SMEs and Ventures

Pamoja Founders Project extends $90,000 Seed Grants to Six Food Security Champions including Akpem Terese Shadrach from Nigeria

The Pamoja Founders Project, a collaborative regional leadership development program by IREX, the PepsiCo Foundation, and PepsiCo, has provided $15,000 in catalytic support to six prominent African enterprises. The announcement came after a competitive pitch competition in Nairobi, Kenya, following a four-day boot camp for the Pamoja entrepreneurs. The winning enterprises, led by enthusiastic young innovators, are tackling crucial food security issues in their respective countries:

The $15,000 catalytic grants were given to:

· Abdul de Almeida, Co-Founder, Crimas, Orza and FAE; Mozambique

· Juliet Namwanje, Founder, Ziimba; Uganda

· Brendah Nantongo, Founder, Veathari Ventures Limited; Uganda

· Elizabeth Okullow, Founder, Agriboom; Kenya

· Dr. Akpem Terese Shadrach, Founder, Vet Konect; Nigeria

· Nathnael Tadesse, Founder & CEO, Senaryo Trading, PLC; Ethiopia.

The Pamoja Founders Project aims to provide young entrepreneurs with the necessary training, mentorship, and networking opportunities to expand their ventures. This initiative encompasses a wide range of food security solutions in countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Nigeria.During the closing ceremony, notable guests were in attendance, including representatives from IREX, the PepsiCo Foundation, and PepsiCo.

Additionally, H.E. Hon. Governor Sakaja Johnson, Governor of Nairobi City County, Kenya, United States Embassy officials, and influential figures from the business and social impact sectors were present. Their presence emphasized the significance of collaborative efforts among multiple stakeholders in addressing food security challenges across West, East, and Central Africa.George Kogolla, IREX’s Country Director for Kenya and East Africa, expressed, “We are gathered here today to celebrate and recognize the entrepreneurial spirit and journeys of the inaugural cohort of the Pamoja Founders Project.

We also commend IREX and PepsiCo for their shared dedication to investing in promising young African leaders throughout the continent. As IREX commemorates 10 years of administering the U.S. Department of State’s Mandela Washington Fellowship, Pamoja serves as a testament to our ongoing support for program alumni and their innovative solutions to Africa’s challenges.”

At the PepsiCo Foundation, we firmly believe in the power of collaboration. The Swahili word ‘Pamoja’ meaning ‘together’ perfectly encapsulates our approach to addressing challenges. By working hand in hand with our partners and the communities we serve, we ensure that our solutions are tailored to local needs for long-lasting impact,” shared C.D. Glin, President of the PepsiCo Foundation & Global Head of Social Impact for PepsiCo.

The Pamoja Founders Project, in partnership with IREX, has provided training and seed grants to 12 African food and agricultural entrepreneurs. This initiative has been instrumental in making the food system in Africa more inclusive, secure, and sustainable,” expressed Roshan Paul, Director of Leadership at IREX.

The dedication and commitment shown by the entrepreneurs in the Pamoja cohort have surpassed our expectations. Their passion and drive to enhance food security in Africa are truly commendable,” added Wael Ismail, Vice President – Corporate Affairs in Africa, Middle East, and South Asia (AMESA), PepsiCo.

IREX will continue to support the cohort as they progress through the program, and the Pamoja Founders will become part of a supportive pan-African network of IREX alumni upon completion. We also acknowledge the valuable contributions of all participants in the cohort and look forward to their continued success.

Benson Abila, Founder, M-Taka; Kenya

·       Mafeng Dangyang, Co-Founder, Kayan Gona Agro Network; Nigeria

·       Emmanuel Dusabimana, Founder, Agriboom; Uganda

·       Nalugemwa Elizabeth, Founder, Seedloans and Kyaffe Farmers Coffee; Uganda

·       Abdallah Mabrouk, Founder & Executive Director, Ibukia Shambani; Tanzania

·       Babajide Oluwase, Co-Founder and CEO, Ecotutu; Nigeria

Read more about the members of the inaugural cohort and their ventures here.

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