I’ve been looking forward to writing this newsletter for months, because we can finally introduce our new cohort of green start-ups that we plan to fund this year. Actually, I wanted to do this already in December, but something took precedence – namely saying “thank you” to everyone who has contributed to making 2021 such a successful year for Impacc.
Introducing our new cohort 2022
In January, the Impacc team met in Kilifi, one of the poorest and yet most beautiful regions of Kenya, for our annual strategy offsite. The location was also chosen because it is home to Coco Vita, the latest addition to our new cohort. Coco Vita is the perfect example of the kind of company we want to promote, with an exciting start-up story, a killer product and lots of potential to create massive jobs in areas of extreme poverty. A good 10 years ago, Joan Atambo (pictured below) was still a well-paid financial manager in Mombasa; then her mother fell ill with an autoimmune disease. A proven remedy for this is extra virgin coconut oil – it is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties and contains more lauric acid than breast milk (I may have dropped chemistry in tenth grade, but I was assured this is a good thing). Kenya grows around 300 million coconuts a year – but Joan had to import the oil for her mother from Australia because she couldn’t find any in Kenya. After her mother recovered, Joan turned her experience into a business. Ten years later, Coco Vita is now the only producer of pure, cold-pressed coconut oil in the region. At times over thirty women grate, press and filter for a month until the oil is ready – all in a manual process in an area with no running water, no electricity and no roads. Joan’s vision to increase her production tenfold and thus provide income opportunities for over 5,000 small farmers convinced us. With an investment of about 100,000 euros, she can connect the company to the electricity grid, carefully mechanise to simplify the work processes, for example in grating, and cool and process the perishable coconut water instead of disposing of it as before.
All these companies have something in common: great female entrepreneurs (ok, two men are also there, but they are clearly outnumbered), clever, green business ideas in areas of extreme poverty, first entrepreneurial successes – and: no money. They are too entrepreneurial for aid projects and they aren’t profitable enough for classic investors, because they spend all their money on decent wages. And that’s where we come in. And thus we have set out to raise one million euros in investment donations this year, so that all these good ideas really do translate into sustainable jobs. Thank you for accompanying us on this journey.
Stay safe, Till
P.S. This newsletter is way too long as it is, so I will write about or B2B platform for corporate donations and about all the changes in our team next time round.