Villgro Kenya Innovators to Benefit from new Pool of Mentors

Yellow and Green Greyscale Basketball Championships Facebook PostFollowing a successful call for applications, Villgro Kenya is excited to announce its new pool of mentors, drawn from across the world. The mentors come from a range of sectors, each with strong expertise in their various fields. Villgro Kenya will work closely with them to ensure they are well equipped to leverage their knowledge, expertise and networks to guide the companies in our portfolio.

The selected mentors include:

  • Philippa Ngaju Makobore, head of the instrumentation division at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI)
  • Shivachi Muleji who has been a manager at Uber, Bolt and Swvl 
  • Dr. June Madete, the coordinator of the African Biomedical Engineering Consortium 
  • Dr. Sylvia Shitsama, a consulting neurosurgeon and coordinator of the mentorship program at JKUAT 
  • Dr. Kenneth Chelule, Senior Research Officer at the Kenya Industrial Research & Development Institute
  • Ankit Jhanwar VP, Strategy Pluss Advanced Technologies Ltd. 
  • Belinda Shitsama, MSME & Startup Guru 
  • George Kaburu, Operations Director at Ipsos

At Villgro Kenya, we are aware of the difference a mentor can make in a startup's journey to scale. They are instrumental in helping new ventures make fewer mistakes and overcome the common obstacles faced by companies in the early stages.

The CEO of MamaOpe, Olivia Koburongo, testifies to this fact. Arun Venaketsan, the CEO and co-founder of Villgro USA, has been their mentor for the past 4 months.  With his guidance, as well as the connections he has made on their behalf, they have been able to move faster in their product development of a pneumonia screening device for neonates. 

“Our mentor, Arun, has helped with streamlining our scope, he has connected us to a design consultancy firm in India and continues to guide us on what to look out for in a vendor. This has helped our progress to scale tremendously,” Ms. Koburongo shared with Villgro.

A mentor-based approach ensures that ventures are able to scale their innovations fast, creating impact in their communities through an active network of experts who can ultimately become investors. The current group of mentors will help advance Villgro Kenya’s goal of creating a vibrant startup ecosystem with the aim of supporting early stage entrepreneurs.