The E4Impact Innovation Challenge, one of the largest university business plan competition in East Africa, took place on the 29th of August in Nairobi, Kenya, at Tangaza University College. This year it featured 32 impact entrepreneurs and over 40 investors drawn from venture capital funds, Banks as well as Angel Investors.
The Challenge serves as a springboard for E4Impact’s most innovative and socially impactful enterprises. Competing for the day’s awards, the participating entrepreneurs refine and pitch for funding as they prepare to launch their enterprises.
The entrepreneurial candidates have for the previous 14 months been diligently working to develop fully fledged and investment ready business models which they have showcased at the Innovation Challenge. Successful entrepreneurs and experts from venture funds as well as angel investors served as mentors and jury to the presenters.
Access to East Africa’s top venture capitalists and managers of Banks SME division through the challenge can result in startup funds being injected to these startups. Venture firms and Angel Investors including Acumen fund, Fusion Capital, Grofin, Fanisi Capital, Land’O Lakes, Master Card Foundation, amongst others evaluated the entries, selected finalists and determined the winners.
This year the podium saw 6 woman:
- Lucy Mayer: co-director of Bubayi Products Ltd, a company that supplies high quality, high yielding and resilient bean seed to farmers in western Kenya;
- Judy Ogana:founder of GoDown Arts Center, an online platform containing information on art and culture;
- Lucy Kapkirwok: founder and CEO of Sanpad Products, an import and marketing enterprise – soon also producers – of a particular type of underwear integrating sanitary napkins. Lucy distributes this product not only in Nairobi, but also to the poorest women in rural areas of the Rift Valley and the provinces of the north and east of Kenya;
- Esther Murugi Mathenge: founder of Mama pizza, an enterprise in the food and beverage industry that delivers pizza to the crowds;
- Ronita Ghosh: manager of the Centre for Social Impact, the first“incubator”in Nairobi focused on social enterprises, supporting impact businesses;
- Kathleen Lihanda: CEO of My Career Identity, a company that offers online based career guidance service that helps teens and young adults find proper career direction and focus in life.
After the winner’s awarding, there was the launch of the E4impact Association by the event’s chief guest Mr. Darshan Chandaria– CEO Chandaria Industries an inspirational leader and entrepreneurial role model. The Association inteds to gather impact entrepreneurs around Kenya.