Twelve startups in East Africa aim to scale their ventures to collectively improve the lives of twelve million people.

Working across diverse industries—agriculture, health, transportation, energy, water and financial inclusion—they have bold visions, but face tough odds. The Unreasonable East Africa Institute, based in Kampala, Uganda, exists to give them an “unreasonable advantage” to tackle the region’s most pressing problems. With 78 percent of the Ugandan population under 30 years of age, the emerging private sector—built by these companies—stands to benefit a youthful nation primed to engage with new and innovative ways of living.

Their businesses are creating new economies which builds hope for a bright future in the face of all the obstacles that we currently face. Tweet This Quote

“While we still face many challenges in East Africa, these entrepreneurs are piloting and implementing models to tackle these challenges head on,” says Joachim Ewechu, CEO and Co-Founder of Unreasonable East Africa. “Their businesses are creating new economies which builds hope for a bright future in the face of all the obstacles that we currently face.”

Kate Hanford, COO at Unreasonable East Africa, shares with us the Unreasonable East Africa fellows—four from Uganda, six from Kenya and one from Tanzania and South Sudan—to keep your eyes on in 2015:

Kajo-Keji Health Training Institute

President Obama this week declared the South-Sudan civil war a matter of national security. To make matters worse, according to the Ministry of Health, there are only around 120 medical doctors serving nearly nine million people in South Sudan, the third fastest growing population in the world.

Developing South Sudan’s health care system by training students to become doctors. Tweet This Quote

But amidst the turmoil, including upcoming elections and lack of a proper health care system, Lou Louis Koboji, Lokiri Peter, and the team at Kajo-Keji Health Training Institute have found an accelerated way to train students to become doctors at one fifth of the cost of traditional medical-training programs in the region. They’ve already trained 60 doctors and they’re looking to expand operations.

Miti Health

Up to three of every five medicines sold by a pharmacy in Africa are fake; malaria tablets, tuberculosis medications, even oral contraceptives cannot be trusted. Because of unreliable medicine, an estimated 100 thousand Africans die every year.

Helping East African pharmaceutical companies access high-quality medications through tech Tweet This Quote

Miti Health is working to combat this in Kenya and Tanzania by providing pharmacies with software that tracks their business and who gives them good medication. They’ve already signed up 15 chemist shops, and are growing quickly.

Ojay Greene

Almost 75 percent of Kenyans—nearly 34 million people—are farmers. However, five percent of those farmers monopolize over 80 percent of the fruit and vegetable sales. The majority struggle to form advantageous relationships with markets to sell their goods.

Empowering Kenyan smallholder fruit and vegetable farmers by linking them to profitable urban markets. Tweet This Quote

Ojay Greene enables more of these farmers to earn a living by linking them to profitable urban markets. In less than six months, they have increased the incomes of 30 farmers by 40%. Because of their network of smallholder farmers, Ojay Greene has the capacity to produce through the year giving them a competitive advantage when negotiating with large supermarket chains. To date, they have contracts with 5 supermarket chains solidifying their position in the market.

Aryodi Bee Farm

Aryodi Bee Farm trains beekeepers in modern beekeeping, which is less environmentally harmful than traditional practices and up to three times more profitable. After the upfront investment, beekeeping is low-cost and high-production, allowing farmers to earn a sustainable living wage.

Using beekeeping and honey production to increase Ugandan smallholder incomes Tweet This Quote

To increase their impact, Aryodi also includes mentoring, entrepreneurship development and business skills training. With over 1,850 farmers trained, and 45 percent of these farmers now earning their living from honey production, Aryodi is on it’s way to transforming the beekeeping industry in Uganda, where 80 percent of the population are low-income subsistence farmers.

Bicycles Against Poverty

Over 75 percent of rural Ugandans travel by walking. Bicycles Against Poverty (BAP) gives people living in remote villages more control over their time and lives with lease-to-own bicycles. These bicycles provide transportation in crucial matters like reaching a health clinic or getting goods to a market to sell.

Linking rural Ugandan populations to goods, services, and additional revenue sources through lease-to-own bicycles. Tweet This Quote

Bicycles increase income by at least 30 percent in Uganda and market attendance triples after owning a bicycle due to more access and time efficiency. To date, BAP has sold over 1,000 bicycles generating an estimated $90,000 of extra income for the farmers who ride them.

