Kenyan entrepreneurs admitted to global elite business club

From left; Endeavor Kenya chairman and Britam Group MD Mr Benson Wairegi, board directors Sylvia Mulinge (Safaricom), Endeavor’s Global CEO & Co-founder Linda Rottenberg, Darshan Chandaria (Chandaria Industries) and Sachen Chandaria (Orbit Chemicals) Industries) during the launch of Endeavor Kenya at Aspire Centre in Nairobi on July 6, 2018
The local unit of a New York-based Endeavor Global has selected seven Kenyan entrepreneurs to join its network in a move expected to enable them to access capital and grow their businesses.

Endeavor Kenya – the local offshoot of Endeavor Global – expects the companies to create over 25,000 jobs locally by 2023. Endeavor, a not-for-profit organisation, supports high-impact entrepreneurs.

The organisation, which was officially launched in Nairobi last week, made an immediate impact, securing Sh4.8 billion investment by Endeavor Catalyst, in local digital payments provider Cellulant. Cellulant is run by Mr Ken Njoroge and Bolaji Akinboro-two entrepreneurs under its mentorship.

Others selected are Paul Mbugua of Eclectics International, Grant Brooke of Twiga Foods, Wandia Gichuru of Vivo Activewear and Bilha Ndirangu and Samuel Gikandi of Africa’s Talking.

Endeavor Kenya chairman and Britam Group MD Benson Wairegi said that collectively, the organisation has created more than 700,000 jobs and generated over Sh1 trillion annual revenue.

It raised Sh41.3 billion in growth capital in 2016 alone, promising to push for more investments in Kenya.

Real heroes

"Unemployment is very high among young Kenyans and we need to generate more than 3.9 million new jobs by 2020," said Mr Wairegi.

"Endeavor believes that the real heroes of job creation and economic growth are the small subsets of entrepreneurs who scale to contribute the lion’s share of net new jobs."

He, however, regretted the limited support tailored for entrepreneurs and companies in this phase of growth in Kenya. He added that Endeavour would strive and fill the gap.

"We search for, select, and support these entrepreneurs to think big and actualise their vision," Endeavor Kenya CEO Fiona Mungai said.

"As they scale, Endeavor entrepreneurs multiply their impact by inspiring, mentoring, and investing in those that come behind them."

Endeavor through its co-investment Venture Capital Fund-Endeavor Catalyst, announced its first Sub Sahara Africa investment in Cellulant.

Cellulant co-founder and CEO Njoroge was selected as the first entrepreneur from Endeavor Kenya, shortly after the office’s launch in 2017, and, along with co-founder Akinboro, has since tapped into Endeavor’s global network to connect with thought leaders in the payments space and leverage investor connections to support the company’s fundraising and expansion efforts.

The round was led by The Rise Fund, a global impact investment fund managed by growth equity platform TPG Growth that acquired a stake in Cellulant with the deal, with investment from Endeavor Catalyst, Satya Capital, Velocity Capital, and Progression Africa.

The deal is the largest of its kind dedicated solely to Africa’s fintech and payments space, competitively positioning Cellulant in a fast-growing sector where it already enjoys an early mover advantage.

"Endeavor is excited to be part of this round for Cellulant," said Ms Mungai.

"Ken and Bolaji have demonstrated that Africa has high impact entrepreneurs who are innovating world-class solutions.

"We look forward to supporting Ken and Bolaji in their next phase of growth as they emerge as a story of hope and inspiration to other entrepreneurs who are scaling up their businesses."

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