Press Release: JICA Officially Kicks Off the 2nd Cohort of its NINJA Accelerator in Kenya Featuring Startups in Manufacturing, Agritech and Entertainment

NAIROBI, October 26th, 2021 – The NINJA Accelerator in Kenya - powered by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with Double Feather Partners, Deloitte Tohmatsu and Kenyan implementation partner GrowthAfrica - is proudly kicking off its 2nd  cohort with five tech-enabled Kenyan startups: Shamba Pride (agritech), Saada Tech (fintech), Kijenzi (manufacturing), M-Paya (smart metering), and MyMoviesAfrica (entertainment). The chosen 5 will embark on an updated 12-week journey, leading to an official showcase on Demo Day scheduled for January 28, 2022.

Five ventures made it past a narrow selection process in order to join the second cohort of the NINJA Accelerator in Kenya:

 

  1. Shamba Pride: Founded by Samuel Mungiti (CEO), Shamba Pride is disrupting rural distribution systems for Kenyan farmers by transforming informal agro-dealer stores into Digishops.
  2. Saada Tech: Co-founded by Eugene Mesebe (CTO) and Gerishon Mwaniki (Business Development), Saada Tech created ”Flo”,  a plug & play tool that enables small/micro-businesses to set up USSD, WhatsApp, IVR, and SMS solutions in minutes without a single line of code. 
  3. Kijenzi: Founded by John Gershenson (CEO), Kijenzi is democratizing manufacturing by providing local access to global supply chains and a distributed manufacturing platform.
  4. M-Paya Energy: Founded by Mwai Mworia (CEO) and Kevin Mutigi (Chief Commercial Officer), M-Paya Energy provides smart metering systems for electricity, water, and gas, improving consumption tracking, tenant billing and energy management for property owners. 
  5. MyMoviesAfrica: Co-founded by Trushna Jayesh Buddhdev-Patel and Mike Strano, MyMoviesAfrica is a streaming platform that brings more global new releases and local content to Africa and its diaspora while fighting piracy. 

As we continue to run multiple acceleration programs in Africa under Project NINJA, we are particularly excited to conduct our second edition in Kenya after getting familiar with the Kenyan ecosystem during our previous programs. The NINJA Accelerator is not just about potential connections with Japanese investors or partners, but more about providing customized support to founders to help increase the socioeconomic impacts embedded in their entrepreneurship”, said Shingo MORIHATA, Senior Director -  Private Sector Development Group, Economic Development Department at JICA. 

Furthermore, the program has been updated to address specific gaps identified with local founders, including appeal to international investors. 

Helping founders address business problems to strengthen their foothold in their domestic market, then expand, is one thing. The other is to ensure that local founders can access international capital. We notice that some local founders struggle to effectively articulate their stories or their very contextual business cases for international investors. So, helping startups get international-investor-ready is one of our focal points for this cohort”, said Kohei MUTO, CEO of Tokyo-based international VC Double Feather Partners, in charge of leading the NINJA Accelerator in Kenya.

This 2nd cohort builds upon a robust first cohort which included notable startups such as Sokowatch, Kwara, Amitruck, Cinch Markets and Zana Africa, and will officially showcase their businesses to potential investors on Demo Day, scheduled for January 28, 2022.  

Learn more about the NINJA Accelerator in Kenya at www.jica.ninja

For additional information

Yannick Gayama

Double Feather Partners

yannick.gayama@doublefeather.com 

About Project NINJA

Project NINJA is a JICA initiative to support entrepreneurs and to create business innovation in emerging countries. JICA intends to collaborate with various stakeholders to develop entrepreneurship, identify issues experienced by entrepreneurs, make policy recommendations, strengthen corporate management capacity, promote collaboration among enterprises across industries, match up with Japanese companies, and promote investment.

About JICA

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) implements official development assistance for the Government of Japan in developing countries and aims to promote international cooperation by supporting the socio-economic development, recovery, or economic stability of emerging economies.

For more info: https://www.jica.go.jp/english/index.html  

About Double Feather Partners 

Lead partner of the NINJA Accelerator in Kenya, Double Feather Partners (DFP) is an international venture capital and advisory firm based out of Tokyo, advising small, medium, and large organisations in public and private sectors in Japan, the Middle East, and Africa. It services include market research, emerging market penetration and expansion strategies, as well as an investment with a particular focus on Africa and start-ups. 

For more info: https://doublefeather.com     

Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support

Innovation is the key to driving business success and revitalizing the Japanese and the world economies in the 21st century. Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support (DTVS)'s mission is to “create the future alongside innovators”, by collaborating with startups, large corporations and government agencies. Main activities include: startup support, consulting for large corporations, open innovation and government agency support.

For more info: https://www2.deloitte.com/jp/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/dtvs/dtvs.html 

Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory LLC

Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory LLC (DTFA) delivers highly specialized financial advisory solutions to Deloitte’s clients facing critical business events and financial transactions where significant value is at stake. FA professionals have the global reach, deep industry sector knowledge, extensive service capabilities, and experience to help Deloitte’s clients capitalize on opportunities and navigate times of economic uncertainty and disruptive events.

For more info: https://www2.deloitte.com/jp/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/dtfa/deloitte-tohmatsu-financial-advisory.html  

About GrowthAfrica 

GrowthAfrica is a leading African accelerator and advisory firm with 18+ years of experience in delivering growth activities programmes for impactful African ventures. GrowthAfrica provides business growth programs for high-potential entrepreneurs as well as design and delivers activities for partners and clients in support of entrepreneurs. GrowthAfrica currently has offices in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, and Ghana. 

For more info: www.growthafrica.com

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