Five Kenyan cleantech startups have been selected to take part in the 3rd cohort of Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) entrepreneurship support initiative, Project NINJA (Next INnovation with Japan).
Through the program, the selected startups will receive tailored support to solidify their businesses and access to international mentoring, networking, and fundraising opportunities, including a roadshow to Japan.
The five startups were selected based on criteria such as team, business model, and potential impact. They include Baridi, a Pay-as-you-Store or Lease-to-Own solar-enhanced cold-storage solution provider focused on down-stream consumption markets in the Meat and Fishery value chain requiring sub-zero technology, Mazi Mobility a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) ecosystem provider that locally assembles and deploys electric motorcycles and 24/7 affordable, fast battery-swapping stations and MegaGas which collects plastic waste and converts it into clean cooking gas thanks to its patented thermal cracking process, providing low-income customers with safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly energy alternatives to LPG Gas or charcoal.
Others include Ycenter Shambah Solutions that provides last-mile soil testing and analysis to smallholder farmers via Internet of Things (IoT) technology, addressing deteriorating soil health, reduced crop productivity and quality caused by the misuse of agricultural inputs and Timao Group which recycles post-consumer plastic waste and converts it into modular building materials for construction companies and developers as part of the circular economy, and addresses both the reduction of plastic waste and the supply shortage of building materials in rapidly urbanizing areas.
This cohort is set to embark on a 12-week transformative journey, implemented by Double Feather Partners, Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support, Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory, and GrowthAfrica.
“We are thrilled to launch this 3rd cohort as another testament to our commitment to fostering innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship in Kenya, against the backdrop of the 60th Anniversary of Kenya-Japan diplomatic relations, and in support of the vision set forth by the Kenya National Innovation Agency,” said Hajime Iwama, Chief Representative from JICA Kenya.
“We are particularly excited about this cohort as it is the first post-COVID one that we lead on behalf of JICA. We look forward to introducing them to our network of investors and corporations bullish on the cleantech space,” said Kohei Muto, CEO of Double Feather Partners, the Japan-based Venture Capital and Startup Ecosystem Engagement firm leading the consortium to which JICA awarded this project.
The Project NINJA Accelerator in Kenya equips founders with the necessary tools to increase their readiness for partnerships and investments, enabling them to enhance their businesses and scale effectively within the Kenyan market. Additionally, the program offers domestic and international exposure, including joining JICA’s delegation to the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit 2023 in Cape Town, as well as a roadshow to Japan, opening doors to Japanese venture capitalists, institutional and corporate investors, and strategic partners.
Among the impressive alumni of the NINJA Accelerator in Kenya are successful ventures such as Wasoko, Kwara, Amitruck, Zana Africa, Shamba Pride, Kijenzi, and My Movies.Africa. These ventures serve as inspiring examples of the program’s nurturing of entrepreneurial success.