After three months interview, 12 entrepreneurs have been chosen for the Unreasonable East Africa class of 2015 in July elbowing out 168 others out of the total 180 that had applied from across the region.
To qualify as an Unreasonable entrepreneur, each entrepreneur had to show that they were leveraging the power of business to solve massive social and environmental problems such as poverty, inequality, global warming, lack of access to health care and education and many others.
These entrepreneurs have demonstrated that they have financially sustainable ventures that are innovating new technologies, transforming systems and pioneering new ways of thinking with a deep understanding of their target markets and the ability to scale to meet the needs of at least 1 million people.At the Unreasonable East Africa Institute, the selected entrepreneurs will live under the same roof for 5 weeks for rigorous workshops on personal and entrepreneurial skill development, hands‐on guidance from over 50 mentors and relationship building with dozens of potential investors.
To afford this opportunity, they need support raising the costs of attending. Unreasonable East Africa has set up the Unreasonable Marketplace (marketplace.unreasonableeastafrica.org), a crowdfunding platform through which the public can make donations to send these ventures to the Institute. With public support, Unreasonable’s selected fellows will get a chance to maximize their growth potential by gaining access to Unreasonable’s resources and lifelong network without having to pay a dime themselves.
This year, the Unreasonable East Africa class is made up of 4 companies from Uganda, 6 companies from Kenya, and 1 company each from Tanzania and South Sudan. They work across diverse industries, including agriculture, health, transportation, energy, water and financial inclusion. The 2015 Unreasonable Fellows are:
- Aryodi Bee Farm: Increasing Ugandan smallholder incomes through beekeeping training and value-add honey production.
- Bicycles Against Poverty: Linking rural Ugandan populations to goods, services, and additional revenue sources through lease-to-own bicycles.
- Duma Works: Connecting youth in Kenya to jobs with a social, SMS-based platform and helping companies grow with an easy recruiting portal.
- iNuka pap: Enabling Kenyan companies to offer micro-insurance and instant micro-credit to their employees through an HR application.
- Kajo-Keji Health Training Institute: Developing South Sudan’s healthcare system by training students to become doctors.
- Miti Health: Increasing efficiency of East African pharmaceutical supply chains and access to high-quality medications with technology solutions.
- Natural Extracts Industries: Creating additional income channels for Tanzanian smallholder farmers through production of sustainably sourced, all-natural food flavours.
- Ojay Greene: Empowering Kenyan smallholder fruit and vegetable farmers by linking them to profitable urban markets.
- Skynotch Energy Africa: Delivering renewable energy technologies to off-grid areas in Kenya through sustainable last-mile enterprises.
- SPOUTS of Water: Providing clean drinking water in Uganda by locally manufacturing affordable and effective ceramic water filters.
- Totohealth: Utilizing mobile technology to transform family health in Sub-Saharan Africa by educating mothers via SMS.
- Yield Uganda: Integrating Ugandan smallholder crop producers into formalised, transparent and fair global and local food markets.
“While we still face many challenges in East Africa, these entrepreneurs are piloting and implementing models to tackle these challenges head on,” said Joachim Ewechu, CEO and Co-Founder of Unreasonable East Africa. “Their businesses are creating a new economy which builds hope for a bright future in the face of all the obstacles that we may face. We are honored and excited to work with them and urge you to support them to raise the tuition they need by donating to your favorite companies on the Unreasonable Marketplace. This is our opportunity to create jobs, combat poverty and improve access to basic services through the private sector.”