“Pitch for Impact” Competition Hosted by Case Foundation, Village Capital and SorensonCenter Highlights East Africa’s Burgeoning Social Entrepreneurship Sector
NAIROBI, Kenya – July 24, 2015 – Ojay Greene, an agribusiness that produces and sources fresh fruits and vegetables from smallholder farmers to sell to urban markets in Kenya, was announced as the winner of a $100,000 investment prize today at a pitch competition hosted at Nairobi’s iHub by the Case Foundation, Village Capital and the Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center. Iconic American entrepreneurs, investors and philanthropists Jean and Steve Case, accomplished East African telecom services entrepreneur and founder/CEO of MODE Julian Kyula, the Sorensen Global Impact Investing Center founded by esteemed investor Jim Sorenson and the DOEN Foundation, one of the most active grantmakers and investors in East Africa, contributed to the investment prize.
The event, “Pitch for Impact,” brought together eight companies offering for-profit solutions to drive social impact, and represented East Africa’s burgeoning social enterprise sector. Fellow entrepreneurs, investors and other key players in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem were in the audience to cheer the pitching companies on. The five investors judged the pitch competition, with Nina Tellegen representing the DOEN Foundation and Ross Baird from Village Capital serving as MC.
“Ojay Greene represents the promise that Africa is truly open for business,” said Steve Case. “We’re delighted to be in Nairobi, a rising entrepreneurial ecosystem not just in East Africa but in the world, and a great example of the increasing democratization of entrepreneurship.”
“We’re proud to have been investing in Africa for more than a decade, largely through grants to innovative NGOs from the Case Foundation,” said Jean Case. “As believers in the idea that entrepreneurs and for-profit business models have a huge role to play in solving some of the world’s biggest problems, we’re delighted to expand our support to innovators in the private sector through this week’s focus on entrepreneurship in Africa.”
Prior to the “Pitch for Impact” event, audience members were treated to a panel discussion featuring Jean and Steve Case, who have come to Nairobi as part of the US delegation representing the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, Jim Sorenson, renowned entrepreneur and investor, and Kamau Gachigi, co-founder of Nairobi-based Gearbox.
In addition to the winner, companies who pitched include:
● Chamasoft: a simple to use web application that allows groups to manage all their affairs. It is ideal for Chamas (Swahili word for groups), investment companies, saccos, youth groups, women groups and religious groups.
● EFK Group: produces energy and agriculture products for industrial customers through a no-waste manufacturing process based entirely on the Croton nut, which grows indigenously across eight African countries and has no other commercial, productive or edible use.
● FarmDrive: seeking to transform the way smallholder farmers get access to financial services, through services including Farmer Record Keeping, Funding Connection and Data Analytics.
● FuturePump: producers of The Sunflower irrigation pump, which offers smallholder farmers a cheaper, cleaner and more sustainable alternative to costly and polluting petrol or diesel pumps.
● Mifugo.Trade: An online livestock exchange that directly connects livestock producers and buyers, helping producers increase profits.
● Politk: an interactive platform where youth in Africa can interact with the public officials and causes they support, and share their passions with their friends in social circles.
● Strauss Energy: bringing cost-effective renewable energy to businesses and households using solar-powered roofing tile designed and made in Kenya.
About the Case Foundation
Established by digital pioneers Jean and Steve Case, the Case Foundation invests in people and ideas that can change the world. For nearly two decades, we have focused on creating programs and investing in people and organizations that harness the best impulses of entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and collaboration to address urgent social challenges. Our work is focused on three key pillars: revolutionizing the philanthropic sector, unleashing the power of entrepreneurship to create social change and igniting civic engagement through citizen-driven solutions. For more information, visit www.casefoundation.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
About the DOEN Foundation
The DOEN Foundation believes that a green, socially-inclusive and creative society is possible. DOEN promotes people and enterprises that take the lead in the field of sustainable, cultural and social innovation with revenues of the Dutch Postcode Lottery. People with the courage to take risks in order to put their often pioneering ideas into practice and so inspire others. DOEN offers these people financial support and brings them together to connect them. Annually, DOEN supports between 200 and 300 initiatives by means of grants, participations, loans and guarantees, in the Netherlands and internationally with a specific focus on East-Africa and India. Please visit: www.doen.nl
At MODE, infinite possibilities are more than just words. They are the backbone of our beliefs. We not only provide revolutionary solutions to everyday problems, we also give opportunities for everyone to pursue Infinite Possibilities. Infinite Possibilities is about having unlimited ideas and indestructible dreams.
MODE, is an innovation Company that specializes in providing innovative technological Value Added Service (VAS), designed for use on the Mobile handset. MODE has spread its physical footprint globally with offices in Nairobi, London, Delhi, Lagos, Dubai and Johannesburg, with operations over 24 markets across the globe.
Our Vision – To be the leader in unlocking infinite possibilities.
Our Mission – MODE delivers world-class technology-driven solutions to you, wherever you are.
About Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center
The mission and purpose of the James Lee Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center (SGII Center) is to accelerate and advance the understanding and application of principles of free enterprise to create scalable and sustainable, global societal change.
Created through a $13 million gift from James Lee Sorenson, the SGII Center at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business seeks to provide students with real-world experience and interaction with industry leaders in the impact investing space. SGII seeks to maintain lasting partnerships in the impact investing space by providing meaningful due diligence bandwidth and syndication services on deals and initiatives. Projects can range from market analysis to business strategy and financials, not only adding value to the organization and its partners but also providing an unparalleled education opportunity to the students.
About Village Capital
Village Capital finds, trains, and invests in entrepreneurs solving global challenges. We build communities around entrepreneurs that improve business success. Our peer selection model delivers better results for entrepreneurs and investors. Over the past five years, Village Capital has supported over 500 entrepreneurs worldwide and invested in 50 enterprises; companies have created 7,000 jobs, served six million customers, and raised over $100 million.
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