Saturday 10th May was a busy and exciting day for Sinapis Group who hosted their annual Award Ceremony and Business Plan Competition at the Strathmore University Auditorium. The day’s events began at 8.00 am with the Award Ceremony which was graced by Heshan de Silva and Kunyiha Mucai as guest speakers and Laban Cliff Onserio who facilitated the event. The Award Ceremony was aimed at celebrating the participants of the Sinapis program as well as the trainers, coordinators and pioneer churches. After 16 weeks of what the participants said to be a grueling course, they certainly deserved a pat on the back. The excitement in the room could not go unnoticed. It was the end of the race and they could finally go out into the world as Kingdom Business champions.
Out of the 63 participants who completed the Sinapis course, 10 finalists with exceptional business ideas were given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas at the Business Plan Competition. The competition was presided over by a panel of 5 judges. They included Heshan de Silva, founder of the De Silva Group, Mercy Randa, the Regional Communication Consultant (EARC) at African Development Bank, Deborah Mburu the lead consultant at Makini Training and consultancy, Zoravar Dhaliwal a director at IdeasAfrica and Kenneth Muchina from Fusion investments.
The quality of the pitches was impeccable and the business ideas cut across various sectors including agri-business, IT, tourism, medicine and the arts. This not only demonstrated the credibility of the Sinapis program but also the wealth of creativity within the Kenyan market.
For the audience, which comprised of upcoming entrepreneurs, this was a great learning opportunity to learn a thing or two about start-ups. In addition to this, the finalists had the opportunity of setting up showcase stands at the University graduation square where interested individuals had the chance of sampling their products as well as seek more information about the businesses.
It was interesting to see how the finalists handled the tough questions asked by the panelists. At the end of the day House of Fotography emerged as the winner of the USD 10,000 grant. The other start-up ventures included Shammah ventures, Enchanted Landscapes, Ten Senses Ltd, Kitu Kimoja, Kuria Shambas, Chriven Enterprises, Safina EA Limited, Nu Bree Dairies Ltd and Dawamega.
Kenyans are slowly but surely rising to the occasion. The notion that one must complete their undergraduate and thereafter seek employment is dying down. They are now using the skills and knowledge obtained in their three to four years of university to create enterprises and therefore become a solution to the unemployment problem. In many cases seed capital and mentorship are some of the barriers that limit the success of start-ups. There are various organizations that have been established to support entrepreneurs. However, based on the quality of the ideas at the Business Plan Competition, Sinapis Group, whose curriculum is certified by Acton School of Business, seems to be a cut above the rest.