3 Kenyan startups to host MIT Sloan Global Entrepreneurship Lab projects

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Kenyan startups AT Labs, Lori Systems and SunCulture have been selected to host Global Entrepreneurship Laboratory (G-Lab) projects, which will help them gain significant insights from MIT MBA students.

Hosted in collaboration with the MIT Sloan School of Management, which is founder of the international entrepreneurial programme, G-Lab sees teams of MBA students from MIT Sloan working on-site in Kenya throughout this month to provide the companies with high-impact insight and analysis.

This year marks G-Lab’s 20th anniversary. Since 2000, nearly 2,500 MIT Sloan G-Lab students have worked with host companies on 643 projects at 482 startups in emerging and frontier markets in 54 countries. The three Kenyan companies were chosen based on their business models, growth potential, and successes to date.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Africa’s Talking, AT Labs is a startup studio that seeks to co-create companies with founders by giving them access to resources, including AT’s technology platform, engineering capacity, physical space, business services and access to capital. The MIT Sloan G-Lab team is working to create actionable insights to help refine for AT Labs the strategic approach to creating a sustainable operational formula for building successful startups in Africa.

Lori Systems, meanwhile, simplifies freight hauling across Africa, and having raised capital to help it scale sees an opportunity to “check in” on its business and determine some clear internal and external priorities for 2020. The G-Lab team will recommend key areas to underpin and sustain their growth.

SunCulture designs water pumps and irrigation systems that enable farmers to access a steady supply of water for agricultural and household use, engage in precision irrigation, store energy to power lights and appliances, and receive personalized farming recommendations. As the startup embarks on their “scale-up” phase, it hopes to refine and upgrade its pricing strategy. The MIT Sloan G-Lab team will assist in the development of an enhanced pricing model to support SunCulture’s growth and profitability targets.

“Across Kenya, smart people are running good companies and looking to create more good jobs,” said MIT Sloan professor Simon Johnson, who co-founded the program in 2000. “Over the past 20 years, it has been a privilege – and an education – for our students to find ways to be helpful.  Everyone returns to the United States impressed with the energy and intensity of the CEOs in these companies.”

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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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