Pamoja Founders

Pamoja founders project awards US$90,000 seed grants to 6 food security champions in Africa

(Last Updated On: 6 June 2024)

Nairobi | The Pamoja Founders project, a collaborative regional leadership programme run by IREX, the PepsiCo Foundation, and PepsiCo, has awarded US$15,000 each to six leading African food security enterprises.

The announcement came on June 3 after a competitive pitch in Nairobi, Kenya, followed by a four-day boot camp for Pamoja entrepreneurs from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Uganda, and Kenya.

According to George Kogolla, IREX’s Country Director for Kenya and East Africa, each of the champion food security entrepreneurs received a seed grant of US$15,000 to address food security challenges in West, East, and Central Africa.

Funders include the PepsiCo Foundation, IREX, and PepsiCo.

“We are here to celebrate and acknowledge the entrepreneurial spirits and journeys of the inaugural cohort of the Pamoja Founders Project,” Kogolla said.

“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 added.

tndNews also learned that the catalytic grants were awarded to Abdul de Almeida, Co-Founder of Crimas, Orza, and FAE from Mozambique, Juliet Namwanje, founder of Ziimba in Uganda, Brendah Nantongo, founder of Veathari Ventures Limited Uganda, Elizabeth Okullow, founder of Agriboom in Kenya, Dr Akpem Terese Shadrach, founder of Vet Konect in Nigeria, and Nathnael Tadesse, founder and CEO of Senaryo Trading, PLC in Ethiopia.

On the other hand, C.D. Glin, President of the PepsiCo Foundation and Global Head of Social Impact for PepsiCo, revealed that “Pamoja” is a Swahili word that means “together.”

“At the PepsiCo Foundation we believe that 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,” Glin said.

According to Glin, the project has already benefited up to 12 African food and agricultural entrepreneurs through a rigorous training programme, with six receiving catalyst seed grants.

“Pamoja Founders Project and our partnership with IREX has lifted up 12 African food and agricultural entrepreneurs through a rigorous training program, with six also receiving catalytic seed grants. I’m extremely proud of the role Pamoja Founders Project is playing in making the food system more inclusive, secure, and sustainable across Africa,” Glin shared.

However, Roshan Paul, Director of Leadership at IREX, told tndNews that the cohort demonstrated exceptional passion, thoughtfulness, and commitment to improving food security in Africa.

“Pamoja has affirmed that IREX’s investment in cultivating and supporting Africa’s future leaders is paying dividends. 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.

Ismail Wael, PepsiCo’s Corporate Affairs Manager for Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia (AMESA), urged innovators and changemakers to catalyse 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,” Wael said.

The Pamoja Founders will join a thriving, encouraging pan-African network of IREX alumni after the project, and tndNews can further reveal that IREX will support the entire cohort for the next three months as they finish the programme.

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