The three are Kate Kiguru, CEO of Ukall, Christopher Asego, Director of Operations and Co-founder of Eneza Education and Alex Mwaura Muriu, CEO of Farm Space Africa. Eneza Education and Ukall were start-ups that were incubated in the inaugural 2011 program of Nailab’s, a Kenyan start-up accelerator. Since then these two start-ups have gone on to win global recognition for their solutions.
Elated by their progress, Nailab CEO Sam Gichuru in a statement said,“This is really encouraging for us as an incubator. The success of the start-ups that have gone through our program definitely authenticates and validates our work and shows a great need for support and reinforcement of local innovations. It’s my hope that this will help fortify the growing need to invest in start-ups from both local and international investors.”
Apart from the three from Kenya, CRDF Global, through the Global Innovation Science & Technology (GIST) Initiative, will host 12 entrepreneurs in total from seven African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries in Washington, DC and from June 9th-20th. The rest come from Jordan, Pakistan, Uganda, Malaysia, Indonesia and Tunisia.
GIST is an initiative started in 2011 for the purpose of empowering young science and technology based entrepreneurs. This initiative helps entrepreneurs address local and global challenges by augmenting their skills, building their networks and connecting them with mentors to help them realize their dreams.
The GIST Initiative builds entrepreneurial ecosystems through startup competitions, training, networking, and interactive mentorship in 54 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The entrepreneurs coming to the United States represent competitively selected GIST alumni with the most outstanding innovations and most successful operating businesses. Learn about the 12 participants in the GIST Entrepreneurship Journey here.
While in the U.S., GIST alumni will receive training and mentorship and will meet with successful U.S.-based “diaspora entrepreneurs” who are using their expertise to invest in new ventures in their countries of origin. GIST entrepreneurs will participate in a DEMO day on June 12 in Chicago and June 18 in Washington, D.C., where they will showcase their innovations to local communities.
In just over two years, GIST community has grown to almost 240,000 participants, GIST entrepreneurs have raised more than $20 million in capital; GIST has built a mentor network of over 300 experts; and its entrepreneurs have created over 800 jobs around the world.
Domestically, the GIST Initiative creates more viable investment, partnerships, and collaborative opportunities for American businesses and researchers by providing access to international innovations and expertise.
“Traditionally, entrepreneurship has been a difficult proposition in many emerging economies and young innovators have obtained little support,” said Natalia Pipia, Associate Program Director for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, CRDF Global. “But programs like GIST are changing that. In traveling to many of these countries, I see the spirit of entrepreneurship permeating these regions. Governments, private sector and non-profits are coming together and turning to entrepreneurship and innovation to drive economic growth, create jobs, and improve quality of life,” said Pipia.
GIST is a partnership led by the U.S. Department of State and CRDF Global, an independent non-profit that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration. Partners for the Chicago portion of the Journey are 1871 and the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition.