About Leadership Initiatives

The mission, vision, and values that guide our work and our programs

Empowerment through education and business

LI empowers people to take control of their circumstances through education, business creation, and the application of practical skills

Learn More

Promoting democracy and global prosperity

LI promotes the opportunity of democracy and economic prosperity to communities around the world

Learn More

Cultivating the next generation of leaders

LI offers ambitious students real-world experience, career exploration, leadership skills, and college preparation

Prepare for college and your career ahead

Develop your leadership skills and prepare for careers in law, medecine, international development, or business

About Leadership Initiatives

Leadership Initiatives is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 that is committed to bringing the opportunity of democracy and economic prosperity to communities around the world. LI empowers individuals and groups to take control of their circumstances through education, business creation, and the application of practical skills.

LI partners with local government and business leaders to provide individuals with entrepreneurial, leadership, and project management training. These leaders are able to identify obstacles, develop solutions, and create new businesses to empower themselves and their communities. In the short term this allows individuals to support themselves & their families, contribute to the local economy and create sustainable solutions to community problems. Over a longer period, an entire generation of leaders is developed that can empower an entire nation.

Over the past decade, programs designed by Leadership Initiatives have created over 54 businesses in the fields of agriculture, biology/ microbiology, computer science, information technology, and vocational skills These businesses utilize community resources and promote sustainable development across their respective villages, towns, and cities. Ultimately, the objective of the business creation and expansion programs is to utilize the expertise, idealism and ingenuity of community leaders in order to cultivate an entrepreneurial approach that mitigates obstacles to development.

What Makes Us Different

Leadership Initiatives renews democracies on a grassroots level by cultivating self-reliant leadership. We help individuals and communities forge the connections necessary to solve local problems using existing community resources. In the process we train a new generation of innovative, resourceful leaders poised to catapult their neighborhoods, regions, and nations forward.

LI also works with ambitious students from across the country to provide opportunities for them to utilize their talents to make a difference in the world while gaining hands on experience. Students delve to the root of local issues and create novel solutions firmly grounded in principles of social entrepreneurship. Each design results in new profit-generating businesses that expand capacity on a human level.

Vital services are made more accessible to the community while individual standards of living improve. And each enterprise serves as a model for similar initiatives in surrounding regions. Our community participants learn, do, and then teach others, creating an ever-expanding cycle of economic and personal growth.

In other words we transform communities to transform the world. Leadership Initiatives is the only nonprofit operating in the developing world that does all of the following:

  • Turn local ideas into local businesses

    Community members know their needs better than any outside group could. For lasting change to take hold, communities must not only choose how to improve their themselves, but they must also own those ideas to create new infrastructure and change from within.

  • Teach leaders to own and operate businesses

    Lack of planning, financial resources, and employee management skills are leading reasons new businesses fail. LI ensures that this is never the case for any business it creates with this program.

  • Provide training for each owner and employee

    Each business must be able to provide the services it says it can in order to gain community support and local investors.

  • Drive local investments

    Local investment ensures that there is a local demand for each business. It also provides motivation for investors to encourage other community members to use the business in which they have invested. This creates a local support network for any new business that LI sponsors.

  • Form partnerships with U.S. students

    Skills training funding for each new business is provided by US students who work with these local leaders to develop each business idea. This experience endows the next generation of US entrepreneurs and civic leaders with management, development and leadership experience. Furthermore, it introduces them to international development in a way that helps them understand and identify with these communities at a grassroots level.


Business Creation Pilot Program in Namibia partnership with the University of Namibia and American University


Expansion to the Philippines in partnership with American University and the University of Santo Thomas.
Expansion to Nigeria in partnership with Chase Bank and the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria.


Awarded the International Youth Foundation-YouthActionNet Fellowship


Winner of Starbucks Innovation Grant


Regional Program For Northern Nigeria created with an expansion to Bauchi State


$100,000 in donations from GlobalGiving and the Microsoft YouthSpark Foundation for business development in Nigeria.


Voted Best All-Around Nonprofit By GlobalGiving out of over 2,500 organizations and 10,520 projects.
Leadership Initiatives creates the Orphan Independence and Skills Program.
Created Global Young Innovators Sumer Program at Harvard University for High School Students Around The United States.


Leadership Initiatives expands summer education programs from Harvard to also include UCLA, Emory and the University of Chicago.
International Business Internship Program Grows To 45 schools


Leadership Initiatives partners with Georgetown University to create the International Leadership and Business Summit.
Leadership Initiatives Nigeria creates 20 new businesses in Bauchi State, Nigeria.
International Business Alliance Program renamed the International Business Internship Program and grows to 120 schools.