After much anticipation and detailed preparation, Sinapis officially launched the Ascent program at a colorful kick-off dinner held at the Panafric Hotel in the heart of Nairobi, Kenya. The dinner attracted key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the city, including investors, accelerators, entrepreneurs, and the first Ascent Cohort.
Ascent is an elite program open to limited cohorts of highly engaged East African founders and their leadership teams looking to accelerate their growth and take their businesses to the next level.Over nine months, the founders and their teams will engage in practical workshops, investment readiness-related activities, and individual time with successful mentors to advance their business model and team culture. They will also have time with other CEOs participating in the program in a peer-to-peer setting. Together, these are designed to provide structure, space, assistance, and active engagement with other entrepreneurs to chart high growth pathways (both business and personal) and remove bottlenecks and obstacles.
The inaugural cohort of Ascent comprises six founders and their leadership teams with businesses ranging from ag processing, real estate, marketing research and advisory, health care, legal and business advisory, and health data management and analytics.
Julian Kyula, Founder at EDOMx and Chairman at Beulah and Kyula Capital, joined us as the keynote speaker of our kick-off event. Julian endorsed the launch of Ascent, stating that it is the right time to launch the program as it will help founders make the right but hard decisions regarding scaling and investment. Julian shared his belief that participating founders and their businesses will have the advantage of tapping into Sinapis’s robust network within the ecosystem for partnerships, collaboration, and community. As Julian ended his speech, he cautioned the founders to learn where and when to push, pause, or pull the plug as they scale. Lessons he’s learned during his time as an entrepreneur.
In his closing remarks, Pius Mugo, the Managing Director and CEO of Nabo Capital, revealed that there are 7.41M MSMEs in Kenya, accounting for 40% of GDP and 50% of new job creation. Many of these MSMEs struggle with access to investment capital. He highlighted some things a business should have on track to improve its chances of getting financing, including cash flow, profitability, and the right people on the team.
After engaging presentations, guests enjoyed dinner and spent time networking with each other well beyond the close of the official event. The founders, forming the first Ascent cohort, affirmed the dinner's relevance to their business as they connected with influential stakeholders and other like-minded entrepreneurs. In addition, one of the founders tickled the guests when he publicly requested Julian to be their board of directors chairman.
The master of the ceremony, Dr. Pete Odera, wrapped up the auspicious event with a call to action, encouraging all present to become ambassadors for doing Kingdom business and be intentional about building the Kingdom business community as a way to impact the people we serve.
For entrepreneurs, launching and advancing their ventures past the early stage is no small feat. It takes vision, drive, and perseverance. In addition, new obstacles exist for those aspiring to take their businesses to the next level. Ascent is designed for entrepreneurs in this stage, equipping them to achieve breakout growth and investment readiness.
We are excited to work with these six highly motivated founders and their teams to develop clarity and pathways for accomplishing commercial success and driving broader impact, transforming lives and communities.