--Kenyan entrepreneurs receive funding and mentoring to pursue a business that addresses food waste and nutritional deficiencies in local communities
NAIROBI, KENYA, May 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- At a reception in Nairobi today the Bata Shoe Foundation announced that STAWI, a Kenyan business that processes perishable fruits, grains, and cereals into gluten free flour, is the winner of the $15,000 Thomas J. Bata Legacy Award for young responsible entrepreneurship in East Africa. Two runners up - GreenChar and KARIBU Solar Power - received $5,000 each. The Award was established in 2014 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late CEO of the Bata Shoe Organization, known as "Shoemaker to the World." It provides funding and mentoring for young entrepreneurs in East Africa who demonstrate a commitment to the values that guided Mr. Bata's leadership of the organization for four decades.
"The real role of business is to give a service by making and selling products that satisfy the want and needs of society, and in doing so to be a caring organization in partnership with community and government," said Thomas J. Bata.
The award-winning business, STAWI, is based in Kenya and led by a team that includes Eric Muthomi (Founder & CEO), Kent Libiso (Chairman), and Sangu Delle (Director). STAWI provides high quality processed foods through sustainable and equitable farmer relations. Seeking to combat agricultural waste from foods such as bananas, STAWI processes perishable fruits, grains, and cereals into gluten free flour. This flour, with a higher market demand and shelf life, increases food security, increases farmer income, and reduces waste. Smallholder farmers, whose crops are most at risk for perishing, and rural consumers, most at risk for malnutrition, receive the sharpest benefits from STAWI.
The Bata Legacy Award challenged entrepreneurs 35 and younger to identify a community need in East Africa and share a creative, viable business solution that embraces the values that guided Thomas J. Bata throughout his career. After the first round of submissions five finalists were chosen and assigned a business mentor, who will work with them for a year. Each then completed a detailed proposal that was evaluated by an international jury comprised of leaders in business and development, including Mrs. Sonja Bata.
"My husband felt strongly that the role of business should be to serve society by providing services and products which contribute to the well-being of the community," said Mrs. Bata. "I am delighted about the Thomas J. Bata Legacy Award promoting this vision. The award celebrates entrepreneurship, teamwork, creative and innovative thinking, and hard work. It is unique because it also has a special educational mentoring component.
I wish the winners a lot of success with their business and that they will be able to create jobs and more importantly, opportunities for advancement for the persons they employ and for the communities in which they work."
"I want this award to be an inspiration to other philanthropists by showing that the encouragement of entrepreneurs requires not only financial support, but also mentoring and role modeling of positive community values," she said. "Thank you to our mentors and judges assisting us."
The Thomas J. Bata Legacy Award finalists include:
STAWI (WINNER): Food and fruit processing company. Kenya
Team: Eric Muthomi Founder & CEO, Kent Libiso Chairman, Sangu Delle Director
STAWI Foods and Fruits Limited provides high quality processed foods through sustainable and equitable farmer relations. Seeking to combat agricultural waste from foods such as bananas, STAWI processes perishable fruits, grains, and cereals into gluten free flour. This flour, with a higher market demand and shelf life, increases food security, increases farmer income, and reduces waste. Smallholder farmers, whose crops are most at risk for perishing, and rural consumers, most at risk for malnutrition, receive the sharpest benefits from STAWI foods.
GreenChar (RUNNER UP): Alternative energy in cooking practices. Kenya
Team: Tom Osborn Chief Executive Oﬃcer, Yina Sun Head of Operations, Ian Oluoch Finance Director, Brian Kirotich Marketing & Tech
The developers of the GreenChar provide agricultural waste cooking briquettes designed to be healthier, safer and cheaper for consumers. GreenChar briquettes, made from recycled bagasse (sugar cane husks) are nearly smokeless, more energy dense and longer lasting than wood and coal. GreenChar's smokeless briquettes combat the health risks associated with coal ovens, while also reducing deforestation. GreenChar hopes to expand into creating products, which repel mosquitoes and a next generation of safer, cleaner ovens.
KARIBU Solar Power (RUNNER UP): "Business in a box" Tanzania
Team: Adam Camenzuli & Sameer Gulamani
The creators of KARIBU have designed a solar powered business in a box. Their business strives to provide a safer, cheaper, and more socially responsible solar alternative to kerosene lighting. Engineered for grassroots success and local empowerment, the KARIBU system consists of a 2W solar panel and two rechargeable "hockey puck" batteries designed to provide a night's worth of lighting. Local KARIBU distributors will rent hockey pucks to consumers, charging one hockey puck while the consumer uses the second. This distribution system strengthens local business, while providing safer and healthier lighting.
The Designers Studio Limited: Fashion magazine and retailer Kenya
Individual: Wanjiku Nyoike-Mugo
The Designer Studio (TDS) produces a series of online magazines, fashion shows and media buys which present local fashion as a better alternative to international brands. This marketing drives consumers to TDS's online store and future retail spaces stocked only with Kenyan designed and produced goods, which benefits the local Kenyan economy. This higher demand for local goods, driven in large part by an increasingly wealthy, fashion forward population, further strengthens the Kenyan fashion and clothing industry.
BIO-INNOVATIONS: Alternative energy. Uganda
Team: Stephen Birikano, Alex Tumukunde
Bio-Innovation Company LTD challenges Uganda's terrible deforestation issue – 80% of natural forest area has been destroyed since 1960 – by creating a bio-renewable cooking and heating briquette derived from bio-waste. These briquettes, organic municipal solid waste amalgamations, are a lower cost, safer and environmental safer alternative to wood and coal fires. Targeting women and youth as employees, the Bio-Innovation Company empowers local rural communities while freeing up consumers' discretionary income by undercutting current heating and cooking costs.
The Bata Legacy Award is administered by the Global Business School Network, a nonprofit organization with a vision for the developing world to have the management, entrepreneurship and leadership talent it needs to generate prosperity.
About the Bata Shoe Foundation
The Bata Shoe Foundation commemorates the values of the founder of the Bata Shoe Organization, Tomas Bata, and his son Thomas J. Bata. The Foundation funds projects which reflect the belief of the Bata family that business is a public trust and that corporations should contribute to the well being of communities in which they operate.
Learn more about the Thomas J. Bata Legacy Award at www.batalegacy.org.
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SOURCE Bata Shoe Foundation