One Hen Social Entrepreneurial Nationwide Program Expansion

One Hen is a social entrepreneurship program that teaches students to create and run small businesses for the benefit of their communities.

Photo of Vanessa Plant
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Written by


  • I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
  • I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
  • My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States


  • Woman

Where are you making a difference?

One Hen is a social entrepreneurship program operated by Boston Scores currently delivered in Boston and at our New York, Chicago, Cleveland, and San Francisco affiliates. Our curriculum is also available through our website & implemented internationally (largest active partner is in Haiti).

Focus Areas (required)

  • Business & Social Enterprise
  • Children & Youth
  • Civic Engagement
  • Development & Prosperity
  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Health & Fitness
  • Human Rights & Equality
  • Peace & Harmonious Relations

Date Started

One Hen was launched in 2008 & acquired by Boston Scores (est. 1999) in 2016.

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)


  • $100k - $250k

Website or social media URL(s) (optional)

One Hen website: Boston Scores website: Boston Scores is also active on Instagram at @BostonScores

Twitter URL

One Hen Twitter: @onehenscores Boston Scores Twitter: @BostonScores

Facebook URL

Boston Scores Facebook: @BostonScores

LinkedIn URL

Boston Scores LinkedIn:

1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.

The One Hen program was inspired by the award-winning children's book, One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, by author Katie Smith Milway. The book tells the story of a young Ghanaian boy named Kojo who makes a big difference by buying one hen, which in turn lays eggs and hatches more hens, until he eventually becomes the largest chicken farmer in the country. One Hen aims to inspire other young social entrepreneurs to follow in Kojo's footsteps. We do this by providing resources that enable youth from around the world to learn about personal initiative, financial literacy, global awareness, and giving back.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Urban youth lack access to financial resources such as micro-loans and don't understand how to translate access to financial resources into personal wealth and the means to solve community needs. Teaching students social entrepreneurship translate to improvements in students' lives and for the community. Our programs educate students on these crucial lessons and, in doing so, open new career and civic engagement opportunities.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Since the 2016 acquisition of One Hen, more than 2,000 at-risk youth have benefited from the program. These young people have learned about earning, spending wisely, saving, sharing and investing. With this financial foundation, youth identify a social need and receive a small business start-up loan so they can earn money to help address that need. In just two years, One Hen’s participants have started small businesses through which they have raised thousands of dollars to support social issues such as violence reduction in their communities, animal rights, and poverty alleviation.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.

The growth of our program is nicely demonstrated by a recent team of female students who looked more broadly at how other types of resources can be secured to advance a business objective. The girls team from the BTU school in Boston were the only team that did not accept a micro loan this year. They named their business Soccer Girls Empowerment. After doing research and realizing that 1/3 of women are likely to be sexually harassed, they decided to make bracelets with motivating messages to encourage victims. 100% of the materials to make their fashion jewelry were donated or collected, thus negating the need for a loan, and 30% of their profit was donated to BARCC (Boston Area Rape Crisis Center). This example demonstrated these girls creativity and understanding resource utilization all while addressing an important community need and increasing the sustainability of their business.

5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?

America SCORES serves over 14,000 students, 85% below the poverty line, in 194 public and charter schools in 12 major cities. One Hen is expanding to Scores affiliates across the country. In 2017, New York SCORES piloted One Hen in Harlem, with the first school raising $1,700 for local charity through a bakery business! In 2018, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Cleveland SCORES affiliates will all roll out the program. Our goal is to train all 12 affiliates in the US and Canada by 2020.

5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:

  • language
  • race/ethnicity
  • gender
  • age - youth
  • socio-economic class

6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Organizations like Junior Achievement are doing similar work to Boston Scores although they do not have the civic engagement or micro-loan components. The One Hen website is a place where educators receive the resources they need to teach the One Hen program and where youth engage in interactive and educational games, stories, and videos. Upcoming embedded language translation will soon help educators from around the world to access the curriculum and stay connected.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

One Hen’s social entrepreneurship program is thriving under the Boston Scores umbrella. In partnership with 34 Boston Public Schools, in 2017 we: •Expanded the middle school program from one-season to a full-year •Added elements of the One Hen curriculum to our elementary program, serving as a bridge to our middle school program •Piloted a high school workshop series, adapting One Hen’s social entrepreneurial lessons to include personal and college finance. Participants in our One Hen workshops showed: •70% increase in business math comprehension among middle school students •100% increase in the understanding the use and benefits of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) among high school students.

8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?

Outside of the Scores network, One Hen’s impact continues through licensing to NGOs such as Help for Haiti, national networks like Citizen Schools and international schools in India, China, Vietnam and more.

8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?

  • Franchising, Licensing, Accreditation
  • Trainings, Consultation

9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our proposal leverages our network of independent affiliates with established roots in their local communities. After piloting the One Hen program, they will be able to engage local businesses, individuals and foundations to support their affiliates on an ongoing basis.

10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Dwayne Simmons is the Director of One Hen has been with Boston Scores for over 12 years. He has run all aspects of the program since Boston Scores' acquisition of One Hen in 2016 and has worked to incorporate the social entrepreneur principles into our elementary programs as well as build a high school social entrepreneur curriculum that includes personal and business finances, global issues and philanthropy. Ive Mendoza, Senior Academic Program Manager, supports all One Hen programming.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 - Which of the following categories do you identify with? (optional)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French)
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian)
  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc)
  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani)
  • Native American or Alaska Native (for example: Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupial Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community)
  • Middle Eastern or North African (for example: Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, Algerian)
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (for example: Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, Marshallese)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 - Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities? (optional)

  • Communities of color
  • Disability community
  • Low-income community
  • LGBTQ community
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Overall, would you champion this entry as a excellent example to move forward to the next phase of the challenge and become a semifinalist?

Yes, absolutely! - 75%

Yes/maybe - 25%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 25%

Maybe - 25%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

3. Is this entry IMPACTFUL on financial wellbeing?

Yes, absolutely! - 75%

Yes/maybe - 25%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Is this entry SUSTAINABLE?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

5. What are some of the HIGHLIGHTS of strengths of this entry?

Connection to underserved community - 100%

Clarity of Model - 66.7%

Clarity of Writing - 100%

Idea Originality - 33.3%

Understanding of the marketplace or sector - 100%

Impact measurement - 33.3%

Impact Potential - 66.7%

Financial Sustainability - 33.3%

Team - 66.7%

Partnerships - 33.3%

Potential to scale - 0%

6. What are some of the areas for IMPROVEMENT of this entry?

Connection to underserved community - 0%

Clarity of Model - 0%

Clarity of Writing - 0%

Idea Originality - 0%

Understanding of the marketplace or sector - 0%

Impact measurement - 0%

Impact Potential - 50%

Financial Sustainability - 0%

Team - 0%

Partnerships - 50%

Potential to scale - 100%

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Brittany Corner

Great idea to motivate and inspire young people