Kenyan Green Pioneer Accelerator to end with June Venture Forum

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The Green Pioneer Accelerator programme, which began in Nairobi at the end of January, will finish with the Venture Forum in June, allowing graduates to interact with alumni and local and international investors.

The 16-week programme is a joint initiative of Impact Amplifier, GrowthAfrica, VC4Africa and Hivos, with Disrupt Africa reporting early this year 11 were selected to take place in the Kenyan leg of the programme and 12 in the South African version.

The startups will receive dealmaking support for the rest of 2015, while Hivos has precommitted US$100,000 for selected companies from the batch. The programme will culminate with the Venture Forum, tentatively slated for June 9.

“We are looking forward to the last workshop and Venture Forum scheduled for June 2015. Thereafter, the cohort will graduate to a bigger network of GrowthAfrica’s alumni,” GrowthAfrica said.

“The venture fair is a bi-annual event where local and international investors including angels, family and corporate foundations, VCs, and impact investors have a chance to interact with our recent graduates and alumni to see if any of these businesses fit their profile. Most interaction however happens one-on-one at each at the stand in the far, where entrepreneurs have a chance to demonstrate and showcase their innovative products and services.”

GrowthAfrica hopes the forum will act as a platform to initiate funding and partnership discussions with organisations. Graduates will have access to over 600 private sector investors and can tap into the combined networks and knowledge of the participating partner organisations.

The Green Pioneer Accelerator programme has comprised of seven two-day workshops, mentorship and speaker sessions.

“In-between workshops entrepreneurs implement the new knowledge, insights and plans they acquired and made during the workshops from interactions with peers, speakers and experts, with support from a mentor, the GrowthAfrica’s facilitators, dedicated associates and a programme manager,” the accelerator said.

Mentor matchmaking took place in the first week of the accelerator, with mentors visiting for a “speed dating” interaction and social get-together.

“We attract a phenomenal pool of vertical and horizontal mentors who are experienced entrepreneurs and senior executives, sector or topical experts with a recognised track record, or investors and investment managers of the funds likely to fund the startups once they have proven their capacity for growth and success,” GrowthAfrica said.

Mentors include Ingrid Smit, founder and managing director of Kukuzacon Africa, Ali Hussein, chief executive officer (CEO) of 3Mice, Sapna Shah, East Africa portfolio manager of Acumen, David Owino, executive director at BCS Group Limited, and Wambura Kimunyu, regional general manager for East Africa at Cheki.

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.

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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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