Kijani Baby or just Kijani, a washable diaper startup founded and led by husband and wife entrepreneurs Muigai Ndoka and Valerie Muigai has received undisclosed funding from RENEW’s Impact Angel Network.
This is RENEW’s Impact Angel Network (IAN) first investment in Uganda after launching in the country ten months ago. Kijani’s investment was made from RENEW’s recently capitalized women-focused investment fund for female entrepreneurs in Ethiopia and Uganda.
“We at Kijani are very excited to begin this partnership with RENEW,” said Valerie Muigui. “This investment will be instrumental to scale our production and improve our systems, so we can grow and make washable diapers affordable and accessible for more families in East Africa.”
“As an entrepreneur myself and a mother of an infant daughter, I really respect Valerie and what she has built at Kijani Baby,” said Laura Davis, partner at RENEW. “We are excited to partner with Kijani to help the company expand in East Africa, and I will continue to use the company’s high-quality products to diaper our little one.”
Like its name Kijani which means green in Swahili, Kijani aims to create high-paying jobs and provide a high-quality, affordable, environmentally-friendly alternative to disposable diapers in Uganda.
Kijani is just a start as RENEW is set to invest in other female entrepreneurs to address social and financial barriers holding back female entrepreneurs in Africa.
RENEW, with its largest office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, manages the IAN’s investment operations and provides investment advisory and consulting services in support of its investments.
RENEW’s work in Ethiopia was piloted with USAID and is currently undertaken with financial support from the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. The project, Accelerating Business Growth, aims at sustainable job creation for low-skilled workers, including women and young adults, through a dynamic and growing small and medium business sector in Ethiopia.
According to a report by the World Bank, globally, only one-third of SMEs are managed by women and studies have shown that women-owned businesses face higher challenges to business success, especially in the area of financing in developing countries. Approximately 70% of women-owned SMEs in emerging markets have no proper access to financial institutions, resulting in a $285 billion financing gap.
The new fund by RENEW and the Impact Angel Network was designed to address this pressing need. It aims to close the financing gap for women-owned companies in Sub-Saharan Africa by making investments into 3 to 5 women-owned companies, annually.
“There is data that shows that despite comparative investment outcomes, female entrepreneurs are often overlooked by the business and investment communities,” said Laura Davis, Partner & Head of Investor Relations at RENEW. “We hope the Impact Angel Network can show others that by investing in women-led companies we are not just advancing a social agenda, we are making sound investments.”