New Cohort of Social Start-ups Soon to Be Announced

By Till Wahnbaeck
October 31, 2021

When Jochen and I founded Impacc almost two years ago, we wanted to rethink development aid and use the tools of business for social change. We wanted to create a movement that not only combats poverty in Africa, but also attracts and inspires like-minded people. We certainly haven’t achieved that yet, but there are always moments when I think: this is how it’s meant to be.

One such moment was when Clarissa Meyer contacted us a few months ago after listening to a podcast I did. A consultant at the auditing and consulting company KPMG, she had planned a sabbatical and offered to support us free of charge. She ended up travelling across East Africa for a month together with our Head of Operations, Lynn, doing due diligence of the companies that made it to the last round of our recent call for entrepreneurs. They took a close look at the companies on site, met the founders, team, customers and suppliers, had the local production processes explained live on site and tested the products.

The journey took them
… to a lively market amongst chicken and negotiating customers in Aram, Siaya County, where local potato sellers were able to report on the price stability and quality of directly marketed products.
… to the Kenyan coast to see the 100% natural oil extraction process by sunlight in the coconut stronghold of Kaloleni.
… into a quarter of Nairobi where a start-up is establishing clothing collections in containers in order to locally revalue and upgrade textile waste.

Participants at first Impacc stove training

Over the next two or three weeks, we will work with African experts to select the top 5 to add to our portfolio. But we can already say that our hopes have been confirmed: there are great entrepreneurs with functioning business ideas who are creating sustainable jobs in areas of extreme poverty and who all have the same problem: they cannot get funding because they can’t get or repay traditional bank loans and are not profitable enough for investors.

We’ve got next year’s work cut out for us: raise funds for our new partners and help them turn their ideas into flourishing businesses and job engines. And even if Clarissa is now returning to her original job: her work (just like the pro bono support from Allianz Consulting in the initial selection of the ventures) has helped us identify, amongst countless applications, those few ideas that can really create markets for the poorest of the poor – because that’s what Impacc is all about.

About Till Wahnbaeck

Till Wahnbaeck
Ex-CEO of Welthungerhilfe and private sector General Manager, champion of innovation. Till ran both for profit companies and a global NGO and has always strived to bridge the gap between the social and the private sector. As global CEO of Welthungerhilfe (a German food- and nutrition-security NGO with 2,500 staff in 40 countries and a budget of 250mio$), he championed innovation and impact. Previously, as Marketing, Sales and Innovation Director for consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, he built innovation methods and processes to rejuvenate P&G’s global salon portfolio.

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