Gabaza Tiba | Oct 5, 2023
GEC+ Africa’s pursuit of emerging African entrepreneurs led to Nairobi, Kenya following a two-month-long search in preceding host countries, Nigeria and Algeria and online, in Uganda, Malawi and Namibia.
In partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Kenya, Junior Achievement (JA Kenya) and the National Commercial Bank of Africa (NCBA), GEC+Africa hosted another successful pitch event that attracted a young and vibrant audience, which complimented the overall composition of the shortlisted businesses.
The competition showcased innovative, relevant and uniquely Kenyan startups in the wide-ranging fields of human resources, medical services, agri-tech and fashion. In her opening, GEC+Africa Project lead Carmen Rossouw expressed her gratitude to the JA Kenya Team for their co-operation throughout the selection process and urged all present stakeholders to seek new ways in which to unify Africa through entrepreneurship. Her presentation focused on the mandate and mission of the 2024 Global Entrepreneurship Congress of “Connecting Africa” through the Global Entrepreneurship Network, and the GEC+Africa lead-up activity’s intention to identify and invite fifteen inspiring entrepreneurs to the global pitching stage in Cape Town to forge continent-wide entrepreneurial networks. A panel discussion followed with NCBA Representative Constance Ouna, Country Lead of Hindsight Ventures Sonia Claire and founder/CEO of Electrixitaty Emmanuel Mulengwa, where panellists shared insights and perspectives that would provide valuable guidance for startups and stakeholders in the creative sector, as well as assist them in exploring the creative economy, its impact, adaptability and the various ways to help support the next generation of creative entrepreneurs.
Pitchers received excellent coaching from the Head of Startups in Africa at Google, Folarin Aiyegbusi, only twenty-four hours beforehand. Within their three-minute time-limit, the founders confidently set themselves apart from their competitors by neatly articulating their problem statements, offering their distinctive value propositions and strategy roadmaps.
The judging process assessed business model viability, competitive advantage and team execution-capacity over time, resulting in three winners, one of whom will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the 2024 GEC+Africa Cape Town pitching stage, along with 14 other African entrepreneurs.
Third runner-up was Duqha, a startup that optimizes African micro-stores with technology – transforming how they move goods to mass-markets. The second runner-up was Farmer Lifeline Technologies, which offers farm-management and sustenance for farmers by using technology and pay-as-you-go models.
Rethread Africa took top spot for its “revolutionary biodegradable alternative to polyester and nylon”. Its efficient manufacturing process converts pineapple leaves into fibre, durable enough for clothing, replacing leather and enabling a closed-loop process and reducing resource use by 99%, while slashing CO2 emissions by 80%.
The award-winning business has scaled impressively and promises to revolutionize the face of fashion. Marketing Lead Noreen Mwancha humbly received the award and thanked GEC+Africa for the opportunity to pitch their innovation, which she said validated her teams’ hard work and tenacity. “To watch us go from a simple farm makes it all worth it, especially during the times when people used to laugh at us about our ideas. I want to tell all the entrepreneurs to keep going and never give up.”
The search for more ground-breaking businesses and entrepreneurs continues!
To find out more about the next pitching competition taking place in your country, visit https://gecafrica.co/lead-up-activities/
To register for the GEC+Africa Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, from 13 – 14 March 2024, visit https://gecafrica.co/
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