Skynotch Energy Africa

More than 60 percent of Kenyans—about 5.4 million households—have no access to electricity, and depend on disappearing fossil fuels for light.

Delivering renewable energy technologies to off-grid areas in Kenya through sustainable last-mile enterprises. Tweet This Quote

Skynotch Energy Africa is an energy solution provider to off-grid markets. Skynotch goes beyond delivering technology—they provide a more encompassing solution: connection to the market through information, incentives, investment and implementation support. A linkage to financing enables customers to afford the high upfront cost of solar products.

Yield Uganda

*
Yield Uganda Ltd. believes that smallholder farmers occupy an increasingly important place in global food trade. As demand for food increases and supply becomes more erratic, the opportunities for smallholders should increase. However, the global food industry increasingly demands security of supply, high quality standards, traceability and assurances of sustainability that can be hard for smallholders to ensure.

Integrating Ugandan smallholder farmers into formalized, transparent and fair global and local food markets Tweet This Quote

Yield Uganda works closely with smallholder farmers to produce reliable volumes of high-quality food products so they can better access local and international markets. Creating this formalized, transparent production model in an otherwise chaotic operating environment, allows Yield Uganda to ensure reliable volumes of high quality produce. Yield currently works with 500 farmers for niche products and approximately 4,000 farmers for commodity products.

iNuka Pap

In Kenya, only four percent of the 21 million working population are insured by their employers. iNuka pap is a HR application that allows employees to access instant micro-credit on their mobile wallet that is fully deductible from their salary at HR level.

Enabling Kenyan companies to offer microinsurance and instant micro-credit to their employees through an HR application Tweet This Quote

While most other suppliers of these loans charge much higher interest rates—leading to long-term indebtedness—iNuka’s platform enables employers to also insure or provide access to insurance for their workers together with their families for as low as $ 0.03 a day. iNuka Pap makes commission from insurance underwriters and earns an interest on the micro-loans.

TotoHealth

Each year more than one million mothers give birth in Kenya; 46 percent of these births are not within a hospital setting, endangering the life of the mother and the child. Toto Health enables mothers to detect early growth abnormalities from conception to five years of age by information delivered with text messages.

Mobile technology transforming family health in Sub-Saharan Africa by educating mothers via SMS Tweet This Quote

One unique feature offers a two-way communication system where parents can interact with their panel of doctors for expert advice. They have managed to reduce maternal mortality from 31 out of 100 to 18 in one sub-county of Kenya.

Duma Works

Small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa, responsible for 65 percent of new jobs created per year, have no access to a recruiting solution that is local, fast, and delivers qualified candidates. Commonly, qualified applicants miss out on job opportunities due to lack of practice in presenting their professional strengths and their skills to employer or do not learn of opportunities.

Connecting youth in Kenya to jobs with a social, SMS-based platform and helping companies grow with an easy recruiting portal Tweet This Quote

DUMA gives SMEs the recruiting tools they need through network recruiting (preserving trust through referral- based job matching), accessibility (not limited by Internet access), and quality control (through customizable screening tests). DUMA’s mobile-based technology helps job seekers create CVs, receive relevant job alerts, and take sector-specific screening tests. Duma offers a solution for the 24 million unemployed youth in Kenya. They have hired for over 250 SMEs with a 90 percent placement rate and have matched over 2000 people to jobs in Kenya—screening over 7000 people.

Natural Extracts Industries

Smallholder farmers have a very hard time making a sustainable income due to the small amount of crops and limited bargaining power combined with low profit margins.

Creating additional income channels for Tanzanian smallholder farmers through production of sustainably sourced, all-natural food flavors Tweet This Quote

Natural Extracts Industries (NEI) gives smallholder farmers extra income by purchasing high-value cash crops—mainly vanilla—in Tanzania. In turn, NEI produces all-natural food flavors and sells them in global food markets. The farmers they buy from are also trained in agricultural best practices, including the use of natural bio-pesticides and composts. They have purchased over $60,000 of product from 1000 smallholder farmers.

SPOUTS of Water

Water solutions in Uganda are based on ineffective business models and unreliable funding sources. SPOUTS manufactures and supplies an affordable ceramic water filter that is made with local resources and materials easily found in Uganda.

