Thirty-Seven Young African Leaders Receive Seed Funding And Mentorship To Establish Impactful Social Ventures In Their Communities

September 29, 2023 – Nairobi, Kenya – Thirty-seven young African social entrepreneurs have been selected as winners of the 2023 Resolution Social Venture Challenge. The Social Venture Challenge (SVC), a collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and the Resolution Project, identifies Mastercard Foundation Scholars who want to make a difference in their community and provides them with seed funding, mentorship, and access to a network of global changemakers.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars who gathered in Nairobi exhibited the leadership and innovation that our world so desperately needs. The promise of young people to change our planet, to respond to the existential challenges we face, is only limited by the space we give them to build and lead. The winning projects address a wide range of issues the Mastercard Foundation Scholars have observed first-hand in their communities from across the continent, including Benin, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda,” said George Tsiatis, CEO and Co-Founder of the Resolution Project.

In September, thirty-one ventures participated in this year’s Social Venture Challenge. Seventeen ventures, several created collaboratively within the group of 37 Mastercard Foundation Scholars, were selected as winners for 2023. One of the winners is Dorcus Kwagalakwe, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the United States International University-Africa, and the Founder of The Empower Her Initiative in Mpigi, Uganda, which supports young mothers through mentorship, education, and resources. Her experience as the child of an unplanned pregnancy drives her passion. “Winning the Social Venture Challenge is significant. It boosts my venture’s credibility, attracts investors and partners, acknowledges our innovative approach, expands my network with mentors and collaborators, and validates my commitment to empowering young mothers who’ve faced unplanned pregnancies.”

“Congratulations to the 2023 Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge winners! Over the past eight years, in partnership with the Resolution Project, the Social Venture Challenge has showcased the immense potential of Mastercard Foundation Scholars dedicated to community impact. It’s not just about recognizing their achievements, but also acknowledging the profound influence these projects will have on their communities,” said Duaa Mohamed, Lead, Transformative Leadership Programs at the Mastercard Foundation.

Odjo Essèho Urbain, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the University of Abomey and the Founder of TomatoDry, is leading a groundbreaking initiative in Benin. TomatoDry specializes in developing sustainable solutions for tomato dehydration. Their innovation results in a tomato powder that preserves the nutrients, flavour, and texture of tomatoes, offering a convenient and high-quality alternative to fresh or canned tomatoes, available at a consistently low price year-round. Urbain shared his motivation for this project: “By transforming fresh tomatoes into powder using a food dehydrator, we hope to tackle food waste, support local farmers’ economic stability, and contribute to food security. This endeavour aligns with our passion for innovation and sustainable development while creating a positive social impact in our community.”

Since 2016, more than $581,200 has been awarded to 267 Mastercard Foundation Scholars, who have won the Social Venture Challenge. With the support of the Resolution Project, Fellows have gone on to positively impact more than 900,000 people across Africa so far.

For Abaya Kofi Mensah, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, winning the Social Venture Challenge validates his venture Multify as a valuable community initiative and a model for social entrepreneurship. Multify is an initiative that aims to empower women in Ghana’s Kadjebi District by establishing beehives.

“This grant is vital for launching, scaling up, and investing in better equipment. It also allows us to expand our outreach to other communities, promoting SDG 13 (climate action). The SVC award signifies belief in our potential to drive change in our community through Multify, and we’re truly grateful for this opportunity,” said Abaya.


The 2023 SVC Winning Ventures

 Africa Green Plus – Benin

Ferdinand Lowanou – University of Abomey Calavi

Africa Green Plus is a venture in Benin that works on providing organic biofertilizers to reduce contamination of water sources, erosion, destruction of soil structure and the spread of cancerous diseases caused by chemical fertilizers. The venture also plans to employ  marginalized youth and those with disabilities to help integrate them into society.


Africa Potato Giants – Kenya

Mercy Mulenga, Isaac Wandeto, Virginia Wanjiku – United States International University – Africa

Africa Potato Giants focuses on the low production of potatoes per unit area in Nyandarua County, Kenya. The high price of quality seeds has pushed farmers to use “recycled” seeds for decades. This project aims to empower 15 farmers in Engineer Ward, Nyandarua County, Kenya by providing quality seeds and entering into a contractual farming agreement.


AgriBest – Benin

Kouétcha Barthélémy, Kpowadan Bernard Todegnon – University of Abomey Calavi

AgriBest specializes in processing cassava peelings into animal feed to reduce waste and provide an affordable organic alternative to farmers in the municipality of Dassa-zoumé, Benin.


Banana Bliss Uganda – Uganda

Patience Akello, Munguriek Anthony – Makerere University

Banana Bliss Uganda is an innovative initiative aimed at transforming ready bananas into banana flour. Using state-of-the-art technology and sustainable practices, the project aims to reduce food waste and create value-added products from bananas that would otherwise be wasted due to limited markets.


