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US investors promise to partner with Kenyan entrepreneurs

By Ally Jamah | July 25th 2015

Nairobi, Kenya: Some top American entrepreneurs and investors who are in the country for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit have promised to work with local businesses.

Speaking during an evening cocktail at the residence of Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero, the business heavyweights said they were impressed by the robust entrepreneurship spirit among Kenyans.

Among them were Mr Stephen McConnell, the co-founder of American Online (AOL), a multinational media corporation based in New York City which is involved in digital distribution of content, products, and services.

“I am impressed by Kenyan entrepreneurs with their creativity and motivation. US investors can be convinced to put their money in Kenya and partner with local entrepreneurs.  This will greatly benefit both parties,” he said on Thursday night.

McConnell, who is popularly known as "Steve Case", was accompanied by his wife, Jean Case who runs the Case Foundation, which harnesses entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and collaboration to drive businesses.

On her part, Mrs Case said that the vibrant entrepreneurial activities in Kenya will go a long way in reducing poverty in the country much faster than anticipated. She called on the government to provide an enabling environment to allow businesses to thrive and create jobs and wealth.

"We look forward to partner with Kenyan entrepreneurs whom are offering the solutions that Kenya and Africa needs in dealing with its challenges such as poverty and unemployment," she said.

Susan Mboya-Kidero, who is the President of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and wife of the Nairobi Governor said that the cocktail was meant to link Kenyan entrepreneurs with those of the US to exchange ideas and grow partnership between them.

"We believe that young Kenyan entrepreneurs can have the opportunity of learning and being mentored by top US businesses and also have a chance to attract investors to fund their business ideas," she said.

She added, “The US entrepreneurs have come to encourage young entrepreneurs in Kenya and share with them advice and ideas on how to move forward despite any challenges that may exist."

Other US entrepreneurs who were present include Sriram Kaufaman, Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship who raised Sh150 million in 1999 by leveraging on the power of online communities to help cyclone victims in India.

 Among the Kenyan entrepreneurs who engaged the US investors and businessmen was Ayisi Makatiani, the Managing Partner and CEO of Fanisi Capital Ltd, which manages the Fanisi Venture Capital Fund for investing in East Africa.

Others were Anne Githuku-Shongwe, a digital innovator and Danson Muchemi the founder of JamboPay, which is a leading online payment platform that is gaining popularity in the country.

Others who joined the group for the cocktail included Cabinet secretary for Industrialisation, Adan Mohammed and businessman Dr Chris Kirubi.

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