Providing clean drinking water in Uganda by locally manufacturing affordable and effective ceramic water filters Tweet This Quote

The SPOUTS filter is affordable, easy to use and maintain and most importantly reduces the spread of waterborne diseases. The biggest advantage SPOUTS filters have over other household filter products is the low price. Since founding in 2012, SPOUTS has sold over 400 filters through 3 NGO partners and have installed a large-scale filter in a public institution, giving approximately 3,500 people access to clean drinking water.

Like last year’s class, these twelve startups entering the Unreasonable East Africa Institute this summer are receiving world-class mentorship, investor connections, and the tools needed to take their projects to the next level—impacting millions of people in the region. But these are global issues, and global issues require global support. To support them, check out the Unreasonable Marketplace—a crowdfunding platform through which the public can learn more and donate. With public support, these selected Unreasonable fellows will get a chance to maximize their growth potential by gaining access to Unreasonable’s resources and lifelong network without having to pay a dime themselves.


* Editor’s note: Yield Uganda is joining the class of 2016.

About the author

Cayte Bosler

Cayte Bosler

Cayte is an Unreasonable correspondent. She collects stories and lessons from and for entrepreneurs dedicated to solving the world's most pressing problems. She writes on a variety of subjects including science, technology, international development, the environment and travel.

  • phoebeelisa

    I thought the Aryodi bee farm was a cool startup! I would have never thought of bees to be profitable but this article says otherwise! I hope that one works out since I heard bees are dying out and I need me some honey

  • Mallory Benham

    Each one of these startups holds a valuable upgrade for the societies they are affecting. Miti Health seemed like they were making a huge difference to try to get rid of the fake/counterfeit medications.

  • kgallaher

    All twelve of these start ups are great. I liked how the article talked about 78 percent of Uganda’s population is under the age of thirty. It really is a youthful nation, and I think that means there is a large potential for growth. I would love to see how these twelve start ups each benefit one another and how they would improve the lives of people in east Africa.

  • Katie Larson

    Just reading over these 12 ventures, its amazing how many economic opportunities and potential exist just in East Africa. I am trying to imagine what the world would look like if all developing countries met the economic, health, and social needs of their people and a globalized society came close to reaching equality between peoples and nations.

  • storres001

    These are really cool. I really like how instead of simply providing aid, they’re working to make Africa more sustainable and financially independent. It means a lot to people, simply providing aid can sometimes take away from their self-image and such. These are all local and not cooperately owned which will make a huge difference in helping these people get on their feet and not be in debt.

  • Erin Todd

    Reading this, I think Western countries need to stop thinking Africa gives no opportunity. That sounds harsh but I know alot of people think that. However, these 12 examples are incredible economic opportunities are just the surface what can or could exist. If we help invest start up these ventures, we could become one step closer to a more equal world.

  • karnold001

    Agreed. While all twelve of these ventures are interesting, I really liked the Aryodi bee farm. With the risk of bees disappearing in our future, this idea seems important not only to East Africa but to the entire globe as well.

  • ronniepurcell

    Africa has a lot of potential for business opportunities, but the sad thing is that security situation in certain countries are not stable and could go south very quickly. I’m hoping the United States will start to realize the situation needs to change. Then maybe there will be a chance for countries in Africa to grow economically and give entrepreneurs options to take business there. This would benefit everyone globally.

  • dbickel

    It would be very cool to see more businesses in America attending to the economic, health and social needs of the people! I think that this is a huge starting point for East Africa in general. Maybe the US can learn a thing or two from this situation about why people go into business.

  • Ryan

    It is amazing, but at the same time I can’t help but wonder at all the various intricacies that prevent humans from making these strides across the globe. A professor of mine is from South Africa, and he recently explained to us how quickly an individual can progress toward becoming a doctor there. He said that more often than not, the general education requirements are stripped away for concentrated majors so that they may focus entirely on their desired field or passion without worrying about filling their language or mathematics requirement. While some may argue that this may leave some stones unturned in academic careers, I believe that life itself can fill in many of these “missed” aspects of the educational system I am familiar with in the U.S.

