Accelerate Prosperity (AP) is a new global initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Central and South Asia and provides technical expertise, creative financing solutions and market connections for small and growing businesses.  It is aimed at supporting enterprise start-ups and small and medium businesses in need of acceleration.

According to AKDN, the focus is on women and youth (age 16 to 30) in rural towns and peri-urban settings, where economic opportunities often remain insufficient. It also targets entrepreneurs with low-income earnings, refugees and migrants, the unemployed and those who have not completed primary or secondary education.

The initiative combines lean startup business modeling methodologies, mentorship, angel investment networks, a digital deal flow platform, blended learning and gender-lens and youth-lens approaches. It supports beneficiaries both non-financially and financially, introducing innovative tools such as patient and tailored debt and quasi-equity in regions that have had no previous exposure.

In most cases, the services reinforce the Network’s wider efforts to address constraints to business growth in rural settings (e.g., investments in energy, telecoms and infrastructure) and work on upgrading promising agricultural and non-agricultural value chains as well as employable and soft skills. These investments reduce business risks and expand opportunities for youth entrepreneurship and employment.

As of June 2019, AP directly reached 6,000 youth (3,750 Pakistan, 1,650 Tajikistan, 600 Kyrgyz Republic).  Broader efforts including inspirational events, workshops and trainings reached about 24,000 people. Accelerate Prosperity is co-financed by the European Commission, USAID, GiZ, UNICEF, SECO, World Bank, the Aga Khan Foundation and the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development with the Industrial Promotion Services.

Founded in 2016, Accelerate Prosperity Tajikistan has gained business expertise in the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) and Khatlon province and built a network of mentors in the most promising industries, including commercial services, agri-business, tourism, ICT and textiles, and is currently scaling to new regions nationally.

Accelerate Prosperity works with partners – like the University of Central Asia's School of Professional and Continuing Education entrepreneurship program - to link graduates to mentors and provide prospective facilitation or provision of financing.