The “NINJA Accelerator in Kenya”, powered by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) alongside Double Feather Partners, Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support, Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory, and GrowthAfrica began their first week with a virtual event hosted in Nairobi. The kick-off mentions five high-potential Kenyan ventures, a tailored intensive program, and an opportunity to take part in an international experience from Nairobi to Tokyo and Silicon Valley.
Five ventures were picked in the selection process out of a pool of 178 Serie A applicants looking to join the first cohort of the Japan-led NINJA accelerator held in Kenya.
Sokowatch: Daniel Yu (CEO) – an e-commerce and logistics platform focussing on FCMG consumer goods, mom & pop stores, allowing merchants to order products via SMS or mobile app.
Kwara: David Hwan (COO) & Cynthia Wandia (CEO) – digital banking platform for savings and credit cooperatives and their members.
Amitruck: Mark Mwangi (CEO) – digital marketplace connecting clients to transporters in a secure, convenient, and competitive manner.
Cinch Markets: Alexander Fankuchen (CEO) – works with smallholder farmers in Kenya to aggregate land to commercial parcels.
Zana Africa: Megan Mukuria (CEO) – helps young women live healthy lives thanks to feminine hygiene products arrived at through green manufacturing processes.
Keiji Katai, the Senior Director of Private Sector Development Group at JICA, described the quality of the applicants in the first cohort as “extremely impressed.”
Startups participating in the program benefit from global exposure. A “global roadshow” is scheduled for early 2022 and will involve startups that took part in cohorts 1 and 2. In this event, Deloitte and DFP will take their founders on a Tokyo business trip.
Benefits of the NINJA Accelerator in Kenya
- Wide pool of mentorship drawn from local, Japanese, and international mentors
- The needs are clearly defined during the Bootcamp followed by intense capacity building, in-business support, and networking.