Three Kenyan start-ups bag enterprise award

Three Kenyan startups were Thursday crowned the continent's top winners for an award that recognises entrepreneurs making social impact through their work.

Lakeview Fisheries and Insurance For All were ranked second and third respectively, with Kwangu Kwako, an affordable housing venture taking the top spot after being granted the Sankalp Africa Award at a summit held in Nairobi last weekend.

The three startups emerged tops from a pool of nearly 300 companies who vied for the prize.

Kwangu Kwako which were co-founded three years ago by Winnie Gitau and Simon Dixon manufactures concrete panels that are used to build affordable homes as alternative to traditional informal settlement structures.

“We came up with the idea after a fire broke out in Kangemi and we noticed that everything else burnt down save for the toilets that were built from precast concrete and that when we thought why not make homes with the same concept,” said Ms Gitau.


Although the Sankalp award, an initiative by Intellecap Advisory, has no cash value, Ms Gitau remained hopeful that the award would give exposure and thurst her to eventually scale up her business.

“We are looking for $500,000 to scale up the business because at the moment we have built 33 homes with 40 others in the pipeline and so we think that this is a great opportunity that gives us access to potential investors and financiers,” she said.

Lake View Fisheries Ltd which was started by Dr Gilbert Mbeo, a neurologist, is an aquaculture business that is seeking $2 million to expand and push out the need for Kenya to import fish.

“There is no reason to import tilapia which is available locally and would take close to a year to get to your plate while we can deliver the same in less than 10 hours,” he said.

Insurance For All, the third place winner, is a product that combines insurance, savings and loans launched by John Paul Otieno in 2017.