Irene Pritzker Enables African innovators to Raise Over $8 Million.

Irene Pritzker, President and CEO of the IDP Foundation, through a partnership with the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance, has helped African innovators secure more than $8 million from investors to scale their start-up ventures.

In 2017, the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance joined forces with Irene Pritzker and the IDP Foundation. “The IDP was looking for ways to effectively support young social enterprises in Africa who were at a very early stage of development. It took a lot of research and time to arrive on the doorstep of Harambe and we were delighted to be their first foundation founding partner and to pilot the Global Access Program (GAP),” said Pritzker.

GAP’s primary objective was to accelerate the growth of Harambeans who had already raised or had revenue streams of upwards of $500k. The 12-month pilot program welcomed the founders of MoringaConnect, Fibre, Kahawa 1893, Max and Shyft Power Solutions as the inaugural class. Over the course of the program, the five GAP Fellows spent time in Bretton Woods, London, Silicon Valley and the Vatican to meet with investors and experts in the Harambean ecosystem. The program provides support across four key strategic areas – capital, talent, strategic partnerships and leadership. Their goals were to raise $3.5m collectively, hire 5 people per venture, increase revenue by 20% with strategic partners and engage in a minimum of 7 hours of leadership training each.

“The overwhelming success of our first cohort of GAP Fellows exceeded all our expectations,” said Okendo Lewis-Gayle, Founder and Chairman of Harambeans. The inaugural class of GAP Fellows raised more than $8.2m, hired over 100 people and increased revenues by more than 40% through strategic partnership. “Apart from surpassing the program targets, we also successfully leveraged the network to raise the profile of the GAP Fellows. This included billboards in Times Square and the London Financial District sponsored by Thomson Reuters, profiles in Forbes magazine as well as a series of breakfast meetings for the GAP Fellows hosted by Vanity Fair in New York and Economist magazine in London.”

In a heartfelt note of thanks, GAP Fellow, Adetayo Bamiduro H’15, told Irene Pritzker “Because of your giving, I was able to connect with partners and investors around the world, which ultimately resulted in more than $7m in funding for Max NG, our motorcycle transportation project in West Africa.”

“The GAP model and the huge success of our first class of GAP Fellows proved that with deliberate audacity you can sometimes dare your dreams into existence!” said Lewis-Gayle. Given the success of the first class of GAP Fellows, Irene Pritzker will welcome the second class of GAP Fellows at the 5th Harambeans Rome Forum at the Vatican in September.

Meet the second cohort of GAP Fellows
Anis Kallel, H’19 from Tunisia is the co-founder of Kaoun. Given that the number of people who have access to credit cards and banking services in general in the developing world is very low, Kaoun has restructured the payments landscape and uses the generated data, consolidated with data mined from social media, to generate a credit score for everybody.

Ikenna Nzewi, H’17 is the co-founder of Releaf Group, an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of agribusinesses to trustworthy customers. Just as the name suggests, the American educated Nigerian co-founders seek to relieve and wade off incessant uncertainties amongst players (especially sellers) in the agricultural sector.

Kelechi Ofoegbu, H’19 is the co-founder of Impact Hub Accra, a co-working space located in Accra, Ghana. Its objective is to support inclusive growth in Ghana through the creation of a social innovation ecosystem by developing programs, providing workspace, access to capital and connecting entrepreneurs focused on solutions to regional challenges. Impact Hub Accra aims to build a globally integrated entrepreneurial community that promotes high impact developments in West Africa.

Yasmin Kumi, H’16 from Ghana is the founder of Africa Foresight Group, an African-owned and managed firm that provides locally accessible, world-class insights and advisory services to grow local companies into global champions. Their services include research, strategy development, implementation support and stakeholder engagement.

“We believe that the Harambean model is how the world will change. It won’t be social aid, but rather social enterprise and innovative Harambeans who will provide the solutions. We are privileged to be part of the Alliance and believe that Harambe is poised to become a global leader in exactly how you can change the equation and alter the face of poverty,” said Pritzker.

Keen to become a Harambean?
Each year, the Alliance receives more than 3000 applications for just 30 spots in its next class. “Our competitive selection process enables us to assemble an exceptional cadre of African innovators who want to help build Africa’s future and I am confident that next year will be no different,” says Lewis-Gayle.

Click here to apply to become a Harambean.

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