NAIROBI, KENYA – February 28, 2017 – The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the Citi Foundation are pleased to honor Kenyan youth entrepreneurs on February 24 at the Regional Leadership Center (RLC) at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. The award reception highlights seven young Kenyan entrepreneurs as part of the continued collaboration between USADF and the Citi Foundation. The most recent USADF-Citi Business Plan Competition awarded twenty entrepreneurs with seed capital including five Kenyan winners. These young entrepreneurs have been tackling social challenges with business solutions.
This partnership forms part of the Citi Foundation's Pathways to Progress initiative, a commitment to support young urban youth to prepare for today's economy. Each winner received $10K in seed capital to strengthen systems to support the growth of their companies – business ranged from agribusiness, waste management, to micro-finance.
Together USADF and the Citi Foundation are investing in Africa’s most innovative and impactful youth-led enterprises by pairing seed capital with technical assistance. USADF is providing young entrepreneurs with the tools needed to invest in their own communities, and grow Africa’s next generation of business leaders and social entrepreneurs. These business leaders will employ marginalized people, train other youth, impact their communities and create or expand markets by providing goods and services.
The reception hosted representatives from USADF, the Citi Foundation, USAID, the U.S. Embassy in Kenya and representatives from the Kenyan Government. In addition, 90 young African leaders who are currently in session at the RLC were also in attendance. “The U.S. African Development Foundation is committed to investing in young leaders and growing the potential of African entrepreneurs today to build a peaceful and prosperous tomorrow,” said C.D. Glin, President and CEO of USADF.
As participants of the RLC, these young people have all demonstrated leadership in business, the ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups, and the communication skills to actively engage in their communities. They are the future leaders committed to catalyzing change in their countries and Africa as a whole.
“We are proud to partner with USADF and invest in youth through this program to help enable economic resilience and long-term competitiveness in East Africa,’’ said MaryAnne Mwaura, Head of Public Affairs EA, Citi. ‘The Citi Foundation is committed to supporting programs that catalyze economic growth and provide solid economic opportunities to African youth.”
Over a 6 to 12-month period, the seven social entrepreneurs supported by USADF & the Citi Foundation will gain operational knowledge in funds accountability and reporting. They will also have access to 1-on-1 business advice and mentoring, and tangible skills to help them grow their ventures.
One of the winners who presented at the reception, Wesley Owiti, is using fashion as a medium for poverty alleviation with his social enterprise Cherehani Africa Ltd. His company provides an innovative solution to financial inclusion by using tailoring skills as a pre-qualification for a business loans. “The USADF-Citi grant has allowed Cherehani Africa to expand its base and provide sewing machines and loans. The grant has strengthened this business as we work on ways to serve our customers better,” says Owiti.
To date, USADF has invested $3 million in 150 social enterprises in over 30 countries. In partnership with the Citi Foundation, USADF will award up to 28 business plan competition winners in 2016 with $450,000 in seed capital, mentoring and business support.
About the U.S. African Development Foundation:
The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) is an independent U.S. Government agency dedicated to promoting African-led development. USADF grants provide seed capital and local technical expertise to grassroots enterprises in over 30 countries in Africa to ensure lasting economic development. By partnering with host country governments and the private sector, USADF provides early stage funding to African-led and managed enterprises with a maximum grant size of $250,000 dollars, with grants that support agriculture, off-grid energy and youth. For more information about USADF, visit us at www.USADF.gov
About the Citi Foundation:
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. The foundation invests in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfil their mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.
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