Green Pioneer Accelerator reveals 23 entrepreneurs selected from Kenya, SA


The Green Pioneer Accelerator has announced which entrepreneurs it’ll be taking on for the 2015 programme. The programme, sponsored by Impact Amplifier, Growth Africa, VC4Africa and Hivos, is a comprehensive business accelerator that aims to support early stage enterprises that contribute innovative solutions to environmental issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and degradation of soils.

The programme will take place in Kenya and South Africa. Eleven committed entrepreneurs were selected for the programme in Kenya and 12 entrepreneurs for the programme in South Africa. The acceleration programmes will be 16 weeks and starts end of January and early February.

The selection process was based on a process that focused on the determining the viability of their businesses, the strengths of the teams and the businesses potential to solve huge challenges through innovative products and creative solutions.

Impact Amplifier, Growth Africa, VC4Africa and Hivos are offering this comprehensive programme to take the selected businesses from ‘market proof’ to ‘ready for investment’. The programme hopes to, amongst other things, to position companies for scale by getting their strategy, financials and pitch deck in shape, and preparing them for fundraising conversations with investors.

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Over the 16 weeks, the programme has been designed such that it combines an intensive practical experience shared by successful entrepreneurs, mentors and investors. Graduates will also have access to over 600 private sector investors and can tap into the combined networks and knowledge of the participating partner organizations.

Upon the completion of the programme, the enterprises in each programme will be showcased to a group of investors including impact-focused as well as impact-agnostic angel investors and early stage venture capital funds. The showcase will be done through VC4Africa’s online platform and then extended to a physical one day networking session in both the East Africa and Southern Africa locations.

Leo Soldaat, Program Manager at Hivos, explained the objectives behind initiating such a programme. “Hivos is very concerned about the environment. We see many problems such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and degradation of soils. In order to address these issues, Hivos wants to co-create with the private sector social innovation in the green – environmental – field. We continue to support green pioneers working to tackle these constraints by positioning them for growth and improving their access to capital”.

The Green Pioneer Accelerator Programme has been developed for early stage companies looking to position themselves for scale. The selected companies have a working prototype with clear market demand and/or are already generating revenue. This programme is designed to support entrepreneurs who have ambitions to take the next step in growing their business to a national and regional scale.

This is the first time that such a programme is being hosted and Johnni Kjelsgaard, Group CEO of Nairobi based accelerator Growth Africa, notes he is excited about the businesses chosen to be part of the Kenya programme and that this a great opportunity for businesses in the green space.

“We believe each one of the 11 early stage enterprises selected to join us in Kenya has huge potential to have significant impact. We will take the entrepreneurs through a unique combination of facilitated learning, peer-based learning and mentoring by some of Africa’s most experienced entrepreneurs, C-suite executives and technical specialists”.
Maximilian Pichulik, Partner of South African based Impact Amplifier shares the excitement.

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“This programme is about taking promising green entrepreneurs and getting them ready for investment, with fundable business plans. We have a long track record of successful deal making and this is the next step to accelerating innovation in the green space. Really we are breaking open a new era for green innovation and entrepreneurship.”

To ensure the success of the programme a number of organisations have come together, each contributing to the programme with their expertise. Organizations involved now includes DOEN Foundation, SEED, Africege, GVEP, Embark Energy, and others.

The 12 South Africa entrepreneurs selected for the programme in South Africa are listed below.

Project Solaris – Samantha Bartle

Project Solaris provides a novel biofuel feedstock crop, Solaris, to suitable regions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Shakti Energy – Vijay Mitha

Shakti Energy supports energy entrepreneurs in off-grid informal settlements to operate a pedal powered generator to recharge LED lights and mobile phones.

MySmartFarm – Wolfgang Von Loeper

MySmartFarm is a one-stop-shop-all solution for a farmer’s data: a consolidation of high tech agricultural hardware and data services on one cloud platform.

Savvy Loo – Dudley Jackson

Savvy Loo provides a waterless toilet for rural areas and temporary settlements that offers cleaner, safer and healthier sanitary solutions.

SolarTurtle – James van de Walt

SolarTurtle establishes female run franchises that turn used shipping containers into mobile solar battery charging stations, bringing electricity to off-grid communities.

Botanica Natural Products – Will Coetsee

Botanica Natural Products cultivates an indigenous South African succulent plant, Bulbine frutesce and produces natural ingredients for the cosmetic and neutri–ceutical industry.

New Earth Health Solutions – Yesheen Singh

New Earth Health Solutions produce Phyto Pro, a range of plant based protein products made from peas, for consumer and medical consumption.

Spekboom Trading – Zoe Visser

Spekboom Trading generates blue-chip carbon credits through the restoration of degraded land by the cultivation of spekboom, which acts as a carbon sink.

Lady Bonin’s Tea – Jessica Bonin

Lady Bonin’s Tea sources tea from biodynamic, organic, cooperative and fair-trade farms and packs throughout South Africa.

Phambili Energy South Africa – Musa Msimango

Phambili Energy develops off-grid electrification and clean energy technologies, utilising biomass-to-energy techniques to provide eco-charkettes and stoves.

Mellowcabs – Neil du Preez

Mellowcabs manufactures and operates new electric mini-cabs that provide an on-demand, flexible and affordable taxi and transport service in cities.

Mechanical Concrete – Robert Jooste

Mechanical Concrete is an innovator in the road construction field using car tyres to manufacture geo-cylinders, which provide a high quality, high performing reinforcing base for concrete roads.

The 11 Kenyan entrepreneurs selected for the programme in Kenya are:

Classic foods Limited – Wachira Kariuki

Classic Foods processes dairy products, fruit juice, tomato sauce, honey, flour milling and manufactures animal feeds.

Plexus Energy Limited – Edward Kinyanjui

Plexus distributes off grid power solutions such solar lighting, solar water heating and UPS systems for network masts for telecommunication companies and data centres for internet service providers.

Making the list are businesses that social enterprises tackling some of Africa’s most pressing agriculture, energy and environmental concerns.

Strauss Energy – Tony Nyagah

Strauss Energy is building an integrated photovoltaic roofing tile for residential houses and commercial units. The excess power generated will be fed into the national grid so that home owners can earn income from the feed-in-tariff.

Afrisol Energy Limited – Amos Nguru

Afrisol specializes in design, installation and maintenance of biogas digesters to produce clean and cheaper energy for institutions.

Boma Safi Limited – Joyce Gema

Boma Safi sells affordable solar products, clean cook stoves and briquettes to rural households through a hub-spoke and promoter distribution model.

Sanivation – Andrew Foote

Sanivation installs portable toilets and charges a monthly fee to provide household sanitation and energy services to people living in congested areas.

Skynotch Energy Africa – Patrick Kimathi

Skynotch Energy runs a mini-hydro power generation plant, and works with small dealers to provide last mile distribution for solar lanterns and solar energy applications.

Cobitech Solar – Samson Gichia

Cobitech works with microfinance institutions and savings and credit cooperatives to provide the solar kits on loan to rural poor households for repayment within one year.

Consumer’s Choice Limited – Mohammed Kadhi

Consumer Choice replaces the use of fossil fuels with more efficient, more economical Bio-Ethanol Gel and environmentally friendly clean cook stoves.

Green Pencils Limited – Ivan Ochieng

Green Pencils sources old newspapers from registered groups like the disabled, women and youth groups to produce customized pencils and ball pens.

Kencoco Limited – DR. Said Twahir

Kencoco uses coconut shells, husks and other biomass material to produce charcoal briquettes and sells to households and institutions.



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