IREX, PepsiCo Foundation And PepsiCo Reveal 12 Finalists For The Pamoja Founders Project


The Pamoja Founders Project, a collaborative regional leadership development program by IREX, the PepsiCo Foundation, PepsiCo and D-Prize, has revealed 12 exceptional young entrepreneurs leading ventures that strengthen sustainable food systems across six African nations: Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Following a rigorous 9-month training program, the top six most promising enterprises will be awarded a catalytic seed grant of USD $15,000 each, funded by the PepsiCo Foundation.

The Pamoja Founders Project provided a comprehensive support system for its 12 cohort members, equipping them to further develop innovative and disruptive solutions that address food security challenges in Africa. Through mentorship, skill-building workshops, access to professional networks, and crucial funding opportunities, the program empowered these young entrepreneurs to scale their ventures. Over the past 9 months, the cohort has undergone personal and professional growth, equipped with essential tools to amplify their impact within their sectors and markets.

Pamoja Founders Project cohort members are leading new ventures working at the intersection of food security, sustainable supply chains, and resilient food systems in one of six countries across West, East and Central Africa. The inaugural cohort members are:

  • Benson Abila, Founder, M-Taka; Kenya

  • Abdul de Almeida, Co-Founder, Crimas, Orza and FAE; Mozambique

  • Mafeng Dangyang, Co-Founder, Kayan Gona Agro Network; Nigeria

  • Emmanuel Dusabimana, Founder, Agriboom; Uganda

  • Nalugemwa Elizabeth, Founder, Seedloans and Kyaffe Farmers Coffee; Uganda

  • Abdallah Mabrouk, Founder & Executive Director, Ibukia Shambani; Tanzania

  • Juliet Namwanje, Founder, Ziimba; Uganda

  • Brendah Nantongo, Founder, Veathari Ventures Limited ; Uganda

  • Elizabeth Okullow, Founder, Agriboom; Kenya

  • Babajide Oluwase, Co-Founder and CEO, Ecotutu; Nigeria

  • Dr. Akpem Terese Shadrach, Founder, Vet Konect; Nigeria

  • Nathnael Tadesse, Founder & CEO, Senaryo Trading, PLC; Ethiopia

“The journey the Pamoja fellows have been on over the past nine months – both as individuals and as a cohort – has been truly remarkable,” Roshan Paul, IREX’s Leadership Practice Director, said. “Each has excelled with the challenging curriculum, and more importantly, accelerated their venture’s trajectory to impact.”

“The Pamoja Founders Project is giving rising food and agricultural entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to engage with industry experts, receive sector-specific coaching, access professional networks, and join a vibrant community of like-minded entrepreneurs,” C.D. Glin, President of the PepsiCo Foundation & Global Head of Social Impact for PepsiCo, shared. “What makes this program different from other accelerators is the backing of one of world’s leading food and beverage companies and a renowned global NGO committed to catalyzing sustained connections and shared learning experiences that will ultimately fuel pathways to prosperity for these leaders and their communities. The Pamoja Founders Project is an investment in a more food secure and resilient future for Africa.”

“Africa’s food security challenges demand innovation,” says Paul Andersen, CEO of PepsiCo West, East, and Central Africa (WECA). “The Pamoja Founders Project marks PepsiCo’s first program for young African agripreneurs, aligning with our PepsiCo Positive vision for a sustainable food system. By empowering these future leaders, we’re building a more resilient food future for Africa.”