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Meet the 2020 Class of the Governors Startup Challenge!

After an intense three months’ recruitment process that attracted 175 applications from over 15 counties in Kenya, Youth Empowerment Program Initiative (YEPI) is excited to announce the 10 Finalist for the 2020 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, Binti Mwallau’s Yoghurt Company, Hasanat Ventures Ltd, is an early stage startup that produces delicious, nutritious and affordable yoghurt under the brand name 'Lazizi'. Lazizi yoghurt was created in order to provide consumers with premium healthy yoghurt that is delicious, healthy, nutritious and most importantly, affordable.

In the technology and education space, Hussein Jembe, a techpreneur from Kwale County founded Pepea Innovation Hub, a startup that imparts marginalised youths in Kwale County with IT related skills like coding and web development. His business hopes to empower his community in Kwale County, to embrace technology like developing systems for the corporates in Kwale and also start a Para-technology school while ensuring inclusive education for all.

Sheila Koech is tackling the issue of environmental conservation. She started Hoco Dynamics an environment and construction company that aims at producing construction materials like bricks, blocks, and panels, out of coconut wastes. Her goal is to improve the living conditions of the locals in Kilifi county by providing affordable housing materials and employment opportunities for the community.

Judith Kache is a 16-year-old emerging entrepreneur and the founder of Jamalaju Company Ltd, a nutritional company in Kilifi County that provides affordable fortified mushroom flour to boost immunity of the marginalised pregnant women, HIV patients and those infected with Covid-19 and need their immune to be boosted but cannot afford the recommended nutritional health cover.

Our Young Entrepreneurs are industry disruptors and confront the status quo. They are social innovators, change ambassadors and agents of the under-represented. Darius Njumwa, a 24-year-old entrepreneur from Taita Taveta County, Wundanyi constituency brings affordable solution to Small-holder dairy farmers who experience post-harvest losses and exploitation by middlemen. He founded Craft Plant 6 an agribusiness dedicated to solving hunger and poverty issues in his community. His business provides quality and high protein balanced diet silage fodder and post-harvest plants for dairy farmers.

Elvis Mvoi founded iSpeakAfricaChat, an online Twitter chat that helps to educate small business owners in diverse ways that enable them to create multiple streams of income by getting them closer to potential clients. He aims at opening a business hub which will offer small businesses with financial support and access to business and financial knowledge at an affordable fee.

Robert Nguma is the founder of Athel Technology Ltd, a private company that sells cookers which uses solar energy from the sun. This innovation allows the community and small hotels to cook for free without worrying about buying charcoal or gas refill. He hopes to eliminate the issue of cutting down trees for charcoal which affects the environment and the health of the users due to carbon gas emission during cooking.

Winnie Barawa is a registered nurse with extensive experience in children unit. She is the founder of Queen Dada Daycare, a startup that aims to provide holistic child-care services for children aged three months to 4 years in a stimulating and safe environment. Queen-Dada daycare will be a fun and affordable alternative to working mothers who face dilemma of taking care of children while working, studying or attending to their social needs.

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

Jacinta Mwanake, a second-year student at Strathmore University and a social entrepreneur in the fashion industry. She is the founder of T.U.B (The Ufundi Hub), a fashion hub that provides access to quality and affordable clothes by bringing together different skilled local tailors in Mombasa and bettering their specific individual skills in production by providing them with the necessary technology, machinery and access to market. And finally, Beatrice Mwanjala is the founder of Luzimo Inspo, an environmental company that uses agricultural and plastic waste to produce eco-friendly products such as roofing materials and biodegradable straws that aim at preventing biodiversity loss.

These enterprising young leaders stir our a