    It’s a shame that so much of the agricultural sector is monopolized by few companies, but it’s refreshing to see every day that capitalistic trends are becoming less and less of a norm as community health grows. And like storres001 mentioned above, simply providing aid is not sustainable in the long-run. How’s that old adage go? “Give a man a fish…”

  • Anniep1023

    It is really encouraging to see that Africa is creating many new opportunities for economic success. More recognition for Africa’s contributions needs to be given. Although Africa does struggle with extreme amounts of poverty and hunger, it is a developing country that can contribute many amazing things to the world. I think that this article is a great example of these contributions! I look forward to hearing more about these companies and organizations in the future.

  • aburns002

    When you read an article like this it really makes you feel good inside. We are all aware of these issues, but to know that these 12 startups are actively trying change the lives of 12 million people. It definitely puts a slight ease on the mind.

  • Gaby Perez

    Great article! It’s interesting to see all the innovations around the world, especially in places that need it the most. If more people did this a lot more of the worlds problems would be solved. My only concern is with the first startup which is described as “an accelerated way to train students to become doctors at one-fifth of the cost of traditional medical-training programs in the region.” Although it’s a great idea and one that is truly needed, but will these new doctors be truly ready and prepared to help people? Will a shorter training program diminish the skills the doctors are learning?

  • brian stretch

    The articles are extremely thought provoking as a whole and I love to see and hear about entrepreneurs branching out to address various social issues surrounding countries and societies. As I read so many various ventures I only have the tendency to ask the normal questions about various societies and the issues surrounding our local communities. Are we doing enough to address our own local issues? By no means am I attempting to denote the various programs in these countries I just believe that many of the social issues are not regional, racial, religious, or other basic issues and I wonder if our resources are being exploited in other areas of concerns when you are surrounded by so many alarming issues here in America.

  • JuanFonseca1995

    These start-ups will have an immediate impact that can improve the living conditions of residents of Africa. Each start-up is a solution to the many problems that plague the African continent. There are many young people living in Africa and if we were to educate the majority of these young adults, we can increase their life-span, as well as better their lives through technical training or formal education. These young entrepreneurs have created innovative approaches that will help the people of their country. Their humility and character is outstanding because they are displaying the compassion they have for human lives.

  • DeadMarshall

    I had no idea there were so many startups devoting their efforts to philanthropic ventures. It is nice to see that Unreasonable has a marketplace where businesses and consumers/donators can come together to exchange goods, services, and ideas.

  • davinmarceau

    Very interesting and thought provoking article. Africa is a continent that seems to struggle to find its way in terms of modern services provided to the citizens of their countries.

    I found the facts on the lack of doctors very alarming and it certainly lends itself to why the mortality rates are high across the continent. It’s very commendable that Kako-Kegi has stepped in and contributed towards the improved health of South Sudan.

    Skynotch is also providing a great service to the people of Kenya. It’s great that they’re providing a service, but I tend to view that in he long term benefits it will provide–jobs and infrastructure especially.

    The most unfortunate part is that, until some of the social issues get solved, they will continue to impede the progress that these admirable start-ups are achieving.

  • mleano

    Bicycles and local farming is great for everyone, not just for developing countries. New York City has their CitiBike program to help reduce car traffic and community farming helps reduce industrial farming.

  • alexisprince13

    It was amazing to read about these great starts up that are making a difference in Africa. It nice to see that Unreasonable is working with such great start ups.

  • DaniRaie

    These start ups are one of the best things that can happen for them. I had no idea that so much of this was even going on. It isn’t everyday that you hear such good news on a society joining together to fix such a large problem. It’ll make a great difference. I’m glad Unreasonable is taking part in such an awesome opportunity to help better people’s lives.

  • nedroche

    I think these start ups are genius and definitely the best post I’ve read. Creating SMS messaging between mothers and doctors is so simple but really creative. Establishing healthcare by putting people through med school will improve life for that entire country. I think Ojay Greene marketing for farmers and in a way being the middle man between farmers and supermarkets is SUCH a good idea. Also establishing transportation through bicycles is easy and cheap but also incredibly productive! great post

  • sadeakindele

    The breadth and ingenuity of these ideas is simply fantastic. Social enterprises such as these have the capability of bringing about so much change that it inspires me to follow suit. I am hopeful for their success.

