2018 Governors Startup Challenge Bootcamp Highlights

The Governors Startup Challenge, the flagship program of Youth Empowerment Program Initiative (YEPI), brings 10 best and brightest entrepreneurs from around the coast region of Kenya to Diani for one week boot camp of intensive training in the areas of business and entrepreneurship, leadership, and community engagement each year. Competitively selected for this innovative program, the Finalist represent the regions emerging generation of most promising social entrepreneurs, artists, technologist, and business leaders. YEPI and Partners support the Governors Startup Challenge Finalist with continuing business development opportunities for one year after they return to their communities.

Meet the 2018 Class of The Governors Startup Challenge https://bit.ly/2zcODj8


The 1st edition of the Governors Startup Challenge was held from July 21 - 27, 2018. In partnership with a number of corporate and institutional innovation actors, the Youth Empowerment Program Initiative successfully welcomed ten (10) early stage local startups to Diani, Kenya and immersed them in various activities related to venture creation, design thinking, technology commercialization, social inclusion and networking.


The YEPI Entrepreneurs participated in a curated 3-hour Networking Cocktail at Swahilipot Hub. After a warm welcome from the Patron of Swahilipot, all of the startups had the opportunity to learn from notable speakers and pitch their solutions to a diverse room of Mombasa stakeholders that covered technology, investments and partnerships. Additional networking sessions allowed the startups to receive individual feedback and gain critical insights for their ventures.


The one-week Governors Startup Challenge Bootcamp was filled with fun and stimulating learning activities, providing participants the chance to meet, connect and explore Diani and surrounding areas. On the arrival day, entrepreneurs participated in a team building exercise at Diani Beach that motivated them to connect, bond and build lasting relationship with each other.


The 2018 edition of the Governors Startup Challenge Bootcamp was successfully executed in partnership with KCB Group, Swahilipot Hub, Express Shipping & Logistics, and a few notable Kenyan Based corporate. All of the participating entrepreneurs had multiple opportunities to pitch their products, services and technologies to select groups of judges, industry leaders, fellow youth and expert panels. The entrepreneurs also had the opportunity to join a legion of local startups at the Governors Startup Challenge Networking Cocktail.


KCB Group Regional Manager for Coast Region Madam Jane Isiaho, KCB Town Center Branch Manager Mr. Michael Mdungu, KCB Business Development staff and Youth Empowerment Program Initiative, warmly welcomed the entrepreneurs in Diani, and treated the cohort to a fabulous one-week boot camp. The participants interacted freely with the KCB executives and received insights on corporate innovation and investment programs that KCB has targeted for startups in Kenya.


YEPI enlisted experts from a wide range of professional fields as facilitators, mentors and keynote speakers from Kenya, DRC and Somalia. These include Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs, Mandela Washington Fellows, YALI RLC EA Alumni, Tech Women Alumni, Forbes Africa Entrepreneurs, VSO Kenya Facilitators and executives from the corporate world. The YEPI entrepreneurs were equipped with skills on design thinking, problem solving, business model, leadership, pitching, social inclusion, digital marketing among others. Entrepreneurs also engaged in a vibrant debate on the topic: Defining Kenyan Leadership for the 21st Century - What are the behaviors that youth need to inhabit to transform Kenya?

At the end of the one-week boot camp, participants gained confident, energy, and zeal to take action - whether its starting or scaling their entrepreneurial programs, driving partnerships for greater impact or pitching to investors, government or business leaders.


As the YEPI entrepreneurs rounded the Governors Startup Challenge Bootcamp, it was important that they interacted with industry leaders in a dedicated way. This event was geared towards showcasing the entrepreneurs and their solutions to an audience of industry leaders, advisers and feedback panelists, while allowing the entrepreneurs to freely engage with the invited guests and cross pollinate ideas.

All YEPI Entrepreneurs got the opportunity to pitch to a room of invited guests and judges in Diani. The first, second and third run up entrepreneurs were Ken Gitonga of Kenly Hub, Keziah Olooh of KeziaM Design and Khadija Abdalla of WAYODI respectively.


The application for the second edition of the Governors Startup Challenge will open in February 9th 2019 during the YEPI Third Annual Entrepreneurship & Networking Dinner in Mombasa! The YEPI Executive team will be meeting with corporate partners in Mombasa over the next few months, and an official press release announcing venue details and event partners will be published soon. Follow @YepiYouth, #YEPIinspiration and #GovernorsStartupChallenge on social media for updates and announcements.


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