VISA UNVEILS THE  SHE’S NEXT KENYA GRANT COMPETITION FINALISTS

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As part of the 2024 International MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises)  Day celebrations , Visa has unveiled  the top five finalists for  the inaugural She’s Next Kenya programme. After a rigorous selection process from over 2,300 applicants, the finalists who will compete for the grand prize of up to Kshs.  2.5 million are Busu Naturals, Cladfy, Code with Kids, Crafts with Meaning, and Timao Group.

The programme  is part of Visa’s efforts to support the creation of an inclusive, equitable world where women business owners can flourish. It aims to support women-owned small businesses through funding, training  and mentorship. “We received an overwhelming number of applications from amazing women-led businesses  across the country and have reviewed all of them quite keenly,” said Eva Ngigi-Sarwari, Visa Kenya country manager adding  that the  finalists  demonstrated exceptional business acumen, innovation and resilience. Consequently, they  stood  out from a highly competitive field.

Talented women entrepreneurs

In addition to the top five, an additional fifteen  MSMEs will enter a capacity building and mentorship programme  being 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.  

“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”, said Patricia Okelo, co-founder, Kayana Create.

The selected MSMEs are drawn from various industries including sustainability, financial services and STEM education. One of them is    Busu Naturals.  This enterprise addresses the need for locally manufactured emollients that cater to sensitive African skin by incorporating local botanicals and traditional beauty practices from different Kenyan ethnic groups.  It   produces high-quality, safe, and consistent skincare products. The second one is Cladfy which addresses the credit gap in sub-Saharan Africa’s informal sector by enabling micro-lenders to provide working capital loans to micro-businesses such as smallholder farmers, fish vendors, and motorcycle riders. Third is code with kids which empowers children from low-income backgrounds with affordable and accessible STEM education, hence ensuring that socio-economic barriers do not hinder their ability to learn, innovate, and succeed.  The other one  is Crafts with Meaning ; 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.  Fifth is Timao Groupwhich addresses plastic pollution and affordable housing in Kenya by transforming plastic waste into durable, cost-effective building materials for modular homes.The winner of the Kshs.  2.5 million grant will be announced on Wednesday 10th July 2024.

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