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Meet the 2019 Class of the Governors Startup Challenge!

After an intense three months’ recruitment process that attracted 132 applications from over 9 counties in Kenya, Youth Empowerment Program Initiative (YEPI) is excited to announce the 10 Finalist for the 2019 Governors Startup Challenge. Meet these inspiring social entrepreneurs, innovators and problem solvers from around the coast region of Kenya.

These young entrepreneurs represent some of the best and brightest startups in Kenya and they have what it takes to solve the world’s most pressing issues. They take nothing for granted and pursue big ambitions. In the health sector, Anzazi Kiti’s food Company Taste Afrique Co Ltd manufactures, distributes and sells natural food seasoning products called Chibundiro and Siri Spices. Her vision is to become Kenya’s leading natural food seasoning for all households by providing healthy food from nature’s best. As a result, this will ensure food security and healthy living in the community.

In the technology and education space, Josephine Adeti, a Telecommunications and Information Engineer from Kilifi County founded Awescribers years after being diagnosed with partial deafness. Awescribers is an early stage startup which provides video scribing, augmented reality and 2D animation services to end users, changing the narrative of how presentations and advertisements are made especially in the education sector. She is on a mission to increase learner’s engagement and ensure quality education inclusive for all including the partially deaf.

Ali Mashua is tackling the issue of garbage menace in Mombasa, where 2,000 tons of solid waste is produced daily. He started Likoni Creative Cleaners Services with the aim of changing the waste disposal trends by providing door to door garbage collection, clean-up services and creating awareness on proper waste management practices. Ali hopes to reduce the spread of diseases such as ‘Chikungunya and Dengue Fever caused by poor waste management practices and environmental pollution.

Elizabeth Aruba is a fourth year student at Pwani University and a social entrepreneur in the fashion industry. She is the Founder of AfriFabri-Collection, a business that up scales fabric waste materials to produce custom made Ankara print bags, pillows, cushions and shaggy door mats hence addressing SDG 12: Responsible production and consumption. She is the winner of the 2019 YEPI Entrepreneurship Summit Pitch Competition.

Evlyne Chidzugwe is a self-taught baker who is passionate about food. She founded Healthy Bakes, a home based baking business aimed at providing the consumers with freshly prepared bakery and pastry products at all times. She aims to catch the interests of a growing healthy community with its broard variety of cakes, cookies and other snacks. By offering and educating people on healthy food options we are assured of a healthy society.

Our Young Entrepreneurs are industry disruptors and confront the status quo. They are social innovators, change ambassadors and agents of the under-represented. Lavender Ogada, an Agriculture and Enterprise Development Graduate brings affordable solution to Small-holder Cassava farmers who experience post-harvest losses and exploitation by middlemen due to inability to self-process cassava to value added products. Her company, Africa To Manufacture (ATM), offers cheaper, high quality and healthier alternative to corn and gluten free wheat flour. She aims to be a market enabler for cassava farmers through decentralized agro-processed facilities.

Said Sharif Founded Cobra Event Sec, an event security company that aims at recruiting and training marginalized youth on conflict management, customer service, health, safety and physical intervention skills in order to create part-time job opportunities in a quest to fight unemployment. He seeks to empower youth mainly those in college/university and those who never had a chance to pursue further studies by training them as event security officers and deploying them to cover events and earn out of that. By training youth to be in charge of others safety, they will earn a living by guaranteeing safe, secure and successful events for event owners.

Moses Munyaka is a 19 years old student at Thika Training Institute. His idea is to start a fish caging project in sea areas of Jomvu Constituency, addressing issues of sea waste management as well as boosting protein intake around the coastal communities. Cage farming has the potential to boost food production and supply and Moses believes that programs like the Governors Startup Challenge can help genius young people with brilliant ideas of shaping the blue world innovate their ideas better.

Meanwhile, some of our notable finalist in creative industries include:

Stephen Caloo, who is creative and passionate about youth matters. He is the Founder of Mwangaza Magazine, a digital media agency that seeks to empower youth through Impactful storytelling. The digital magazine is published quarterly and shares content on issues affecting the youth and possible solutions. And finally, Radhia Wanjiru, is a courageous and energetic young woman who almost went down the drawn of depression. Upon her recovery, she vowed to help other youth who are mentally unstable and can’t speak about it. She Founded Mind To Canvas, a social enterprise that uses the Art of painting and drawing to share the message of mental health. The organization intends to use art as a business as well as a way of educating the society on the matters of mental health.

These enterprising young leaders stir our ambitions for the future. We are proud to invest in their