Mission Statement

Nurture. Grow. Glorify.

Our mission is to make disciples and alleviate poverty through the power of entrepreneurship.

About Our Name

Sinapis is the scientific name for the mustard plant. Jesus speaks of the mustard seed three separate times in the New Testament. (Matt. 13:31-32; Mark 4:31-32; Luke 13:18-19). In each instance He relates the Kingdom of God to this seed, which though very small grows to be a surprisingly large tree-like plant. Similarly, Sinapis hopes to glorify God by giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow small seeds of ideas into strong businesses, which can in turn provide for many.

He told them another parable: The kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.

-Matthew 13:31-32

Our Story

The roots of Sinapis date back to December of 2008 when two Harvard graduate students, Courtney Rountree Mills and Karibu Nyaggah, met during a student trip to East Africa. Courtney was a graduate student at Harvard Kennedy School and Karibu was a graduate student at Harvard Business School. Karibu was leading the student trip to his home country of Kenya. Courtney and Karibu became fast friends during the trip, and soon Courtney revealed her vision of setting up an accelerator program for start-up stage entrepreneurs in Kenya. Later that year, Courtney embarked upon her thesis where she received the opportunity to work with the Ministry of Finance in Kenya to help them look at bottlenecks in the private sector, particularly with regards to entrepreneurship. Courtney received funds from Harvard to do research on the subject the summer of 2009 and travelled to Kenya with fellow Harvard graduate, Matt Stolhandske, to diligence the viability of an early stage accelerator program in Nairobi. Interviewing over 100 professionals from the for-profit, non-profit and government sectors on the entrepreneurship space laid the groundwork for the first version of the business plan for the accelerator program. Increasingly, there was a call to think about how this accelerator program could directly glorify God’s kingdom and increase His presence in Kenya in a practical way. Thus, they decided to make the Sinapis program centered on Kingdom business principles that help entrepreneurs integrate their faith with their business. They named the organization Sinapis, the Latin name for the mustard seed found in the mustard seed parable of the New Testament, to reflect this vision.

The Sinapis Difference

Capacity building for earlier stage SMEs

You may be thinking, “Isn’t Sinapis just the next micro-finance institution?” Or perhaps, “I know of another organization that does the same thing Sinapis is trying to do.” We beg to differ. First and foremost, Sinapis does not work with micro-enterprises. Period. We are focused on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which are generally more formalized businesses and, by definition, have higher annual turnover. This isn’t because we don’t like micro-enterprises but rather because we seek to fill a gap not currently being met by the micro-finance industry and the traditional banking sector. Furthermore, unlike other non-profits who focus on mature SMEs, Sinapis focuses exclusively on SMEs in their earliest stages, typically when they are still just an idea. Additionally, we believe that the entrepreneur’s abilities are often of more consequence than the business idea itself. Thus, while most organizations provide only financial capital with very little business training and support, Sinapis provides a holistic training program specifically designed for early stage entrepreneurs.

Nurturing Tagline (Colour)-2

Theory of Change

Sinapis supports entrepreneurs with innovative, scalable business ideas by providing intensive business training, access to financing and exposure to Christ-centered business principles that equip them to triumph over ethical challenges. As these entrepreneurs become successful in business, they create sustainable jobs and help alleviate poverty. With this success comes greater societal influence to transform the business culture for the glory of God and the opportunity to disciple others to do the same.


Matthew Rohrs


Matthew Rohrs has a diverse background that combines international economic development, investment management, and spiritual leadership…Read More

Sylvie Somerville

Director of Sinapis Academy

Sylvie Somerville joined Sinapis in July 2018 with diverse experiences working for private, public, and non-profit organizations…Read More

Beatrice Jalala

Program Coordinator

Beatrice Jalala studied Business Management at Kenya Institute of Management. Before Sinapis, she worked with New Day Ltd and Keswick Books and…Read More

Salome Ayugi

Marketing Coordinator

Salome Ayugi is a driven go-getter with a passion for people. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Technology…Read More

Toby Kilgore


Toby Kilgore is an experienced business leader with an extensive track record of over 25 years working with leading domestic and international institutions…Read More

Silvya Kananu

Kenya Country Manager

Silvya Kananu graduated from Manchester Business School with a Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship…Read More

Caroline Kagwiri


Caroline Kagwiri is a trained CPA(K) with experience in a number of sectors including manufacturing, service and retail…Read More

Joseph Wekesa

Alumni Coordinator

Joseph supports Sinapis alumni as part of the Sinapis Global Network. While originally trained as…Read More


Lisa Allgood


Trained as an immunocytochemist from the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey, Lisa Allgood spent 36 years as an Executive…Read More

John Goodwin

The Lego Foundation

John Goodwin hails from York, England and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of The LEGO Foundation…Read More

Ian Mills

DFID Kenya

Ian currently serves as Head of Sustainable Economic Development for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Kenya…Read More

Steve Cesler

Procter & Gamble (Retired)

Steve Cesler is a 36-year veteran of Procter & Gamble, retiring in 2014. Steve grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and graduated from Western Kentucky University…Read More

Courtney Mills


Courtney Mills graduated from Harvard Kennedy School’s Master in Public Policy program with a concentration in Political and Economic Development…Read More

Karibu Nyaggah


Karibu Nyaggah was born and raised in Kenya before moving to the US as a young child. After attending University of California at Berkeley,…Read More

Where We Work

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Maybe we would have failed had it not been for Sinapis. I can say at least 20% of our success can be contributed to Sinapis.

Wachira Kariuki – Sinapis Entrepreneur


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