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Visa She’s Next Kenya Finalists: Who Will Win KES 2.5 Million Grant?

Visa has announced the top five finalists for the inaugural She’s Next Kenya program. The announcement coincided with International MSME Day 2024, marked on 27th June, and highlights Visa’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable world where women business owners can thrive.

The She’s Next Kenya program is part of Visa’s global advocacy initiative aimed at supporting women-owned small businesses through funding, training, and mentorship. This year, Visa received an overwhelming 2,300 applications from women-led businesses across Kenya.

After a rigorous selection process, the five finalists who will compete for the grand prize of up to KES 2.5 million are:

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  1. Busu NaturalsBusu Naturals addresses the need for locally manufactured emollients that cater to sensitive African skin. By incorporating local botanicals and traditional beauty practices from various Kenyan ethnicities, Busu Naturals provides high-quality, safe, and consistent skincare products.
  2. CladfyCladfy tackles the credit gap in sub-Saharan Africa’s informal sector by enabling micro-lenders to provide working capital loans to micro-businesses. These businesses include smallholder farmers, fish vendors, and motorcycle riders, thus supporting the backbone of the informal economy.
  3. Code with KidsCode with Kids empowers children from low-income backgrounds by providing affordable and accessible STEM education. This initiative ensures that socio-economic barriers do not hinder the ability of these children to learn, innovate, and succeed in the fast-evolving digital world.
  4. Crafts with Meaning – Crafts with Meaning is an award-winning social enterprise that collaborates with artisans in Kenya and Uganda to create home decor goods, lifestyle accessories, bags, and corporate merchandise. Inspired by African heritage, this enterprise supports local artisans and promotes cultural preservation.
  5. Timao GroupTimao Group addresses the dual challenges of plastic pollution and affordable housing in Kenya. By transforming plastic waste into durable, cost-effective building materials for modular homes, Timao Group contributes to environmental sustainability and provides housing solutions.

Eva Ngigi-Sarwari, Visa Kenya Country Manager, expressed her excitement about the program, stating, “We received an overwhelming number of applications from amazing women-led businesses across the country and have reviewed all of them quite keenly. These finalists have demonstrated exceptional business acumen, innovation, and resilience, standing out from a highly competitive field. They represent a diverse range of industries and are set to significantly contribute to the Kenyan economy and beyond. We are also excited about the additional SMEs that we are integrating into our She’s Next community to help them further develop their business skills and strategies, propelling their enterprises to new heights.”

In addition to the top five finalists, Visa has integrated an additional 15 SMEs into a capacity-building and mentorship program. This initiative is carried out in partnership with Kayana Create, a community of female entrepreneurs that seeks to support and empower talented women entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level.

Patricia Okelo, Co-founder of Kayana Create, shared her enthusiasm, saying, “She’s Next Kenya continues to champion the empowerment of women entrepreneurs, fostering innovation and creating economic opportunities. We congratulate the finalists and look forward to their presentations. The determination and drive they have demonstrated are truly inspiring, and we are excited to see who will emerge as the winner in this fierce competition.”

The selected SMEs represent various industries, including sustainability, financial services, and STEM education. Their innovative approaches and dedication to addressing societal challenges highlight the potential impact of women entrepreneurs on the Kenyan economy.

The winner of the KES 2.5 million grant will be announced on Wednesday, 10th July 2024. This grant will provide the winning business with the necessary funding to scale their operations and enhance their impact.

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