From the current crop of innovative and enterprising talents on offer from the emerging and ever-developing East African startup ecosystem, seven Kenyan entrepreneurs have been selected to join the elite class of entrepreneurs that make up the Kenyan division of Endeavor Global; a New York-based company which has its subsidiaries in various parts of the world.
Endeavor Kenya is a subsidiary of Endeavour Global, a not-for-profit organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs, develops their craft, and enables them to thrive in the ever-changing entrepreneurial scene. The company has now added these entrepreneurs to its networks, in a bid to enable them to access the requisite capital and connections required to further the growth of their various enterprises. The organization has set its sights on creating as much as 25,000 jobs by 2023 through this medium.
Endeavor Kenya was launched earlier this month in Nairobi and has wasted no time in impacting the local community of entrepreneurs. It is reported to have secured an investment of around USD 47.6 Mn by Endeavor Catalyst in local fintech, Cellulant, which is run by Mr. Ken Njoroge and Bolaji Akinboro. 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, are amongst other entrepreneurs selected.
Benson Wairegi, Chairman Endeavor Kenya, and Managing Director Britam Group are quoted as saying that since inception, the organization has collectively created more than 700,000 jobs and over USD 9 Bn in annual revenue. It raised over USD 410 Mn in growth capital in 2016 alone and promises to push for more investments in Kenya. “Unemployment is very high among young Kenyans and we need to generate more than 3.9 million new jobs by 2020,” he further stated. “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 also decried the limited support tailored for entrepreneurs and companies in this phase of growth in Kenya while reiterating Endeavor’s commitment to filling this void. “We search for, select, and support these entrepreneurs to think big and actualize their vision,” Fiona Mungai, Endeavor Kenya’s CEO, is quoted as saying. “As they scale, Endeavor entrepreneurs multiply their impact by inspiring, mentoring, and investing in those that come behind them,” she further offered.
This latest development is coming in as a follow-up to the earlier announcement of the company’s first Sub-Saharan Africa investment in Cellulant. Njoroge, CEO, and Co-founder of the fintech startup was selected as the first entrepreneur to join Endeavor Kenya, shortly after the business’ launch last year, alongside co-founder Akinboro. Together they have since leveraged Endeavor’s global network to connect with leaders in the fintech space and take advantage of investor connections towards supporting the company’s fundraising and expansion efforts.
“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.”
The funding round was led by The Rise Fund; a global impact investment fund managed by growth equity platform, TPG Growth, which is reported to have acquired a stake in Cellulant. The investment brought together Endeavor Catalyst, Satya Capital, Velocity Capital, and Progression Capital Africa. The deal is tipped to be one of the biggest of its kind yet and is exclusively centered on Africa’s fintech and payments space.
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