Tony Nyagah, CEO and Founder of Strauss Energy makes a presentation during the held in Nairobi. (Photo Courtesy of GrowthAfrica).jpg

Tony Nyagah, CEO and co-Founder of Strauss Energy makes a presentation during the Growth-Africa-Green-Pioneer-Accelerator-Venture-Forum held in Nairobi. (Photo Courtesy of GrowthAfrica)

Eleven entrepreneurs showcased their clean energy innovations in a bid to pitch for partnerships and funding from various donors. The Kenyan companies were pitching to win the $50,000 pre-committed capital by Hivos.

In an event organized by GrowthAfrica, the entrepreneurs from different parts of the country showcased their energy related projects. The companies were selected to join Growthafrica’s accelerator programme from 350 applicants from Kenya, with 50 per cent of the applicants coming from outside Nairobi and 20 per cent being led by a female Chief Executive Officer.

The project dubbed ‘The 2015 Green Pioneer Accelerator program’ is as a result of a partnership between GrowthAfrica, VC4frica, Impact Amplifier and Hivos. The program seeks to mentor the entrepreneurs to a place where they can effectively interact with potential investors with the aim of receiving external capital.

Growth Africa CEO Johnni Kjelsgaard expressed his appreciation for the huge support by partners in the program.

“We are excited to present GrowthAfrica’s seventh batch of startups with amazing growth potential to our partners and local and international investors. It is great to find and support the growth of high impact enterprises being led by ambitious, skilled and dedicated entrepreneurs in Africa to strong commercial ventures,” Kjelsgaard said.

Speaking in Nairobi during the 2015 Green Pioneer Venture Forum, Senior Advisor for Financial Services and Green Entrepreneurship Leo Soldaat said that the organization was committed to support such innovative programs.

“We want to help develop a green world. And that is why we support entrepreneurs who are doing green business,” said Soldaat.

The forum brought together 11 entrepreneurs including: Afrisol Energy Limited, Classic Foods Limited, Cobitech Solar Limited, Skynotch Energy Africa, Boma Safi Limited, Consumer Choice, Limited, Strauss Energy, Plexus Energy Limited, Kencoco Limited, Sanivation and Green pencils Limited.

According to GrowthAfrica, the 11 were arrived at after an application and screening process. The companies are a blend of different businesses at different stages with 10 businesses at post revenue stage and only one at pre-revenue stage.

Peter Scott, Chief Executive of Burn Manufacturing who gave a keynote address urged the entrepreneurs present and upcoming ones to stick to their business ideas if they are to succeed. Scott, who is the founder of Burn Manufacturing and a renowned expert in cookstove commercialization said:

“Start-ups fail when the founders quit.”

He advised the cohort business leaders to first establish whether there is a need in the market before they start any business idea.

“Do not listen to the experts. Instead, listen to what the market is saying,” he advised.

“GrowthAfrica’s accelerator programme is second-to-none due to its focus on the specific reality that entrepreneurs in Africa are faced with. The Green Pioneer Accelerator has been a great network for Sanivation to refine our business model, meet fellow entrepreneurs, and really understand what it is going to take to grow our business to reaching 1 million people in the next 5 years,”

says Andrew Foote, CEO and co-founder Sanivation.

The cohorts went through several workshops, mentorship programs and venture fora. During the workshop, they interacted with experts in various organizations including: Kenya Bureau of Standards (keBS), Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KEREA), Kenya Intellectual property Institute (KIPI), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), ANDE East Africa Chapter, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Uhasibu online accounting package, iProcure and GrowthAfrica.