  • Halea McAteer

    These are some amazing startups, and cover pretty varying fields which I think is very important seeing as issues in these countries are not limited to one subject area. There is a lot of work to be done, but it is groups and businesses such as these that prove that change is possible.

  • Arnthor Kristinsson

    Great point and I agree. I think that bicycles are very smart way of getting between places for numerous of reasons. Denver also has their Bcycle for downtown and I have used it a couple of times, it’s very convenient.

  • kschwein

    I feel the same way after reading an article like this but sadly I do not think that everyone is aware of theses issues. Some people honestly have no clue. It is wonderful what is being done for the millions of people though and how their lives are being impacted.

  • Katie

    These are all great ideas that will help with the growth of East Africa. These start-ups will help make a positive change for the individuals living in East Africa. I can’t wait to see the affects they make!!

  • John Mulhern

    I really enjoyed this article because these start ups are really taking a stand at the court issues that need to be dealt with in places like the poor regions of Africa. this article used different tactics and strategies to attempt at eliminating some of the problems rather than just putting Band-Aids on them.

  • Tesh

    There are FinTech startups as well e.g. shield.co.ke?

  • Jack Strader

    I’m really interested in the first startup that was training doctors at 1/5th the cost and have already expanded the growth of doctors by 50%. Is there any way that we can learn from that system and help implement that strategy into American or European schooling? Or is this merely a focus on the specific medical issues that arise in the location and then the doctors are trained specifically to handle those tasks? Just seems really interesting and I’d love to learn more about it

  • mpierson19

    I agree with you! I think this is a great article that isn’t just doing these start ups for the attention, they are wanting to provide to these areas.

  • blackkylet

    I’m sure that, even it they are being trained on specific tasks, there is a way we could implement training like this into American or European schooling. My only concern would be how receptive people would be to it. I know that those seeking out the training would probably utilize it, but the schools themselves? I feel like it may not be lucrative enough.

  • Matthew Montoya

    I definitely agree with you here! Personally, I really thought that Miti Health is an amazing organization! Considering that in the US we rarely have to be concerned about the validity of our medication, I think it is truly eye opening that in other places in the world prescription drugs cannot be genuinely trusted. I think through the utilization of genuine software this organization can bring great peace of mind and value to users throughout the country! Awesome!

  • zoeantonow

    These are so inspiring, and they do a great job of portraying how business can save the world with the right intentions. One concern I have for the Kajo-Keji Health Training Institute is the accelerated portion of the plan: if doctors take less time than needed to really solidify the knowledge and skills needed, it could be a huge risk factor. I wonder how the program is accelerated, and whether the rate of learning affects the knowledge and skills obtained from training. At the same time, some knowledge is better than none, and more doctors in a war zone is better than less, so this still a great startup idea.

  • Jacob Palmer

    This is what I love about the entrepreneurial mindset, solutions not just lamenting the problems.
    I have to admit, when I hear about all the issues facing Africa I quickly despair.
    “How can we fix all this? It’s too much!” I think to myself.
    Reading this article is so heartening. Example after example of addressing a series of problems. What can I say other than, “Keep it up!”?
    I’m also glad for an outlet that highlights these innovations and initiatives. The mainstream media reports on a staggering amount of negative news from all corners. We need to be aware of these types of programs and have a path to provide support to them. I’d love to see these scale to consume many of the challenges Africa faces…until there’s only first world problems left!

  • mni624

    I also thought this article was enjoyable. It was inspiring to read about people creating something for the benefit of others. In addition, I liked how there was a lot of innovation involved with what and how things would be done.

  • Jonathan C

    Miti Health is on to something. The pharma problems in India are quite similar. A friend started a company called PharmaSecure. They help pharma companies sell their brand (instead of counterfeit being sold in their place) and make sure Indians are getting the medication they need instead of sugar pills. A great example of a social enterprise. It’s really exciting to see these twelve businesses pursuing the same goal!

  • Yeah, like Paga and Zoona too (can check out the Girl Effect series Inside Our Programs). Shield looks super interesting. Do you know much about them?

  • Yeah, check out the rest of the startups from last year on the East Africa channel: http://unreasonable.is/east-africa/

    I’m not quite sure I get your last statement though. Care to expand on that?

