Soko-Text founder receives his cash prize

Nailab CEO Sam Gichuru (left) presents a cheque of Kshs 300,000 to Suraj Gudka (centre) after he emerged the winner of the two day start-up crowd funding boot camp held at the Nailab. Looking on is Anna Chojnacka (right), Founder 1% club.

Nailab, in partnership with 1% Club, a Netherlands based crowdfunding venture, and Accenture a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, held a 2 day start-up crowd funding boot camp. The boot camp, which was the first crowdfunding event in Kenya, brought together a total of 19 ventures in different spheres with 3 winning campaigns taking home a cumulative Ksh 450,000.

Speaking during the award ceremony, Nailab CEO Sam Gichuru highlighted that as an entrepreneur himself, he experienced struggles in getting the needed start up capital. He highlighted several sources of startup capital. There is bootstrapping, a situation where an entrepreneur attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company. There are Angel investors, venture capitalists and credit facilities from financial institutions. He added that crowdfuding is a channel scarcely exploited yet it has a lot of potential as entrepreneurs don’t have to give up equity or accumulate debt.

The Crowdfunding concept has gained a lot of traction in the west in the last few years with platforms like 1%Club expanding their capacity to more enterprises from emerging and developed markets. “ Our greatest desire is to make great ideas possible and help make small ideas big through facilitating their funding on our platform” said Anna Chojnacka, one of the founders at 1%Club.“ I am impressed at the quality of solutions that have been showcased and the entrepreneurs quick adoption of the crowdfunding concept.”

Soko Text, a Kenyan start-up tackling food insecurity in the urban slums through an sms service that is helping the small-scale vegetable retailers also known as “mama mbogas” aggregate daily orders, won the coveted Ksh. 300,000. According to the founding CEO Mr. Suraj Gudka, the funds will aid in making their first Soko shop operational and go a long way in expanding and bettering the startup’s operations. “As an entrepreneur, I am very grateful for this opportunity and the chance to get to understand how crowdfunding operates and how I can maximize its benefits for the growth of the venture”, said Mr. Gudka.

The 1st runner up, Keja Hunt an online property-listing platform and 2nd runner up Young Freddie, a young shoe fashion designer who uses recyclable material, took home Ksh. 90,000 and Ksh. 60,000 respectively.