Eco-clean Fuel – Kenya

Ayieko Odiero, Ooko Silas, Nyando Pride – United States International University – Africa

Eco-clean Fuel is a student-led social venture providing clean, eco-friendly, and affordable fuel in Kisumu and Siaya counties in Kenya through biomass briquettes.


ECOTIC – Benin

Rafiatou Gnanfon, Samuel Tohouegnon – University of Abomey Calavi

ECOTIC is a social venture focused on tackling e-waste in Abomey-Calavi, Benin. The venture offers user-friendly digital solutions for responsible e-waste management, including a website, mobile app, physical workshop, and intelligent e-waste collection system. The venture’s goal is to raise awareness, promote recycling, and create a cleaner, more sustainable environment.


Eco-Tank – Tanzania

Brenda Benedict Maembe, Lisa Shehan – EARTH University

Eco-Tank is a sustainable tilapia farming initiative that uses protein-rich Black Soldier Fly larvae as an alternative feeding option. The larva feed is available to small-scale aquaponic farmers in Tanzania. These larvae also play a crucial role in the ecosystem by efficiently decomposing food waste and recycling it into nutrient-rich compost.


The Empower Her Initiative – Uganda

Dorcus Kwagalakwe – United States International University-Africa

The Empower Her Initiative supports young mothers in Mpigi, Uganda who have faced unwanted pregnancies by providing mentorship, education, and resources for personal growth and a better future. The venture empowers them to thrive and make a positive impact in their lives and communities.


Glow Retrofit – Kenya

Cynthia Gichuki, Reggie Okoko – African Leadership University

Glow Retrofit provides low-cost solar lanterns to eliminate the use of tin lamps in households without electricity in Kenya. Glow Retrofit is a revolutionary lighting feature created by retrofitting and upcycling the traditional hurricane lamp. Glow Retrofit is easy to use and maintain, making it ideal for households.


Green World Biogas – Benin

Afiavi Félicité Hadegnon, Franck Montcho, Grâce Vignon – University of Abomey Calavi

Green World Biogas provides the Lokossa, Benin population with domestic biodigesters to reuse organic waste, which will contribute to access to clean energy for cooking and responsible management of organic waste. These biodigesters will convert waste into biogas for cooking, replacing polluting fossil fuels, and into organic fertilizer to support sustainable agriculture.


Hog4Education Uganda – Uganda

Rosemary Adongo, Godfrey Akol, Alex Koko – Makerere University

Hog4Education Uganda is a venture which equips youth in Angopet Cell, Bazaar Ward Kumi Municipality – Uganda with knowledge and skills in pig farming to obtain funds to support their education. The youth will be supported with startup piglets and the proceeds will be used for paying tuition.


 LasBite – Rwanda

Millicent Malinga – African Leadership University

LasBite is an AI-driven platform where neighbors in Rwanda can connect to share uncooked food with those who need it. Users can also buy excess food from various food outlets at a discounted price which would have otherwise gone to waste.


MbuziBora: Empowering Widows and Single Mothers through Exotic Goat Rearing – Kenya

Lenora Kelen, Rashid Wamela – United States International University – Africa

MbuziBora: Empowering Widows and Single Mothers through Exotic Goat Rearing is a social venture aimed at empowering widows and single mothers facing poverty and limited farming opportunities in Kenya. The project aims to address their financial challenges by providing support, resources, and training in livestock farming, specifically on goat rearing.


Multify – Ghana

Kofi Mensah Abaya, Gifty Afetsevi, Abigail Fosuaa – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

Multify is a social venture with the aim of empowering women by establishing beehives in the Kadjebi District of Ghana. Multify then markets and distributes the products to both local and commercial companies. It focuses on creating employment opportunities and reducing poverty.


Poverty And Disability Initiative – Nigeria

Oladayo Olatunji, Liliane Yamu, Samson Kahindi – United States International University – Africa

Poverty And Disability Initiative in Nigeria aims to empower 9,000 persons with disabilities abandoned by the government in Karonmajigi, Abuja. Through telehealth and telemedicine, the venture will enable persons with disability access to modern healthcare facilities without having to leave their settlements.


Saki Youth Resource and Empowerment Center (SYREC) – Nigeria

Abdur-Rahman Adeniji – United States International University – Africa

Saki Youth Resource and Empowerment Center (SYREC) bridges the educational gap in underserved communities by empowering high school leavers and students with practical social entrepreneurial skills in Saki, Nigeria. The project aims to solve community challenges while providing pathways to higher education and fulfilling careers.


TomatoDry – Benin

Joséphine Adjala, Amos Akogbe, Esseho Urbain Odjo – University of Abomey Calavi

TomatoDry develops innovative and sustainable solutions for tomato dehydration in Benin. The venture produces a tomato powder that preserves the nutrients, flavor, and texture of tomatoes, offering a convenient and superior alternative to fresh or canned tomatoes at a consistently low price all year-round.