ACE was started in 2008 by Al Caperna with a desire to serve the poor through developing business. In 2009 Al turned over leadership to Elisabeth Cochrane to use her considerable field experience in Asia to develop ACE and lead it. ACE developed a core business training curriculum and recruited business leaders to go on “business training trips” to teach people “how to fish”. By the end of 2013, ACE had been operational in a hundred different locations in Asia and Africa and had trained over 495 people, launched 212 businesses and hosted over 10 community development consultation events.
In 2014-2016 ACE had a quiet period and was focused on training social entrepreneurs through collaboration with a partner agency using a three month or six-week format. As of July 2017 they have trained over 90 entrepreneurs to make viable business plans to start small and medium sized social businesses. “ Meanwhile, ACE also continued to host annual business events in Washington drawing business leaders to partner together to fund and mentor new start ups.
Graduates from our training programs in the Global South soon had well-researched business plans but lacked access to venture capital to implement those plans and ACE added to its toolbox of resources, impact investing to further empower social entrepreneurs to create jobs and have a social, spiritual and economic impact. In 2017 we restructured and relaunched with a fresh passion and vision to see 1000 businesses launched by 2025 and we welcome new partners to walk with us on this exciting journey of growth.