people, ages 16-24, build an entrepreneurial mindset, acquire leadership, financial and workplace skills, and begin to engage in the formal economy through a first job. The Citi Foundation has made a commitment to empowering urban youth with a $100 million investment to impact the lives of 500,000 young people in cities around the world by 2020. To support these efforts, Citi is mobilizing 10,000 Citi volunteers to serve as mentors, coaches, and provide professional advice to help young people move towards their career goals.

For more information about Pathways to Progress visit Follow @Citi on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and use the hashtag #Pathways2Progress to join the discussion with those interested in youth empowerment.

For more information about Volunteer Africa please follow @Citi on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and use the hashtag #VolunteerAfrica and #CitiVolunteers.



Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Additional information may be found at | Twitter: @Citi | | Blog: | Facebook: | LinkedIn:

Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit

Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO)

VSO is the world's leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. Since 1958, VSO has been bringing people together to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and ultimately changes lives to make the world a fairer place. For more information, Media enquiries for VSO should be directed to Hratche Koundarjian, Global Media Manager, VSO, +44 20 8780 7616, +44 7905 911 039,

Balloon Ventures

Balloon Ventures is a unique social enterprise dedicated to eradicating poverty through business Since 2012, we’ve worked with small-scale entrepreneurs in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and the Philippines to build businesses and change lives. Through our dedicated and world-leading enterprise curriculum, we equip volunteers with the specialist skills and knowledge they need to have lasting, sustained impact on businesses and communities. For more information, visit Press enquiries for Balloon Ventures should be directed to Michael Pryke, 07515 397 564,


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