Endeavor Launches First Sub-Saharan African Affiliate Office in Kenya

Endeavor launched a new office this February in Kenya as the first-ever affiliate in Sub-Saharan Africa, aiming to usher in a new era of growth and economic development driven by high-impact entrepreneurship in the country. Launching with support from local business leaders and a partnership with Omidyar Network, Endeavor Kenya will support entrepreneurs and companies that have passed through the initial start-up phase and who demonstrate the potential for rapid expansion.

Endeavor Kenya will be led by a strong founding board, chaired by Dr. Benson Wairegi, Group Managing Director of Britam Holdings, and vice-chaired by SevenSeas Technologies Founder and CEO Mike Macharia. The founding board, which convened for the first time in February, will also include Chandaria Group CEO Darshan Chandaria, Safaricom Director of Consumer Business Sylvia Mulinge and Commercial Bank of Africa Group Managing Director Isaac Awuondo, and Executive Chairman of Brookside Dairy Muhoho Kenyatta.

The Endeavor Kenya launch team and founding board met for the first time in March.

Scale-up companies are becoming a critical component of economic and social development in Kenya. A 2015 report from Endeavor Insight, Endeavor’s in-house research arm, found that Kenya’s workforce is projected to grow by 3.4 million people by 2020 due to young adults entering the job market; yet, more than 1.5 million people are unemployed, one-third of which are between the ages of 15 and 24. High-growth entrepreneurs have the potential to be major job engines in the country: According to the findings, scaleup entrepreneurs represent only five percent of Kenyan firms, but created over 70 percent of the total new jobs.

With the demand for new jobs continuing to climb, high-impact companies are critical to creating an environment for continued growth, addressing the challenge of unemployment by driving innovation, strengthening value chains, and paving the way for long-term expansion. As the largest job creators in emerging economies like Kenya, scale-ups need access to the sort of services Endeavor works to provide, promoting the right mix of talent, funding and networks to accelerate high-impact entrepreneurship that can transform the region.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Kenya formally into the Endeavor family as our first expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Endeavor Co-Founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “The launch is truly a testament to the growth of Endeavor’s high-impact entrepreneurship movement over the past 20 years, and an exciting beacon of where we can go. With the strong backing from our partners at Omidyar Network and leaders in the Kenyan ecosystem, Endeavor Kenya is well poised to deliver pivotal services to the region’s most talented founders.”

Endeavor Kenya’s day to day operations will be led by Fiona Mungai, who brings six years of experience working in Private Equity and Asset Management in East Africa to the to the organization. Fiona started her career at British American Asset Managers working in the Fixed Income team. She later spent four years at Actis — a leading pan emerging markets private equity fund, where her strong belief in providing capital to entrepreneurs in order to positively impact social and economic development led her to serve as a founding member and Board Director of the East Africa Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.

“Endeavor’s trademark support will be of tremendous help to Kenyan entrepreneurs at a crucial point in their journeys; when they are poised to scale their businesses,” said Omidyar Network Managing Partner Matt Bannick.  “We at Omidyar Network congratulate the Endeavor team on their entry into sub-Saharan Africa, and we welcome Ms. Mungai.”

Endeavor is a 20 year-old nonprofit organization that is leading the global movement to facilitate long-term economic growth by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. Founded in 1997 by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner, Endeavor has helped over 1,400 of these entrepreneurs build more than 800 companies across 27 markets, which generated combined revenues of $8.1 billion in 2015. To date, companies led by Endeavor Entrepreneurs have created more than 600,000 jobs, and often go on to mentor and invest in the next generation of founders, or serve on the boards of Endeavor offices.

Endeavor Kenya will focus on selecting and supporting high-impact entrepreneurs and businesses from multiple sectors that have the potential to grow to an international level and reinvest back into the country by mentoring and providing financial support for successive generations of entrepreneurs.

For entrepreneurs interested in learning more about Endeavor in Kenya, please contact [email protected].