Kenyan start-up guns for Sh103m Chivas funding

Moringa farmers in Taita Taveta. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Moringa farmers in Taita Taveta. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A Kenyan social enterprise, Kilifi Moringa Estates, is in the race for a share of a $1 million (Sh103 million) fund after making it to the finals of the Chivas Venture 2018.

Chivas Venture, the brainchild of whisky brand Chivas Regal, is an annual start-up competition conceptualised to fund promising social start-ups from around the world.

Kilifi Moringa Estates supports small-scale farmers to grow moringa, a plant is widely grown in the area. The plant is used in domestic oil, medical and cosmetic production.

The firm, which is represented by its managing director Papu Haroon, is among 26 other global social entrepreneurs who will battle it out for the five slots that guarantee the funding.

“I can win this thing for Kenya. I know how to do it. This competition goes beyond simple business. It is so much more than numbers,” said Mr Haroon.

“This competition is about making an impact and by choosing me as a winner you have given me an opportunity to engage with people’s hearts, not just their chequebooks.”

Businesses that make it to the top five will also get the chance to make a pitch for their business ideas to thousands of international investors to secure funding.

Since Chivas launched the contest in 2014, almost 6,000 social enterprises have participated.

Public online voting will start from April 4, 2018, to decide which of the social start-ups will win an initial Sh20.6 million share of the prize fund.

The overall public vote winner will take home Sh5.15 million. The remainder of the $1 million fund will be allocated live during the final conference scheduled to take place in Amsterdam in May 2018.

Before this event, the 27 entrepreneurs who have made it to the final stage will also take part in a three-day programme at the University of Oxford — The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.

The finalists will benefit from training to sharpen their leadership skills.