Making a Difference — and Making Profits

While Tala has a strong mission, Siroya also wants to build a successful, for-profit company. She wants to transform lives and tap into the 3 billion potential customers in the emerging global middle class.

A CCAFS-informed public-private partnership reaches 300,000 farmers with climate information

As a result of the trials, Esoko adopted a public-private partnership (PPP) business model proposed by CCAFS to allow the sustainable and equitable dissemination of CIS. The PPP is targeting farmers subscribing to the “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) initiative introduced by the Government of Ghana as part of its measures to improve food security and employment in the agricultural sector.

Currently in Kenya about 8 million people lack hygienic sanitation, particularly where community members don’t have access to clean toilets. In Nairobi, a company is tackling the waste problem:

Fresh life toilets are a hygienic, clean facility and Sanergy are also creating a useable by-product from the waste. “Everyday we collect about 10 tonnes of waste from the community which we take to a central processing facility and convert into valuable by-product; such as pure protein which is very good animal feed used by farmers who have livestock.” – Edith Karimi.

2 Kenyan e-health startups secure grants from Villgro

“The mission of Maisha Meds is to develop systems to improve access to high quality and affordable medicines. We are incredibly excited to work with Villgro in this mission, and have heard wonderful things about the support that Villgro provides companies working to scale health technologies in East Africa,” she said.


New fecal treatment plant to ease sewer crisis in Naivasha

The ultra-modern plant, christened Sanivation Fecal Sludge Plant, was put up by Sanivation in collaboration with Naivasha Water, Sewerage and Sanitation Company (Naivawas).
Sanivation is a social enterprise organisation whose main preoccupation is to improve the overall dignity, health, and environment of urbanising communities in East Africa through delivering clean, safe and efficient sanitation services.


Meet the Entrepreneur: Andrew Foote and Emily Woods, Sanivation

Impact investors and international development experts are keen to talk about approachable topics like solar energy and clean drinking water. But bring up the subject of safely processing and recycling human waste and people get uncomfortable. In this interview, we sat down with Andrew Foote and Emily Woods, co-founders of Sanivation, to understand how they’re overcoming this taboo. Sanivation is a social enterprise in Kenya that provides waste-to-energy sanitation services to local governments and refugee camps, turning fecal sludge into environmentally-friendly fuel alternatives to charcoal and firewood.

Social Impact Investing Shows Up in International Social Franchise Programs

Sanergy sought to have a significant social impact by improving sanitation conditions by providing portable toilets that are pre-manufactured, shipped, and installed in residential communities and other venues on a cost-efficient basis. Sanergy’s Fresh Life Toilet (FLT) is made of high-quality materials and easy to keep clean and maintain. More than 1,000 FLTs have been sold.

What an open mobile money platform means for innovation

“We launched Kopo Kopo which became the industry’s first merchant aggregator where we would go and acquire merchants directly and then bring thousands of merchants to the operator and then maintain that relationship,” Mr Lyon says.

Entrepreneurship on the Rise in the Medical Supply Chain in Africa: A Tale of Four Pharmacy Disruptors

Originally set up to improve diagnosis and prescribing for pharmacies in Kisumu, Kenya, Maisha Meds faced a growing demand for pharmacy management, stock keeping, and supply chain tools. Two years on, Maisha Meds offers pharmacy owners a cloud-based android app which is a point of sale (POS) system that collects procurement and patient data; it also negotiates prices with manufacturers and coordinates deliveries with distributors.

Mukuru locals enjoy better hygiene from fresh life toilets

Born out of a thesis project by three graduates of Massachusetts Institute of Technology –MIT (US-based private research university ranked among world’s top universities), who have been in the country implementing it since 2010, Fresh Life toilet, has seen many slum dwellers enjoy what most would take for granted: a toilet.

African innovation scores wins at 2018 MIT Solve Global Challenge finals

Access Afya runs a chain of micro-clinics in Nairobi’s informal settlements. The startup was founded in 2012 by Melissa Menke. Access Afya’s Akiba ya Roho initiative — a comprehensive diabetes and hypertension management programme — scored the social enterprise a place on the 2018 MIT Solver class.

African innovation scores wins at 2018 MIT Solve Global Challenge finals

Akiba ya Roho (Melissa Menke, Kenya): Access Afya’s Akiba ya Roho programme helps trained community members conduct mass non-communicable disease screenings in slums with a mobile app which guides users through a series of simple health questions, and community members take basic measurements like blood sugar and pressure.

Women And Power: The eco warrior Lorna Rutto

The ban on logging and the need to preserve the environment from the harmful effects of plastic waste have presented eco warrior Lorna Rutto, with the perfect incentive to turn waste into cash. Through her company, Eco- Post, Lorna is doing her bit to salvage the country’s forest cover, while keeping the land free from plastic waste. I spent time with this eco-preneur and found out, that apart from creating jobs in an endevour to create a clean environment, Lorna is living her dream. Her story is the subject of this week’s Women and Power with Gladys Gachanja.