  • Totally agree—it’s a concern a lot of people have voiced on UNREASONABLE.is as we start to grow our Institute programs in Mexico and East Africa. We’re excited to get rolling here in Boulder, Colorado, and in Boston this summer too—keep on the lookout for those startup stories soon.

    A couple domestic stories in the mean time:
    http://unreasonable.is/entrepreneur-spotlight-video-fixing-the-broken-social-service/
    http://unreasonable.is/learning-profit-loss/

  • scsmith2

    I loved learning about Spouts and about all the different help there is for agricultural development in these different areas. Clean water and food are basic necessities for everyone and it is good to see so many organizations trying to tackle and improve these important issues.

  • scsmith2

    I completely agree. I dread hearing the news because all it ever seems to do is point out the problem. It is incredibly motivating to see that there are people and organizations out there that are trying to find solutions instead of regurgitating already known issues. I really love the hyper link that allows people to contribute by donating to said programs. It gives everybody the opportunity to provide assistance.

  • scsmith2

    I had the same concerns when I read that portion of the article. I am hoping that the accelerated program is for general health knowledge, like administering shots, cleaning and sewing up wounds, etc and then there is a longer term program to specialize in higher medical issues like diagnosing and treating certain diseases or learning more about higher risk surgical procedures.

  • Melanie Olma

    By sharing stories and lessons from other entrepreneurs making a difference not only sheds light on their solutions, but provides inspiration, and helps to spark ideas in other mindful entrepreneurs.

  • Matt48085

    I found what Aryodi Bee Farm is doing very interesting. Providing a profitable skill to poverty stricken countries is something that people often overlook. It’s not always about sending money to help a cause, training and education can be just as important.

  • Matt48085

    These people are amazing and stories like this really do inspire people like me to try and make the world a better place using the skills we have. Money isn’t everything in this life.

  • ajgwynn

    Great article! It reminded me of a TED talk I had seen a few weeks ago by a man named Toby who helped shed light on how truly innovative Africa has been with technology that we in America deem unworthy. Here is the link for anyone who’s interested: https://www.ted.com/talks/toby_shapshak_you_don_t_need_an_app_for_that?language=en

    I was intrigued by the bicycle leasing program as well as the lower cost initiative for health care. It makes me question if we need such frivolous things in America. Nowadays every family member has their own car for their convenience but we could all easily come up with a plan that works for our individual family to reduce the number of cars needed. Ridesharing is a very important issue America needs to face.

  • Dena Keizer

    Its great reading about how there are so many ideas on ways to help Africa’s current situations. Africa has been a struggling country and with new technology and pharmaceutical methods and other things slowly being established there, it will certainly benefit the overall economy of the country.

  • davinmarceau

    Hi Nate,

    I apologize for my delayed response. It’s no secret that Africa suffers from a litany of social issues: Kony, Boko Haram, etc. Until the nations of Africa find a way to defeat these internal and external threats, social progress will continue to be impeded.

    Thoughts?

  • sterling96

    I agree. You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Jessica Andrew

    Thank you for sharing this article! I really like Minti Health and The Health Control Insitiute. I like Minti Health because it is making sure that people will be prescribed and given the right medication that will hopefully work and not something that is fake. I like the Health Control Institute because it is helping people get educated about becoming a doctor in countries who need doctors around. These are great start ups that will help peoples lives around the world.

  • Jessica Andrew

    I agree with you! It is great that the start ups are targeting countries who need the help. It will help the people and the economy in the long run. I am hoping that these start ups will be successful in the long run and be able to help people in need.

  • P.S. It’s a common problem with all of us in Western society, but just an FYI because I thought this article was good, especially because I write often too: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/24/africa-clinton

  • Kate Hanford

    Good questions/concerns about Kajo-Keji. To provide a little more information about them – the program is 2 years full-time, and incorporates classroom, hospital and community learning components. The curriculum was developed with and approved by the South Sudan Ministry of Health.

  • jfhicks

    I like how every one of these businesses has an element of doing good. Such a departure from the way we as a society used to think about business.

  • PaulPasquier

    I love the way all these startups are simple but dramatically efficient for a region like East Africa. There is a lot of things to do there and also there is a real want to improve the conditions of life of these people.

