Three remarkeable Kenyan enterpreneurs have made it to the final Top 20 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition – a flagship philanthropic programme run by the Jack Ma Foundation.
Navalayo Osembo-Ombati is the Co-Founder and CEO of Enda Athletic, Inc, a made-in-Kenya running shoe brand working towards creating jobs, investing in local communities, and spurring economic growth through exports. Since launch, she draws her motivation from her love of sports, love for country and experiences drawn from her overseas studies.
The second Kenyan is on the shortlist is Tonee Ndung’u who founded Kytabu, an inclusive and accessible digital education platform. Tonee has a stellar record of exceptional acheivements particulaly the founding of the Nailab, an ICT Tech incubator based in Nairobi. His venture in Kytabu was inspired by his past struggles with dyslexia and his desire to pursue his passion to impact the future generations through digital education.
Charlot Magayi is the founder and CEO of Mukuru Clean Stoves, a social enterprise that designs, produces and distributes reliable, safe, and affordable cooking stoves for low-cost housings in low-income areas. She has also won several accolades and recognition by the World Bank, Global Citizen, and AWIEF.
All three have overcome the challeges faced in Africa’s enterpreneurship sector as they soldier on to actualize their impressive innovations. Navalayo advises upcoming enterpreneurs to surround themselves with skillfull advisors who are experts in their respective fields for help in decision making. She further advises businesses that are product-based to understand their financials, particularly the costs and revenues. Her company looks to expand on research and development and create a stronger local presence in manufacturing, employment creation and societal impact. Tonee pointed out a major challenge facing enterpreneurs as confidence and imposter syndrome which adversely impacts on the development of African ventures looking to participate on a global stage. He advises focus, hard work, consistency, persistence and always showing up for the task as what makes the difference.
The 20 participants will enter a due diligence process and submit their pitches before a panel of top judges who will test their vision, motivation, business plan, and ability to generate a positive impact in their respective communities. The final 10 will share a $1.5 million grant, connect with ABH’s enterpeneur ecosystem, receive training and mentorship, and get global exposure.