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FINCA Ventures Awards USD 400 K To Twelve African Entrepreneurs
FINCA Ventures Awards USD 400 K To Twelve African Entrepreneurs

The FINCA Ventures Prize awarded USD 400 K in grants to 12 social enterprises making a difference in sub-Saharan Africa. The first-ever competition, held on March 2024, showcased the power of social entrepreneurship and impact investing in Africa. The 12 finalists, representing both healthcare and agriculture sectors, pitched their innovative solutions to a panel of judges and an audience of around 150.

The competition awarded USD 70 K grants to the top enterprises in each of the four categories: agriculture and healthcare. Rio Fish, led by Angela Odero, which fights exploitation in the fish industry by supporting smallholder fish farmers with market access and cold chain facilities, and Kazi Yetu, a female-led agribusiness founded by Ashley Speyer, that sources and processes teas, herbs, and spices from Tanzanian farms, promoting fair trade practices, represented the agriculture segment.

Healthcare winners included, Bena Care, led by Naom Monari, uses technology to connect patients in Kenya with a network of healthcare workers, improving access and reducing costs, and Neopenda, founded by Sona Shah, focuses on medical technology with their neoGuard wearable vitals monitor that alerts healthcare providers to patients in distress.

Beyond the top prize winners, the FINCA Ventures Prize recognized several other inspiring social enterprises. CheckUps (founded by Renee Ngamau and Moka Lantum) tackles affordability in Kenya and South Sudan. They offer tech-enabled financing tools and micro-insurance, making healthcare accessible to more people. Their innovative approach earned them a USD 20 K grant. Technovera, led by Neo Hutiri, improves healthcare efficiency in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. Their locker system allows patients to collect chronic disease medication in under 30 seconds, eliminating long wait times at clinics. This second-place winner received a significant boost with their USD 20 K grant.

he competition also highlighted excellence in agricultural solutions. Baobaby, led by Ida Solitoke and Koffi Nomedji, empowers women farmers in Togo, and Sprout, founded by Ashley King-Bischof, which utilizes artificial intelligence to help Kenyan coffee farmers build resilience against climate change received USD 20 K grants each. Nigeria’s Emergency Response Africa, OneHealth, Koolboks, and Ghana’s Sommalife received USD 10 K each.