Thane Kreiner and I led an Executive Immersion program for 7 guests, including our advisory board members, to Kenya and Uganda. We got to see the work on the ground of 8 GSBI alumni from both the Accelerator and Online programs. They included Penda Health, Kopo Kopo, M-Farm, Juhudi Kilimo, Livelyhoods, Solar Sister, BaNaPads and Village Energy.
Purposefully it was a mix of sectors, and urban and rural. As always when we meet with these incredible, dedicated, passionate social entrepreneurs it was exhilarating and insightful.
In the next couple blog posts we'll share some of our learnings from the trip to include how to roast coffee to differences between rural and urban distribution.
· Penda Health- provides high-quality, affordable, outpatient healthcare through a chain of health clinics. By 2020 they will operate over 100 clinics across Kenya with millions of happy patients. Penda Health aims to be affordable to everyone in Kenya, including low- and middle-income population.
· Kopo Kopo- is a web based mobile payment platform that enables SME owners to accept mobile money payments. Kopo Kopo aggregates payments from multiple mobile money systems, reflects those payments on an intuitive online dashboard, and automatically posts those payments to a back-office system via a notification API.
· M-Farm- connects smallholder African farmers with urban and export markets via SMS and a web-enabled marketplace. M-Farm negotiates with buyers to create demand and assures quality through its network of agents. This motivates smallholder farmers to move beyond subsistence and into cash crops that can feed Africa and the world.
· Juhudi Kilimo- is changing the way farmers do business. They finance targeted agricultural assets for smallholder farmers and rural enterprises across Kenya. Operating exclusively in very rural areas, Juhudi Kilimo gives smallholder farmers access to the tools they need to scale up and succeed.
· Livelyhoods- taps the power of high potential youth in urban slums two create economic opportunities. They create jobs, give slum consumers access to life-changing products and assist companies to penetrate hard-to-reach markets.
· Solar Sister- eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity. By combining the breakthrough potential of solar technology with an Avon-style direct sales network, Solar Sister brings light, hope, and opportunity to even the most remote communities of rural Africa.
· BaNaPads- are cost effective sanitary pads made from the processed stems of freely available banana plants. The eco-friendly absorbent material is derived from plant and paper materials and is packaged for monthly distribution to school girls. BaNaPads fabrication centers employ and serve the female residents of the rural communities in Uganda.
· Village Energy- pioneers the local assembly of micro-home solar systems and built distribution infrastructure with rural and peri-urban based entrepreneurs at the center. Their approach to renewable energy is to view solar products as the basis upon which previously non-existent services can be delivered in off-grid communities.