Nairobi Innovation Week unveils six most promising 2019 startups

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Group Chief of Growth Strategy and Execution at Bidco Africa, Akshay Gupta interacts with James Okoth, CFO at Makiga during ShelterTech Demo in Nairobi
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At the just concluded Nairobi Innovation Week that saw Startups undertake the ‘Nairobi Innovation Challenge’ programme, 6 of the country’s Most Promising Startups of 2019 were unveiled. The 6 startups participated in the Nairobi Innovation Challenge as part of the top 30  who pitched to a panel of judges.

Due diligence was conducted to determine and ascertain the ingenuity of the top 6 startups. The startups are in the early and growth stages of business. The select 6 will pitch to investors, potential partners and celebrity judges during the Innovation Summit on June 13 and 14, 2019 at the Nairobi Innovation Week at the University of Nairobi.

The six startups will be the face of Nairobi Innovation Week 2019. They will be awarded an entrepreneurship training scholarship from a leading training institution in Kenya, receive complimentary passes to the Innovation Summit, get a free exhibition booth at the Nairobi Innovation Week exhibition, among other prizes.

The six are briefly discussed below.

Arinifu

Arinifu is a Nairobi based technology company whose cornerstone is innovation. Arinifu provides farmers with solutions directly addressing issues affecting them. Arinifu provides the ‘Smart Brooder,’ an environmental control device which ensures that the conditions in the brooding space are kept within optimal levels. The company also designs and provides consultancy services to existing and new customers.

The company has a customer base across six counties in Kenya. Arinifu has won several awards including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Innovation Showcase – Best Social Led Hardware Innovation in Africa 2018, Royal Academy of Engineers – Africa Prize 2019, among others.

Bentos Energy

Bentos Energy recycles waste biomass into affordable smokeless charcoal briquettes and organic fertilizer which they sell to low and middle income earners whose problem is high cost of cooking fuel and artificial fertilizers. The company provides Community Based Organizations with kilns to collect, sort and process organic waste which they sell to the company for processing into affordable, smokeless charcoal briquettes and organic fertilizer.

Bentos Energy has created 32 jobs, saved 9000 trees and recycled 900 tonnes of waste since inception. The company has its customer base as low and middle income earners whose problem is high cost of cooking fuel and artificial fertilizers. Other clients include: H.K Wire (Ng’ombe Wire), St. Thaddeus High School, Kuldin Enterprises, Naveen Wholesalers among others. Bentos Energy has won several awards including the Top Green Company – DIAR Awards 2018, ASME ISHOW Africa 2018, AFDB High 5 Challenge Winner, among others.

BIOAFRIQ ENERGY Limited

The company fabricates pellet fired dehydrators for drying farm produce, institutional smokeless pellet fired cook stoves with savings of up to 50% and manufactures biomass pellets fuels. Through its three products, the company is committed to innovating and providing cost effective and affordable biomass heating and cooking solutions that tackle pressing social challenges.

BioAfriq energy has made several milestones including being admitted into an incubation program by Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) in October 2018, developing and leasing out its first pellet fired dehydrator in November 2018, and winning the 2nd Position Award of the 2019 Total Startupper Award in March 2019.

Green Pavers

Green Pavers is a social enterprise that is addressing the affordable housing social challenge in Kenya while using waste materials generated from households and industries. The business provides affordable, efficient and environmentally friendly building hardware made from recycled waste plastic that is affordable, durable and stronger compared to conventional timber and concrete.

Green pavers has prevented 132 tonnes of waste from landfills in the last 8 months and created 14 jobs within slums. The company through its founder and CEO Dr Aghan Joshua Oscar is a winner of many prestigious local and international awards like The Sankalp Award for Africa, African Entrepreneurship Award, Vilcap/ Growth Africa Impact Award, and a graduate of The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurial Program, E4I among others.

Kencoco Limited

Kencoco Limited makes and sells charcoal briquettes from recycled agricultural coconut waste (coconut shells, husks) and charcoal dust. The company makes over 30 tonnes of briquettes every month from coconut shells, husks and other biomass materials which are abundantly available in the coastal regions of Kenya.

Currently, Kencoco’s customers mainly comprise of households, restaurants, beach hotels and schools. 60% of the revenue is generated from B2C business especially to kiosks and restaurants.

The company is passionate about climate change mitigation and Household Air Pollution. Kencoco has partnered with MIT D-Lab to impact its work further. The company is also working with Clean Cooking Alliance, MESPT (Micro Enterprise Support Program Trust), Energy4Impact and many other like-minded organizations.

 

Silmak Agencies (Genesis Care)

Silmak Agencies is an impact company manufacturing end to end menstrual hygiene products from cotton sanitary pads, adult pampers to sanitary pad vending/dispensing machines and sanitary pad incinerators.

The coin based sanitary vending machines are suitable for factories, schools, shopping malls, rest rooms, airports, theatres, salons and other public spaces. The machines are operated as self-service units which dispense sanitary pads upon acceptance of a ten shilling coin.

The Genesis incinerator is a safe, hygienic, and quick method of disposal of sanitary pads electrically and converts the waste material into harmless sterile ash. The company’s customers include hospitals, third tier/local supermarkets, learning institutions and large corporates, county governments and NGOs.

 

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