  • Lqurent

    Africa has been overlooked for a long time when it comes to actually finding solutions to problems there and not patching up the results of them. I also believe that these start ups and and technology ventures could do the country a lot of good in the long run.

  • Dena Keizer

    I agree. What kinds of things do you specifically see improving in Africa because of the new technology they can receive?

  • TykwinskB25

    This is a great article. I can see if all of these plans or ideas can stick and grow these other country’s will be able to thrive as an economy. Its progress, but the article also made me realize of the difference of struggle in Africa compared to the United States. We can learn from them. Their creativity of ideas to impact their county is amazing, and we should embrace that.

  • CamilleYip

    It was really interesting hearing about all of the startups happening in Africa and I feel as though as these companies develop more they will make a big impact on life in Africa and all over the world.

  • Lqurent

    Well, mainly the economy could be improved and living conditions could be improved with green solutions. What are you thinking?

  • Dena Keizer

    I agree and something very important to think about is that the improvements that are made need to be low-cost but very efficient and easy to use.

  • Lqurent

    Spot on Dena, who knows where technology could lead us in 10 or 20 years?

  • kbell003

    I think that the start up by Ojay Greene is honestly needed here in the US too. I think that here are probably very similar statistics here in the US as far as the percentage of farmers who control all of the land so we should try and have a similar program implemented here.

  • KE7JLM

    Great observation, I completely agree. I think millennials expect much more from a company than just a good produce at a good price. We are will to pay more for a responsible company’s product that is helping others and making the world a better place.

  • KE7JLM

    I completely agree. Training and education leads to money. Our economic engine runs on these basic ingredients. Its not a perfect system but its the best we have.

    What these guys are doing is amazing.

  • KE7JLM

    I have to admit I was surprise when I found out about the shear size of Unreasonable’s scope. Its a great organization doing great stuff.

  • KE7JLM

    I really think America’s are not living up to their biking potential. Most of the country can bike to daily year round and yet nearly no one does.

    There has been a moment towards in more bike friendly roads so where on the right path.

  • KE7JLM

    Haha, I need me some honey too

    Last I heard farmer where “renting” bee colonies for upwards of 20k to pollinate their fields. The bee industry isn’t a very well know one but I think it is ripe from disruption.

  • Alex Marski

    I enjoyed this article as well and am looking forward to see how these start up companies do in east Africa and the changes that will be made.

  • Alex Marski

    you make a great point American really isn’t doing all they can for their biking potential. I have noticed it in the last few years start to pick up in bigger cities such as Chicago.

  • leeana liska

    These are all great start-ups and will make such a great impact on these peoples lives. The one that I found most interesting however was the bicycles for poverty. I never thought about the impact that a bicycle could have and how it could help so many families to not just be able to be more efficient in the their own community, but in others as well. It allows the opportunity to cooperate and grow and I think its important in the development of these countries.

  • Logan Bertrand

    This is a really great article to read. Thinking about the mindset of all of us entrepreneurs, and while all of us want to think of a way to fix it, there are already people ahead doing a wonderful job! I never could have thought of some of this, and it blows my mind the different ways everyone’s mind works. Great article!

  • Faisal Algannas

    I really like how instead of simply providing aid, they’re working to
    make Africa more sustainable and financially independent. It means a lot
    to people, simply providing aid can sometimes take away from their
    self-image and such.

  • Lqurent

    I still think it may be a few years before this technology is truly affordable though.

  • MattDennert

    It’s amazing to me how many people in East Africa are 30 years of age or younger this can mean many young minds that still can come up with great ideas to help better our world and better the people in it.

  • Kaylie Mae Kuhnke

    i was blown away by this article. i had no idea all these amazing things were coming. i really think East Africa is developing into an amazing region. the idea that they are creating is going to do wonders for their economy and for the people who live there.

  • Kaylie Mae Kuhnke

    the bicycle leasing was my favorite program as well. and i also wondered about all the things in
    America that seem so unnecessary and excessive. also saw that ted talk…great stuff. really enjoyed it thanks for posting the link

  • RadebaugVP02

    I also agree that ridesharing is a huge issue here in America and that is also why the bicycle leasing program stood out to me. I think it is something that will be very successful in Africa but something that America should admire too, maybe consider.

