Google.org has announced the 12 finalists for the first Google Impact Challenge in Kenya, which sought to identify and fund the most innovative social enterprises using technology to improve society on a local or national scale.
Google is investing a total of Ksh 200 million in grants to 12 nonprofits in Kenya. Lewa Wildlife Marathon was named the winner of the Public Vote, while African Prisons Project, Startup Lions and Ujuzi Kilimo Solutions won the Judges’ Vote. The four winners won Ksh 25 million each. The eight finalists, who each received Ksh 12.5 million, were: AfriScout, Creatives Garage, GiveDirectly Kenya, Global Minimum InLab, M-Shule, NairoBits, Sauti and The Somo Project.
Google will also provide support and training to the 12 nonprofits to scale their projects.
The challenge was launched in May 2018 in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa and during the six-month campaign period, over 5,000 entries were submitted from the three countries, with over 1,000 entries from Kenya.
“Google celebrates the nonprofits that took part in the Google Impact Challenge, especially for the way that their work is fuelling social and economic change in their communities. This Challenge is part of our ongoing commitment to invest and build initiatives relevant for Africans’ everyday lives,” said Charles Murito, Country Manager, Google Kenya.
Deputy President William Ruto’s wife, Rachel Ruto, the patron of the Google Impact Challenge, lauded Kenyans for the creative entries they submitted for consideration.
“The Google Impact Challenge has bridged the gap between Kenyans who have great ideas and no means to implement and scale them. I am grateful that Google.org created this avenue for innovative Kenyans to put forward their ideas for social impact,” said Mrs Ruto.
The eminent judges include Athletics icon Tegla Loroupe, Radio Africa General Manager Caroline Mutoko, who is the One Young World Counsellor, Charles Murito, Country Manager, Google Kenya, Industrialist Dr Manu Chandaria, Janet Mawiyoo, Community Empowerment, Development & Governance Expert, Salim Amin, Filmmaker, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist and Tabitha Karanja, Founder and CEO, Keroche Breweries.
Below is an overview of the 12 finalists in alphabetical order:
- African Prisons Project
Enhancing access to justice and economic empowerment.
- AfriScout—A PCI Social Enterprise
Revolutionising the way pastoralists make migration decisions using the power of satellite and mobile technology.
- Creatives Garage
Kalabars – A platform that seeks to address issues that stifle the creative industry in Kenya. Creatives Garage focuses on African content, and wants African stories to be told in an African context
- GiveDirectly Kenya
Giving unconditional cash grants to hundreds of young people living in Nairobi’s urban informal settlements to support entrepreneurship.
- Global Minimum InLab
Innovation Labs to empower vulnerable Kenyan youth.
- Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
A digital literacy programme to provide fair access to quality education to children and youth in marginalised communities.
A personalised learning platform that combines AI with SMS to transform primary school education for students across Africa.
- NairoBits Trust
Tech for Empowerment: Leveraging on technology to transform lives.
- Sauti East Africa
A mobile information platform empowering women cross-border traders to work safely, legally and profitably across East Africa.
- Startup Lions
A home for Africa’s rural youth to learn, earn and innovate.
- The Somo Project
Empowering entrepreneurs to create change in their underserved communities.
- UjuziKilimo Solutions
Sensors and Big Data analytics for small holder precision farming.
The funding will be allocated in tranches, to be assigned to each enterprise as they reach a set of predefined milestones specific to each venture. In addition to the funding, the winners and runners up also receive support from Google to reach their goals and meet those milestones.