YGAP, an impact entrepreneur investor in Australia, has opened its Kenyan office in a bid to support thousands of social entrepreneurs impacting persons living in poverty.
The YGAP Kenya office was officially launched in a ceremony on April 13, 2018 at the Australia High Commissioner’s residence in Muthaiga. In the attendance was the guest of honour Ms Alison Chartres, the Australian High Commissioner and various private and public sector officials.
(TOP: L-R – Simon Lee, head of Australian YGAP program; Carol Kimari, YGAP Kenya country director; Alison Chartres, the Australian High Commissioner to Kenya; and Calvin Frith, Global Programs Manager).
The launch event showcased YGAP’s commitment to tackling poverty through supporting early stage impact ventures that exist to improve access to education or healthcare, create jobs or build safer homes. Rather than imposing the organisation’s perceived solutions on a community, YGAP through the accelerator program scales up local leaders who have developed their own solutions. At the launch, YGAP Kenya showcased the 2018 accelerator program graduates who pitched their solutions to the audience for a chance to obtain further support.
Speaking during the launch event, Carol Kimari, YGAP Kenya’s country director, noted that the organization, through SPARK, the impact arm of YGAP, has within the last three years impacted 272, 184 lives through the accelerator program citing the quest to impact a total of 1 million lives over the next two years with the social entrepreneurship programs.
Whilst gracing the occasion, Ms Chartres spoke of the fresh approach the Australian government is taking towards aid programs.
“The Australian Government is also taking a fresh approach – not just in matters of policy and programs within Australia but also in our approach to our foreign policy objectives, and in the delivery of our aid program. A clear example is the establishment of the innovationXchange in 2015, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s work to supporting social entrepreneurship at a local level. The InnovationXchange (iXc) is about experimenting, partnering and learning. It builds on innovation capability, improving more lives by adopting cross-cutting themes (such as science and technology), approaches (for example systems thinking) and tools (for example digital inclusion). One of our iXc activities was to support a study – UTS Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing Report -, with the University of Technology Sydney Business School to find out what new mechanisms might allow Australia to do aid differently,” she noted.
Having set foot in Kenya through SPARK international in 2015, YGAP boasts of being the only organization that solely focuses on investing in early stage impact ventures.