Innovation

JICA kicks off the 2nd Cohort of NINJA Accelerator in Kenya

The NINJA Accelerator in Kenya – powered by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with Double Feather Partners, Deloitte Tohmatsu and Kenyan implementation partner GrowthAfrica – is proudly kicking off its 2nd  cohort with five tech-enabled Kenyan startups: Shamba Pride (agritech), Saada Tech (fintech), Kijenzi (manufacturing), M-Paya (smart metering), and MyMoviesAfrica (entertainment). The chosen 5 will embark on an updated 12-week journey, leading to an official showcase on Demo Day scheduled for January 28, 2022.

Five ventures made it past a narrow selection process in order to join the second cohort of the NINJA Accelerator in Kenya:

  1. Shamba Pride: Founded by Samuel Mungiti (CEO), Shamba Pride is disrupting rural distribution systems for Kenyan farmers by transforming informal agro-dealer stores into Digishops.
  2. Saada Tech: Co-founded by Eugene Mesebe (CTO) and Gerishon Mwaniki (Business Development), Saada Tech created ”Flo”,  a plug & play tool that enables small/micro-businesses to set up USSD, WhatsApp, IVR, and SMS solutions in minutes without a single line of code.
  3. Kijenzi: Founded by John Gershenson (CEO), Kijenzi is democratizing manufacturing by providing local access to global supply chains and a distributed manufacturing platform.
  4. M-Paya Energy: Founded by Mwai Mworia (CEO) and Kevin Mutigi (Chief Commercial Officer), M-Paya Energy provides smart metering systems for electricity, water, and gas, imroving consumption tracking, tenant billing and energy management for property owners.
  5. MyMoviesAfrica: Co-founded by Trushna Jayesh Buddhdev-Patel and Mike Strano, MyMoviesAfrica is a streaming platform that brings more global new releases and local content to Africa and its diaspora while fighting piracy.

”As we continue to run multiple acceleration programs in Africa under Project NINJA, we are particularly excited to conduct our second edition in Kenya after getting familiar with the Kenyan ecosystem during our previous programs. The NINJA Accelerator is not just about potential connections with Japanese investors or partners, but more about providing customized support to founders to help increase the socioeconomic impacts embedded in their entrepreneurship”, said Shingo MORIHATA, Senior Director –  Private Sector Development Group, Economic Development Department at JICA.

Furthermore, the program has been updated to address specific gaps identified with local founders, including appeal to international investors.



”Helping founders address business problems to strengthen their foothold in their domestic market, then expand, is one thing. The other is to ensure that local founders can access international capital. We notice that some local founders struggle to effectively articulate their stories or their very contextual business cases for international investors. So, helping startups get international-investor-ready is one of our focal points for this cohort”, said Kohei MUTO, CEO of Tokyo-based international VC Double Feather Partners, in charge of leading the NINJA Accelerator in Kenya.

This 2nd cohort builds upon a robust first cohort which included notable startups such as Sokowatch, Kwara, Amitruck, Cinch Markets and Zana Africa, and will officially showcase their businesses to potential investors on Demo Day, scheduled for January 28, 2022. 



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