The Keroche Foundation Young Entrepreneurs Mentorship Program is one of the tangible ways that leading Kenyan entrepreneur, Tabitha Karanja, founder of Keroche Breweries, is fulfilling her vision of empowering a new generation of young entrepreneurs in her country. Five young women entrepreneurs have just been recognized for their business building activities in the second cohort to graduate from the program.
In June this year, the second cohort of young, ambitious and enthusiastic entrepreneurs graduated from the Keroche Foundation Young Entrepreneurs Mentorship Program at a colourful ceremony held at the prestigious Radisson Blu Hotel in Upper Hill, Nairobi. Five young women entrepreneurs were amongst those being recognized - Caroline Wanjiku, CEO Daproim Africa Limited; Jayne Awino Okoth, CEO Rapunzel Hair Affair & Porsh Hair; Catherine Mahugu, Co-founder of Soko & Founder of WaziData Limited; Judith Chebet Mosobo, CEO of Iris Interiors Limited; and Liz Kitua, CEO of Kidosho Apparel.
Meet the five young women entrepreneurs who have been recognized for their business building activities in the second cohort to graduate from the program.
Caroline Wanjiku, CEO Daproim Africa Limited
Caroline Wanjiku Kamanja, 30, is the Chief Executive Officer and Director at Daproim Africa Limited, a Business Processing and Outsourcing (BPO) Company in Kenya. She is passionate about entrepreneurship sensitization, development and growth in Africa through ICT innovations. With over 7 years of experience driving innovative research, marketing operations; customer relationship, organizational development and management, within the ICT sector, she has worked on profit and funded global projects delivering excellent services to her clients and improved livelihood to beneficiaries.
Daproim Africa Limited provides high quality and affordable volume data management solutions including digitization, data entry and analysis, research and virtual support to local and international public and private sector organizations including academic institutions and non-governmental organizations. The company currently employs 100 full time employees and 400 part time employees. Daproim Africa Limited’s mandate is to relieve organizations of the never ending IT back office work so companies can focus their energies on delivering quality on their core business products or services. Through her company, Caroline impacts the lives of youth (between ages 18-30) from disadvantaged communities giving them social and economic advancement opportunities through training, decent work and earning, coaching and mentorship. Through her leadership, the company was certified as a BCorp Company having met rigorous standards of social performance, accountability and transparency, named among Top 100 CIO companies in East Africa in 2015 for innovative use of IT among others.
Caroline’s mandate as the Chief Executive Officer is to oversee the overall smooth operation and performance of the company ensuring clients get value for money and the company grows beyond its strategic plan. Her core work is to build strategic partnerships, drive innovation and market the organization at a strategic level. Through her leadership, the company has successfully attracted Global organizations and funders including World Intellectual Property Organizations and Rockefeller Foundation among others. Her dream is to impact Africa and bring hope to disadvantaged youth in Africa through creating employment and career development within the ICT sector. She believes that her company can change Africa. Her plan for Daproim Africa is to build a company for Africa that affects the lives of 10,000 African youth by 2021 through strategic partnership, aggressive marketing and delivering passionate service.
Caroline holds a Master of Business Administration from University of Nairobi and another Master in Entrepreneurial Leadership and Development from Portland States University (USA), where she interacted with big names in the impact entrepreneurship sector. Her undergraduate degree is Bachelor of Commerce in Business Administration. She has also trained with Acumen, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and International Trade Centre (ITC) among others. Caroline is a member of various bodies including Kenya IT Outsourcing, Services, Young Women Social Entrepreneurs, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, International Trade Centre (ITC), among others. Caroline has participated in numerous awards including International Trade Centre international awards. Caroline lives in a world of possibilities and believes all is possible through hard work and passion. Her greatest value is integrity; thinking, saying and doing what she believes in. In her private time, she spares time to mentor upcoming women entrepreneurs in the ICT sector, speak at various events (was recently a speaker at the connected ICTA summit), and also spending time with friends and family mainly her adorable intelligent daughter, Amara Wanjiru.
