Kenyan startups selected to form Green Pioneer Accelerator cohort

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Eleven Kenyan startups have been selected to take part in the Green Pioneer Accelerator, aimed at assisting green entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses and offering the chance to earn EUR50,000 (US$58,000) in funding.

Disrupt Africa reported last month the programme, which was announced in September and is a joint initiative of Impact Amplifier, GrowthAfrica, VC4Africa and Hivos, received 249 applications.

The 11 companies selected have now been named, and will take part in a 16-week acceleration program beginning today (January 22), also receive dealmaking support for the rest of 2015.

“The uniqueness of this batch is the diversity of the social enterprises tackling some of Africa’s most pressing sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and environmental concerns,” GrowthAfrica said.

“GrowthAfrica will take the entrepreneurs through a unique combination of facilitated learning, peer-based learning and mentoring by some of Africa’s most experienced entrepreneurs, C-suite executives and technical specialists. All this is leveraging GrowthAfrica’s innovative methodology and learning, discovery and planning tool – the ImpactCompass.”

Upon successful graduation, Hivos will make EUR50,000 (US$58,000) in financial capital available to the best companies, which will then showcased to a group of investors and early-stage venture capital funds.

“The selected entrepreneurs were identified after a rigorous multi-phase selection process which focused on the viability of their businesses, the strength of the teams, and their potential to solve huge challenges through innovative products and creative solutions,” GrowthAfrica said.

The eleven startups selected for the programme in Kenya include Strauss Energy, which is building an integrated photo voltaic roofing tile for residential houses and commercial units, Afrisol Energy, which specialises in design, installation and maintenance of biogas digesters, Boma Safi, which sells affordable solar products, clean cook stoves and briquettes to rural households, and Classic Foods, which processes dairy products, fruit juice, tomato sauce, honey, flour milling and manufactures animal feeds.

The rest of the cohort is made up of Cobitech Solar, which provides solar kits on loan to rural poor households for repayment within one year, Consumer’s Choice, which produces Bio-Ethanol Gel and environmentally friendly clean cook stoves, Green Pencils, which sources old newspapers to produce customized pencils and ball pens, Kencoco, which uses coconut shells, husks and other biomass material to produce charcoal briquettes and sells to households and institutions, Plexus Energy, which distributes off-grid power solutions such solar lighting, Sanivation, which installs portable toilets and charges a monthly fee to provide household sanitation and energy services, and Skynotch Energy Africa, which runs a mini-hydro power generation plant.

Hivos programme manager Leo Soldaat said: “Hivos is very concerned about the environment. We see many problems such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and degradation of soils. In order to address these issues, Hivos wants to co-create private sector driven green innovation. We continue to support green pioneers working to tackle these constraints by positioning them for growth and improving their access to capital. We see the Green Pioneer Accelerator Programme as an important next step in developing ventures in these markets, further extending our work into these areas.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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