Pamoja Founders Project: Accelerating African Entrepreneurs' Impact

Pamoja Founders Project: Accelerating African Entrepreneurs' Impact


With seed funding from the PepsiCo Foundation, IREX has partnered with PepsiCo and D-Prize to launch a catalytic leadership development program for entrepreneurs working at the intersection of food security, sustainable supply chains, and resilient food systems in Africa.   

Across the globe, lack of equitable access to opportunity - especially for women, youth, and those from underrepresented communities – means that promising solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems are never brought to fruition.  The Pamoja Founders Project is a pilot program that will holistically support young  entrepreneurs who build businesses that address their communities’ greatest challenges.  

The Pamoja Founders Project is open to entrepreneurs leading new ventures working at the intersection of food security, sustainable supply chains, and resilient food systems in one of six countries: Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Mozambique.  

Quick Facts

  •  Pamoja Founders Project will provide holistic support to entrepreneurs to help identify and mitigate common barriers they encounter in bringing their enterprises to scale. 

  • The program is open to IREX Fellowship Alumni who completed their fellowship between 2014 and 2023.  

  • Participants will be selected through a competitive, merit-based, and intentionally inclusive application process.  

  • The enterprise should be focused on food security, sustainable supply chains, post-consumer waste management, and/or resilient food systems.   

  • Participants should be under  35 years, and they must be citizens of and currently based in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, or Nigeria.  

  • Pamoja Founders Project will work with an initial cohort of 12 early-stage enterprises; the top six enterprises will win a seed grant to accelerate their ability to scale.  

  • The project will provide a 9-month tailored course, mentoring and professional networking.  


The Pamoja Founders Project will support  our impact goal of contributing to a more sustainable food system and more stable supply chains in Africa, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda by: 

  • Identifying , empowering , and investing  in diverse social entrepreneurs who are confronting food security challenges in their home communities.

  • Developing  and piloting  a holistic approach that combines leadership and enterprise development training with seed funding.

  • Identifying  crucial elements that will help solve the stumbling blocks that early-stage entrepreneurs hit when they attempt to bring their enterprises to scale.

  • Providing training, coaching, professional networking and seed funding to the most promising enterprises.

Project Activities

  • Call for Proposals: Outreach and submission of proposals from the select countries.
  • Selection Process:  Review and identify up to twelve early-stage entrepreneurs from the select countries: Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Nigeria.  

  • Training: Selected entrepreneurs will participate in a 6-month hybrid course to gain knowledge and practical entrepreneurial skills needed to scale, including how to pitch and mobilize resources.   

  • Pitch Competition: The entrepreneurs will be invited to pitch at a multi-day in person convening.

  • Grant Deployment:  Up to six enterprises will be selected to receive grant funding of up to $15,000 each.   

  • Non-financial support : Technical assistance, mentoring, and networking opportunities will be available to all participants for the duration of the program.    

  • Research, Evaluation, and Learning: Document lessons learned, incorporate participant feedback, follow up to monitor and assess enterprise health, engagement with cohort, and application of key skills.  


Round 1 Application Deadline: Monday, November 6, 2023

Round 1 Decision Notifications and Round 2 Application Invitations: Early December 2023

Round 2:  Applicants invited to Round 2 will be required to submit a plan a few weeks after the invitation.

Final Round: Applicants invitation to the Final Round -Virtual interview by the selection committee.

Winning ventures will be announced in Summer 2024. 



Logo for two organizations Pepsico Foundation and D-Prize

The PepsiCo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of PepsiCo, invests in the essential elements of a sustainable food system with a mission to support thriving communities. Working with non-profits and experts around the globe, we're focused on helping communities obtain access to food security, safe water and economic opportunity. We strive for tangible impact in the places where we live and work—collaborating with industry peers, local and international organizations, and our employees to affect large-scale change on the issues that matter to us and are of global importance. Learn more at

D-Prize seeds new ventures scaling access to evidence-based poverty interventions; they invest in new leaders building organizations that would otherwise be unlikely to find support. Since 2013, D-Prize has used seed support to help activate more than 260 social ventures and NGOs.