Jayne Awino Okoth, CEO Rapunzel Hair Affair & Porsh Hair
Jayne Awino Okoth is the CEO of Rapunzel Hair Affair Salon. She has had the passion for hairdressing for the longest time ever. After Form IV, she planned to become a hairdresser but her parents would not allow her. They wanted her to study accounting to which she obliged half-heartedly. She proceeded to get a job in accounting but quit two months into the job to become a hairdresser. The journey was tough in the beginning but with time small hairdressing jobs here and there, it encouraged her to continue. Early in 2014, she used her savings and started Rapunzel Hair Affair Salon. Rapunzel salon works with talented hair and beauty experts to a professional level. They offer diversified quality hair dressing, nail treatment and skin therapy. It also supplies Rapunzel Virgin Hair in different parts of East Africa. Its motto is “Great Hair is Confidence”. The business is currently 2 years old and has about 24 employees. www.rapunzelhairaffair.com
Catherine Mahugu, Co-founder of Soko & Founder of WaziData Limited
Catherine Mahugu is the co-founder of (Shop) Soko. Soko is an innovation in fashion and technology that expands access to economic opportunity for artisans in emerging economies, disrupting the traditional export supply chain and revolutionizing the way money and goods are exchanged between developing world artisans and global consumers. Soko has successfully delivered 100,0000+ products to online consumers, over 400 international retail partners, and several large brands including Anthropologie, Fossil, TJMaxx, and Nordstrom. To date, it has generated over $800,000 of revenue to marginalized artisans. By injecting revenue into low income communities, Soko’s economic and social impact grow and thus increase in sales rates. Through technology and supply chain innovation, Soko aims to change the status quo for how fashion products are sourced from emerging markets — offering an innovative, ethical alternative to traditional models of accessories production. And in the process, the team is pioneering Ethical Fast Fashion. Catherine has been involved in various ICT for Development projects including Stanford University and Nokia Africa Research Center Design Projects focused on building mobile applications targeting informal communities. At Soko, she leads innovation to foster new scalable and appropriate solutions. Catherine is an International Telecom Union (ITU) Young Innovators fellow, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs as well as infoDev’s mobile startup camp fellow, a global grant program managed by World Bank. Catherine has been recognized as one of Forbes Top 30 under 30 globally 2016; Regional Winner of Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government 2016; one of Forbes Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa 2015; BBC’s top 30 under 30 2015; BBC’s top 100 women 2015; Kenya’s top 5 Female Entrepreneurs under 40; Top 5 upcoming tech women in Kenya to watch; World Bank’s top 11 inspirational women; a Leader of Tomorrow at the St. Gallen’s 44th Symposium in Switzerland 2014. She was recently featured in Forbes Magazine - June issue 2015 and Jan issue 2016 as one of the top 30 under 30 (2015 and 2016). She has also been featured by CNN, BBC and other mainstream media. Catherine has been invited as a guest speaker for numerous global conferences including the Economist 2016 Conference. www.shopsoko.com
Judith Chebet Mosobo, CEO of Iris Interiors Limited
Judith Chebet, 32, is the founder and CEO of Iris Interiors Limited a company that gives life to interior spaces through 3D visuals, and building admirable and elegant ceilings, for both living and working environment. She has over 5 years experience in interior architectural and design. Besides the ceiling services, she also has special expertise in cabinetry, decorative wall finishing and flooring. She has worked as a chief designer in numerous firms among them being Classic Mouldings Limited and Trancewood Limited. With the help of her former employers, she was able to change from exclusively being employed to providing professional interior solutions to her own client’s, through her company. Today with her own unique set of creativity and interpersonal skills, she uses her ability to connect with a very diverse group of people while employing critical thinking in problem solving scenarios. Her future goals are to transfer into a more traditional corporate structure and become an internationally recognized interior architect and designer having changed the outlook of future spaces! She innovates young and unrecognized professionals by enhancing their skills through training them on present design trends. Her mandate is also to run the day to day operations of her company especially the design and presentation process to clients, and managing her staff. Judith Chebet is a graduate having pursued a diploma in Interior Architecture and Design from BIFA (Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts). She is also pursuing a certification program on project management from Edupristine Inc. in New York, graduating in July, 2017. Among her achievements, she has been able to work with corporate clients among them being Ministry of transport, Paramount Bank and Sameer Park. In the near future she is working to be recognized as an international interior architect and designer, having led an innovative and growing company that has solved the problem of unemployment, and also to start a local production line for interior decor products. She is married and a mother of one child (son). www.irisinteriors.co.ke
Liz Kitua, CEO of Kidosho Apparel
Liz Kitua is the Founder and Creative Director of Kidosho Apparel – a demi-couture line, co-designed by and using the delicate craftsmanship of Kenyan artisans. Before this, Liz attended flying school in Kenya for two years then transferred to a flight academy in South Africa to complete the course. Liz graduated and returned home in January 2009 to start her life as a pilot. She worked as a commercial pilot for five years. In mid-2010, Liz started Kidosho as a side-hustle to pay the bills while she built her hours. The Kidosho brand has grown from strength to strength to become one of the most sought after fashion labels. Ms. Kitua yearns to empower her artisans, especially those who are single mothers to live self-sustaining lives, through her foundation; The Kidosho Foundation. Our items are manufactured locally; they’re accountable and sustainable. You can trace your garments to an individual whose life you’re improving through us. Kidosho focuses in blending Ethno-chic fabric with contemporary designs. Ms. Kitua is the creative direction for the brand and pays attention to the Fashion trends, taking in all the elements necessary for her to design. Liz is aware of the power that clothing has, in that you can control how you are perceived and what you communicate. She aims to not just design clothes, but to instill confidence. She has been featured on several media platforms such as Business Daily, Daily Nation and The Standard among others as an outstanding budding entrepreneur. Her clientele over the years has included big brands like Jameson and Safaricom while doing their brand activations. However her biggest profile case so far was the collaboration with Coke Studio Africa last year. This included dressing major artists across the globe such as Nigeria’s Yemi Alade, Uganda’s Chameleon, Sauti Sol from Kenya amongst others. Media personalities have also sought her designs and she strives to dress the urban woman. www.kidosho.co.ke
This was the second cohort to go through the rigorous Keroche Foundation Young Entrepreneurs Mentorship programme and from their testimonies, they have succeeded admirably. The mentees view success quite broadly. They don’t just think of success in monetary terms, although they acknowledge that money counts. They are quite happy to have developed extensive social networks, perfected their products and services, and understood the market better. Above all, the Keroche Foundation programme has given them the confidence to stand on their own.
For more information on the Keroche Foundation Young Entrepreneurs Mentorship Programme, visit the website www.kerochefoundation.org