  • keyser03

    I would love to learn more about the developing technology in Africa and see it become a whole new world for those people. Thanks for opening my eyes to new concepts

  • maxfunny

    I hope everyone of these start ups take off. I know that America is starting to lease out bikes more and more to help with small travel and carbon foot print. I hope that we also see success with the bees because that is a major sleeping issue that I think most people over look.

  • Lindsey Kessler

    These are great startups!! Are any of these companies hiring? I will be graduating from college in a few weeks, and I am looking for a meaningful job, where I can both be making an impact on solving the world’s biggest problems, and where I can be happy at my job. These companies would be a great opportunity to work for.

  • Kaila Witthun

    This is great! I had no idea so many people were working so hard to help with problems all over the world. All of these start ups are amazing. I really truly hope they all are able to reach the goals and help change the world a little bit at a time.

  • JefferyDeLaunay

    Good on ya! This is all great stuff and a move in the right direction. Entrepreneurship is, at its core, solving problems and these start-ups do just that.

  • Tom Ashmus

    I think this article is great just based on exposure. When people hear about Africa, they immediately think of a poverty stricken environment. But in actuality, there are a lot of successful startups that are coming out of Africa. This article is just a preview of all of the great things that are happening in Africa. A chain is only as strong as the weakest link and I think Africa is our weakest link as a continent, I am glad to see so many programs that are trying to help them progress with the rest of the world.

  • Tom Ashmus

    Yes the bike leasing program was also very interesting to me. And I agree with you, there has to be a way we can reduce the cars on the road. I will even go one further than cutting down cars in the home. Everyone now a days is so scared of our neighbors when in actuality we need to work together and find out ways we can help each other, such as giving your neighbor a ride in exchange for small household services.

  • Tom Ashmus

    Another reason I really like this article is because of issues like this, I had no idea this was such a big problem. It is a shame that this is even happening in one place let alone multiple places in the world. It is great to see a program being started to help this issue and help people getting their proper medication.

  • I bet they’ll be hiring once they graduate from the program at the end of the summer (ask @katehanford:disqus). I would also check out @nathanielkoloc:disqus’s ReWork and see some of the companies from past programs—the “Inside Our Programs” tab.

  • ryanstorto

    It was new learning about Spouts and the different types of help there is for agricultural development in these places. Food and clean water are necessities for everyone and it is good to see so many organizations trying to tackle and improve these important issues. Im interested to see what happens in the future.

  • Will Ettl

    All of these are very interesting and half of them are very profitable for the people in Africa. Some of the things such as the NEI having farmers in Tanzania grow vanilla so that can be used in extracts if very profitable and interesting.

  • DavidMizelle1

    Miti Health is a very interesting idea to me. With so many other fundamental problems in Africa (energy, clean water, etc.) I wouldn’t have considered lack of reliable medicine as such a large issue. Additionally, the software should be something that is relatively simple to implement as long as they can get accurate information from the end user about the effects (or lack there of).

  • DavidMizelle1

    Not only is it cool that they are giving them a usable skill as well as helping with entrepreneurial training, but they’re also helping a dying bee population that are quickly going extinct. Two birds with one stone. http://content.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,2591408791001_2149079,00.html

  • Radaya123

    All of these start-ups are gold. I hope America doesn’t declare war in attempt to steal their ideas or people and more of their natural resources.

  • ZakFritz

    I agree. We need more ideas like these if we are to Help Africa.

  • ZakFritz

    It is interesting isn’t Will. This will help people eat and make money in Tanzania!

  • Jpl89

    I really enjoyed this aéticle a lot it shows us how the use of education , integration, training I some care and consideration can start to complete turn some areas around. This is wonderful to see so much productivity across the globe.

  • Gnosis Media Group

    Although we are a U.S. based startup, we’re working with developers and partners to build the the knowledge economy in Africa as well. An app we developed called Text Engine enables people with dumbphones to search the Web using only text messages. Learn more: http://textengine.info

  • sophialavalley

    Thank you for sharing the TED talks link it was a nice followup for the article. I agree with you that America needs to start to question its frivolity. We are such a consumer society that it will be difficult to change people’s habits. To many giving up the multiple car household will be a hard sell. Ride share needs to start being discussed and promoted more.