Sintamei Nkaitole, founder and CEO of Eriel Group Limited, walked away with a Ksh. 1 Million (USD 10,000) grant after emerging the winner of Sinapis business plan competition held at Panari hotel on Saturday. This was during a graduation ceremony after completion of an intensive 4 month training course on entrepreneurship that is offered by Sinapis.
Eriel Group is an organisation that produces raw and unfiltered honey for consumption under the brand name, Asali. Sintamei, a 23 year old, works in partnership with the Maasai women in her local community who maintain the beehives and harvest the honey. Eriel Group then purchases and packages the honey from the women for re-sale. During her presentation, Sintamei told the audience she stumbled upon the idea after her family moved to their new home which happened to be along a bee route. The route had been in existence for a hundred years and couldn’t be gotten rid of. She then saw an opportunity to not only profit from the bees but also help to uplift the livelihood of her local community through the sale of honey. Sinatmei plans to use the prize money to buy more hives and scale production in her business.
The other entrepreneurs who were finalists in the competition were; Brian Gacheru of Pristine Laundry. His company provides laundry services for the corporate market. Gideon Kyalo of Goodrich Schools; Gideon was dismissed as a slow learner and a failure by his teachers. He started the school in order to provide learning methods that cater to all types of students, regardless of their capabilities. Lilian Nyaranga of Elimu shop; she runs an online store that sells teaching aids for teachers. Samuel Gitau of Brand Extreme. His company acts as a liaison between freelance graphic artists and corporate clients.
Sinapis is an accelerator program for early stage to mid-stage entreprenuers that was founded in Kenya back in 2010 by Courtney Mill and Karibu Nyagah. It provides intensive training at the advanced MBA level in partnership with Acton School of Business in Austin, Texas. It is a Christian based non-profit organization and combines Christian teaching with entrepreneurship. This is with the aim of creating ethical business people who will follow Christian principles in their work. As part of the graduation, the participants are invited to submit business plans which they are supposed to be pitched to a panel of judges after which the winner gets a grant of Ksh. 1 Million and a chance to join the Sinapis Fast Track Fellows program.
All the outstanding finalists in the Business Plan Competition get a chance to advance into the Fast Track Fellows program. This is an intensive 6 month program that allow the finalists to benefit from key resources such as customized mentorship from successful business owners, professional advise from experts and one on one support from experienced consultants. Other than the training the fellows under the program also get access to additional funds in the form of early stage and growth stage investment capital.
Among past beneficiaries of the program are Grace Murugi of Cakes.co.ke a thriving high end bakery, dessert café and cake training academy. After going through the Sinapis program she was able to grow her revenue by over 50%, staff count doubled and based on her success she was even contemplating franchising the business. Another beneficiary is Daniel Mwaura founder of Buildmart Solutions which manufactures motarless interlocking blocks. Daniel an architect came up with the concept back in 2010 but he struggled to turn his vision into a business reality. He joined the Sinapis program in 2012 after which they connected him with investors who have him a loan which made it possible to build a factory, buy equipment and register Buildmart as a business. Fast forward to 2015 when he won a tender worth Ksh. 300 Million to build 450 houses for Police and Prison Warders. Frank Omondi founder of Tensenses Africa is also a beneficiary of the Sinapis program.
Grace, Frank and Daniel serve as good examples of how effective the Sinapis program is, so in case you are interested in joining or knowing more about the program go here.