From playing Hockey to Fighting Crime, nothing can stop Catherine Kiguru
From her charming smile and her upbeat personality, it’s hard to tell the kinds of hardships that Catherine Kiguru has had to overcome. So, it’s no surprise that Catherine has already become an inspiration to those around her and the world is quickly taking notice. In the last few months, Catherine has been training users in Nigeria, and speaking at an event in Chicago. Although she didn’t become the professional hockey player she hoped, she’s still taking on new challenges like learning Karate and through her company’s app, fighting crime.
Kiguru was one of 18 entrepreneurs invited to infoDev’s Mobile Startup Camp—a one-week intensive course designed to accelerate the growth of early-stage mobile ventures and give them a chance to pitch before angel investors.
In the run up to the establishment of its first Agribusiness Innovation Center (AIC) in Tanzania, infoDev is identifying inspiring agro-processing entrepreneurs whose startup journeys call for innovative solutions. Flotea Massawe, a successful textiles entrepreneur, was concerned with the high level of malnutrition in her country despite the high agricultural production capacity. Priding herself as a problem solver, her thinking was simple: healthy food on the table, reduced malnutrition. So why not make a business out of it? During Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014, we sat down with Flotea and asked her to share her story with fellow Agri-preneurs.
Ho Van Hoan founder of Ho Hoan Cau has developed an innovative molding machine that can produce bricks with less material and no heat. This innovative system has been specifically developed to provide low-income communities with a more affordable and sustainable alternative to the traditional oven-based molding process – more costly and less climate friendly. Established in 2007, the company has already sold 2,500 units and won several awards, including the Vietnam Business Challenge Fund Award and the more recent infoDev’s Climate Technology Program Proof of Concept Competition. After refining his business strategy at the first cleantech bootcamp organized in the country by infoDev, Ho Van Hoan discussed with us the greatest challenges as an emerging entrepreneur and his plans for the future of the company.
In August, Allan Marega was selected to participate in the first-ever support program for crowdfunding in East Africa organized by the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC). Now, with the support of the Kenya CIC, Allan will plan and launch a new crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for its climate-tech company, Global Supply Solutions Limited. We sat down with him to talk about his business, his innovative ideas, and what he has learned so far on crowdfunding from the KCIC Program.
In the spring of 2014, St. Lucia entrepreneur Patricia Joshua was a selectee in infoDev’s 50-woman innovation workshop series. She went back to work on her paper products, applying the principles she had absorbed. By the summer, she would find herself one of two women from that WINC Grow your Business series to win a prestigious Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) Proof of Concept (PoC) grant, in her case, for development of sustainable agri-business paper products. See what drove her to become one of the 11 regional grant winners.
Shortly before graduation from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus in 2012, Gaitrie Satnarain looked around and saw that there were very few experts in climate change technology operating in Suriname. So she became one herself by establishing GUS Climate Change Observer.
Though he started off with dreams of working for the US government or a DC think tank, Ben Lyon (@) quickly found himself an entrepreneur in East Africa thousands of miles away from home. It was a tough start- having spent a year and a half, pitching to over a hundred investors, but now, Kopo Kopo (@ )has grown to service 15,000 businesses across Kenya and has already processed over a million transactions.
In 2010, Judith Owigar formed Akirachix together with three other women and won an infoDev grant that same year. Of course, it hasn’t always been an easy journey for Judith, who has had to juggle survival with establishing her business. She hesitates when you ask her if she would do it all over again because the money hasn’t always been there. However, seeing the girl’s excitement when they’re learning about technology is what has kept her going.
Her goal when she was a child was to be successful and today that is slowly becoming a reality.