Transform, an impact accelerator that unites corporates, donors, investors, and academics to support visionary enterprises, has announced to support businesses in Kenya to scale new solutions and overcome global challenges.
Led by Unilever, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), and EY, Transform advances the development of innovative business models through a combination of grant funding, business insight, and research to help solve global challenges.
Transform says it is now focused on accelerating its impact, with the ambitious goal of reaching an additional five million lives across the next two years. In addition to the support given to the existing projects by entrepreneurs and researchers, it has today announced support for fifteen new projects since January, with each receiving a tailor-made combination of funding and business support.
One of the new enterprises in East Africa will test the use of refill technology with Unilever products in low-income communities in Kenya. Transform also supports researchers and is working with Brink to explore the future of work for the informal economy in Kenya.
Since its launch in Kenya in 2015, Transform has been working with innovative businesses to drive impactful change, including supporting Taka Taka Ni Mali in creating over 3,800 jobs and recycling more than 1,500 tonnes of resources, aiding Kasha in expanding confidential health services into Kenya and attracting $21 million in investment for further growth. It has also collaborated with Mr. Green Africa to enhance safety, benefits, and career opportunities for over 1,000 waste pickers in Kenya, making them Africa’s first recycling B Corp business.
Rebecca Marmot, Unilever’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said, “We’re thrilled to have reached such an important milestone at Transform. Some of the best new ideas and groundbreaking solutions are coming from entrepreneurs and start-ups. By blending local innovation with the resources of large organizations, Transform is unlocking these opportunities, helping to scale workable solutions and drive progress. It’s also helping us to expand our own networks. We look forward to supporting more enterprises in the future and being part of this dynamic ecosystem.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Charlotte Watts, said, “This is a major milestone for this innovative project, which is offering targeted support to ambitious entrepreneurs and innovators across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. As this cutting-edge initiative enters the next phase, the UK will continue to work in partnership with business and civil society to tackle the world’s biggest social, environmental, and economic challenges.”
Research conducted by the Global Impact Investing Network in 2022 reveals that Africa hosts a relatively limited number of impact investors compared to the global landscape. Specifically, only 6 per cent of impact investing organizations, overseeing 2 per cent of the world’s impact assets under management, have their headquarters situated in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, entities based in the Middle East and North Africa region contribute to just 1 per cent of the global impact assets under management.
According to the African Investing for Impact Barometer, published by the University of Cape Town and consultancy firm Riscura, impact investing attracted $65.2bn in 14 English-speaking countries in sub-Saharan Africa as of July 2021.