Kenyan startups to receive Sh400m from German firm to alleviate poverty
What you need to know:
- Government challenged to make changes in legal frameworks that are a hindrance to businesses leveraging tech to alleviate poverty.
- Former Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana observed that the model has potential to alleviate poverty and improve the livelihoods of Kenyans.
At least five Kenyan startups are in line to get more than Sh400 million in funding from Yunus Social Business (YSB), a Germany-based social enterprise organization that supports enterprises leveraging technology to address poverty, food security, climate change and other concerns.
The startups in energy, financial services and waste management sectors are expected to innovate ways of alleviating poverty through technology.
Prof Muhammad Yunus, the President of Grameen Foundation and a co-founder of YSB, has challenged Kenyan businesses and startups to leverage tech in alleviating the impact of poverty, food insecurity, climate change, waste management, insecurity among other issues afflicting the country.
The startups include Burn Manufacturing, Deevabits Green Energy (DGE) and Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment Centre (WEEE Centre).
Prof Yunus has also challenged the government to make changes in some of the systems, policies and legal frameworks that are a hindrance to businesses leveraging tech to alleviate poverty.
“Poverty is not created by poor people but by the systems we have in place, policies made and the legal frameworks created in the specific countries and in order to alleviate poverty the systems and policies have to be fixed, and tech is a major way to go about it,” he says.
Four Kenyan tech companies - Chiro, Kambare, Kilimo Africa and Rafiki Carbon - also pitched solutions to eliminate food insecurity and to promote waste management.
They were required to show how, for food security for instance, tech can be leveraged to mobilize information and optimize food distribution between food-secure and food-insecure areas as well to align food supply with food demand by providing farmers with the relevant information.
“The winner of the Hackathon was Kilimo Africa, a company that offers trainings to farmer groups and individuals, trainings to farm managers, soil testing services, mobile and on farm consultancy, farm layout plans as well as farm budgeting for all enterprises and development fertilizer and spray programs,” Yunus Social Business said.
“The judges found their concept to have potential for impact and scale, their business model scalable and included a solution to farmers and the entire ecosystem. Kilimo Africa will benefit from a mentorship program by Yunus Social Business that will help them refine their business model and position them for funding.”
Former Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana, who was present during a Hackathon event held in collaboration with Moringa School, noted that while grassroots economics have proven to be more impactful in poverty reduction across the globe, his attempt to implement it in Makueni as governor was hampered by legal and licensing barriers.
Prof Kibwana observed that the model has potential to alleviate poverty and improve the livelihoods of Kenyans.
“YSB brings corporate purpose to life by co-creating new social business ventures, and helping corporations collaborate with innovative social businesses,” the organization says.