ygap Kenya Accelerator Program 2021

In June of 2021, ygap Kenya began their inaugural Accelerator program with a residential bootcamp of 22 venture founders, selected from 84 applicants. The team had been intentionally targeting recruitment from rural areas and saw an incredible 90.9% of ventures apply from outside Nairobi.

Congratulations to the ygap Kenya team on running such a successful bootcamp, and at nearly double the participant numbers they usually take on in a cohort. Read on to find out more.

The yap Kenya June 2021 program commenced on June 13th with a 5 day intensive live-in accelerator at Lukenya  Getaway in Athi River. For ygap Kenya, this marked the start of yet another partnership with The Argidius Foundation for the span of 2021-2023, strategically built around the common goal of helping entrepreneurs establish profitable businesses and contribute to the sustainable development of their communities.

In addition, this was ygap Kenya’s first accelerator run after the COVID 19 Pandemic hit the country in March, 2020. The restrictions imposed by COVID had the program team reschedule to dates (from 23rd May to June 13th) that worked well for the selected participants after the decline of infection rates and the lift of travel restrictions for the  live-in accelerator

The applications for the 2021 program were officially opened on 22nd February 2021 and ran for a period of 3 months. Ygap Kenya garnered a total of 84 applicants for the June 2021 Accelerator Program, majority of them (70%) being from male entrepreneurs. The Kenya program team focused on identifying and selecting the most promising early stage ventures with potential for growth to participate in the 2021 program.

A total of 22  founders (40.9 % female) from different regions were selected with a majority (90.9%) of the ventures based outside of Nairobi. Collectively the participating ventures aligned with various industry sectors- Agriculture (40.9%) Manufacturing/light (18%) and Education (9%) among other sectors. Their solutions proved to provide more holistic support for people in their communities through advocacy in job creation, education, healthy living and home safety.

The ventures also aligned with eight Sustainable Development Goals in total including: SDG 1 (zero poverty) , SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), SDG4 ( Quality Education), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG12 (Responsible Consumption and Production). For over 7 years ygap Kenya has run a total of 13 accelerator programs, with the June 2021 cohort being the largest cohort yet.

For the ygap Kenya June 2021 program, the 5-day intensive workshop component of the program was facilitated by Carol Kimari and Albert Kimani- ygap Kenya’s Country Director and Programs Manager respectively. The accelerator week focused on  refining the participating start-ups’ Business Models, building their Theories of Change, Financial Models, MEL Frameworks, Goal Setting, Pitch development, Mental Health & Wellbeing among others. The week concluded with two presentation events, peer review where all the 22 participants got to pitch their businesses to their peers and the demo day event where the top 11 ranked from the peer review got to pitch to judges who were experts in business advisory, recruited by ygap Kenya, to win their votes. The winner of both events was Getrude Kurgat of Gintex Limited.

Throughout the sessions, commitment and active participation were seen to be the key success drivers of the  accelerator and this ultimately resulted in a 100% completion rate. Critically, the  accelerator program was able to meet its objectives and received tremendous positive feedback from participating ventures with an NPS of 77.8% – highlighting the program’s value to the participants.

– Written by ygap Kenya Impact officer, Periz Odhiambo.