Venture Out: Shivani Siroya, CEO of Tala

Shivani Siroya founded Tala after spending time in emerging markets and found that mobile tech is the best way to solve this problem she was passionate about. Tala provides microloans to people in emerging markets who are unable to secure credit through traditional banks. They use nontraditional data pulled from mobile phones and have extended credit to over 1.3 million customers.

Give People Some (Micro) Credit—and Transform Their Lives

These individuals didn’t have credit scores. So I looked at other things. I lent to one woman, for instance, who I knew saved 30 percent of her income every month for her son’s computer class. I’d observed that she bought her inventory every third Thursday of the month, and that people in her community spent more time in her store than a

Fintech startup Tala opens first engineering hub in India in Bengaluru

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Tala was founded by Shivani Siroya, an Indian-origin entrepreneur in 2012. The startup aims to broaden access to credit and financial services by harnessing non-traditional data. Tala’s proprietary credit model leverages alternative data and state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to assess the creditworthiness of thin-file customers.

For Success Beyond The Bottom Line, These Women Executives Lead With Purpose

In the realm of capital, Shivani Siroya’s micro-finance venture Tala is funding developing-world business owners who would usually be considered too risky by the traditional standards of credit bureaus or who would not be tracked at all. Tala landed on Forbes’ Fintech 50 2018 list of disrupters, with $109 million raised and 4.5 million loans initiated, with a repayment rate of 90%.

100 Bold Ideas to Improve Women and Children’s Health and Rights in the Developing World

Access Afya Kenya is developing and testing a revolutionary approach that aims to put nutrient monitoring into the hands of mothers using the non-invasive technique of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Fingernail scanning can be done by mothers at home, and results are instantaneous and easy to interpret. With the 1000 Day Nutrient Monitor, each mother can repeatedly analyse her and her baby’s nutrient levels, informing proactive diet changes.

Takamoto Biogas creating jobs with Biogas Manufacturing

Takamoto Biogas- Is in the business of creating employment for through biogas manufacturing. Located in Githunguri, Kiambu County, local farmers in the region are the main beneficiaries of the technology. However, the company is striving to expand its clientele base across the country.

This Millennial Is Leading Africa’s Tech Revolution

Nigerian-American Maya Horgan Famodu is solving a big problem for Silicon Valley: Investors want to invest in Africa, but lack the know-how or local partners to help them get on the inside. Enter Famodu. She is the 26-year-old gatekeeper between tech investors and the Africa entrepreneur ecosystem.

How ex-UN staff got data for credit app Tala

Today, the micro lender has serviced more than 4.5 million loans and has lent out Sh25 billion ($250 million) to its customers in Kenya, Tanzania, Philippines and Mexico. “Repayment rates are at 92 per cent with eight per cent accounting for the slow payers. Interestingly, 95 per cent of our clients are repeat customers,” said Ms Siroya, a graduate of Columbia University.

Pharmacy lifeline in Kenya

Newsday’s Alan Kasujja visited an organisation which is trying to change that. ‘Access Afya’, runs three micro clinics and two pharmacies which service thirty thousand people in Nairobi’s informal settlements.

These 14 businesses are growing money on trees

Companies around the world are branching out into forest conservation, finding that restoring deforested and degraded land yields high returns for investors, entrepreneurs and the environment.

Urban Health In Slums Between Addis Ababa And Nairobi

In light of the gap left by formal healthcare systems and in an effort to cater to the largely underserved population of Nairobi’s informal areas, Access Afya is a chain of three clinics located in the capital’s largest slums.

From a Mile to A Million

Two 21-year-old fashion students, Inés Mille and Marc Collines, left the hallowed hallways of fashion in Barcelona and with just $9,000 in their pockets, traveled all the way to East Africa to set up shop in little-known Kigali in Rwanda, which at the time was building itself – a fully-fledged fashion industry was not yet on its radar.

‘Sanergy’ Creates Sustainable Solutions for Sanitation in Kenya

NAIROBI — Despite constitutional acknowledgment of safe water, sanitation and hygiene as a human right, the problem of basic sanitation in Kenya is still severe. In urban slums, which house 8 million Kenyans in densely packed and unstable conditions, the issue is especially concerning — an estimated 80 percent of people lack access to basic sanitation.


New Initiative Sanivation Makes Cleaner Fuel for Kenya’s Poor

A group of U.S. students from Georgia Tech came up with a solution. Sanivation is an innovative company that puts “blue box” toilets in homes, then collects waste from them and synthesizes waste into fuel. The result is briquettes that burn three times as long as regular coal and emit less carbon monoxide when burned. Creators Andrew Foote and Emily Woods originally came up with the idea for a research project, then presented it to Start-Up Chile, which helped them accelerate their business.


10 ideas that could change the world

The 30 regional finalists of the Chivas Venture social entrepreneurship competition are preparing for the global finale in LA this summer. Here are ten of those businesses – each with the potential to change the world.