Pamoja Founders Project Awards $90,000 in Seed Grants to Six African Food Security Innovators

Pamoja Founders Project on Thursday, May 30, Awarded six entrepreneurs from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Uganda, and Kenya each with $15,000 seed grants to address food security challenges.

Following a competitive pitch competition held in Nairobi, Kenya, the winning food security champions received the catalytic support through the collaborative regional leadership development program by IREX, the PepsiCo Foundation, and PepsiCo.

The catalytic grants, valued at $15,000 each, were awarded to:

  • Elizabeth Okullow, Founder, Agriboom; Kenya
  • Juliet Namwanje, Founder, Ziimba; Uganda
  • Brendah Nantongo, Founder, Veathari Ventures Limited; Uganda
  • Nathnael Tadesse, Founder & CEO, Senaryo Trading, PLC; Ethiopia
  • Abdul de Almeida, Co-Founder, Crimas, Orza and FAE; Mozambique
  • Dr. Akpem Terese Shadrach, Founder, Vet Konect; Nigeria

The winning enterprises address critical food security challenges in their respective countries.

The award ceremony was graced by distinguished guests including representatives from IREX, the PepsiCo Foundation, and PepsiCo; H.E. Hon. Governor Sakaja Johnson, Governor of Nairobi City County, Kenya; United States Embassy officials; and prominent figures from the business and social impact sectors.

IREX’s Country Director for Kenya and East Africa, George Kogolla congratulated the winners, pointing out that the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration in addressing food security challenges across West, East and Central Africa.

The Pamoja Founders Project winner with representatives from IREX, PepsiCo and PepsiCo Foundation with the Nairobi Governor, H.E. Hon. Governor Sakaja Johnson.

“We also celebrate IREX and PepsiCo’s shared commitment to investing in promising young African leaders across the continent. As IREX marks 10 years of administering the U.S. Department of State’s Mandela Washington Fellowship, Pamoja exemplifies our continued support for alumni of such programs and their innovative solutions for Africa’s challenges,” he said.

The Pamoja Founders Project provides comprehensive training, mentorship, and networking opportunities to equip young entrepreneurs with the skills and resources needed to scale their ventures. The champions represent the diverse landscape of food security solutions across Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Nigeria.

“‘Pamoja’ is a Swahili word that means ‘together.’ At the PepsiCo Foundation we believe no single entity can solve an issue alone – working together with our partners and the communities we serve is key to ensuring our solutions are locally tailored for lasting impact.” C.D. Glin, President of the PepsiCo Foundation & Global Head of Social Impact for PepsiCo, stated.

Glin expressed his gratitude to the role Pamoja Founders Project is playing in making the food system more inclusive, secure, and sustainable across Africa.

“We are committed to working with innovators and changemakers to catalyze and shape a more sustainable food system for Africa. Each of the Pamoja entrepreneurs’ ventures addressed critical challenges and we look forward to being an integral part of their journey to further success,” said Wael Ismail, Vice President – Corporate Affairs in Africa, Middle East, and South Asia (AMESA), PepsiCo.

From L to R : Devendri Adari Head of the PepsiCo Foundation programs across South Africa and West East Central Africa, Wael Ismail, Vice President – Corporate Affairs in Africa, Middle East, and South Asia (AMESA), PepsiCo, Dr. Akpem Terese Shadrach, Founder, Vet Konect from Nigeria, H.E. Sakaja Arthur Johnson. Governor -Nairobi City County and Roshan Paul, Director of Leadership at IREX during the award ceremony held in Nairobi.

“This exceptional cohort exceeded our expectations with their passion, thoughtfulness, and commitment to advancing food security across Africa,” said Roshan Paul, Director of Leadership at IREX. “Pamoja has affirmed that IREX’s investment in cultivating and supporting Africa’s future leaders is paying dividends.”

IREX will support the entire cohort for the next three months as they complete the program. After the project, the Pamoja Founders will join a vibrant, supportive pan-African network of IREX alumni.

The project also honoured and recognized the contributions and accomplishments of the other participants in the cohort:

  • Benson Abila, Founder, M-Taka; Kenya
  • Mafeng Dangyang, Co-Founder, Kayan Gona Agro Network; Nigeria
  • Emmanuel Dusabimana, Founder, Agriboom; Uganda
  • Nalugemwa Elizabeth, Founder, Seedloans and Kyaffe Farmers Coffee; Uganda
  • Abdallah Mabrouk, Founder & Executive Director, Ibukia Shambani; Tanzania
  • Babajide Oluwase, Co-Founder and CEO, Ecotutu; Nigeria

Mr. Ogonji is a highly professional and talented journalist with a solid experience in covering compelling stories, reporting facts, and engaging audiences. He is driven to uncover the truth behind today's most pressing issues and share stories that make a genuine impact.

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