2018 Cohort

The Growth Accelerator Entrepreneurship Challenge kicked off on July 4th, 2018 and officially opened the call for applications. The Growth Accelerator team conducted information sessions across 8 districts in Malawi; Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba, Mangochi, Mchinji, Karonga, Mzuzu and Kasungu and a rigorous mass media campaign to reach all eligible entrepreneurs.

Applications closed September 2nd, 2018, receiving over 200 applications from across Malawi and across industries. Out of the 200 applications received, 43 were called for interviews, 20 pitched to an external investment panel of international and local experts who essentially selected the final 11 ventures who will take part in the 10-month long cohort.

Apex Medical Laboratories

APEX Medical Laboratories was founded on the desire to provide access to high quality laboratory services which comply with international standards. Engendering values that include quality and efficiency, the all-female co-founded enterprise envisions its impact as being a dual contribution to improving general healthcare and creating employment opportunities. Apex’s growth aspirations including incorporating technology into their service delivery for wider impact and expanding operations beyond Lilongwe by 2021. Visit Website

Kombeza Foods is a dairy processing enterprise that provides nutritious and affordable dairy products to residents of Malawi. Kombeza’s mission is to develop key partnerships with women and youth as a means of encouraging them to become key players in the dairy value chain. The venture further aims to improve the economic livelihood of farmers by purchasing milk from them at consistent and competitive prices coupled with access to micro-credit facilities.

Wijays Enterprises is a local soap and detergent producer driven by the aim of ensuring healthy germ-free living for its customers. Wijays has been importing chemicals to sustain its production and through the Growth Accelerator Malawi Programme is looking to substitute its current traditional offering for an all-herbal product mix by recruiting and supporting a network of female smallholder out growers to become their main supplier of herbs. Wijays is also aiming to be an exporter of essential oils by 2023.

Infinity Energy Solutions’ reason-for-being is to aggressively contribute to a nation where there is less reliance on charcoal. They address this glaring problem by producing smokeless, odourless briquettes from recycled charcoal dust and ash. The health impact potential of being able to significantly reduce the number of deaths of women from respiratory complications as a result of cooking indoors with charcoal is equally as important to this alternative energy enterprise.

Truss Group – formerly known as the Truss-Ndirande Recycling Centre – provides a low-cost, comprehensive, solid waste management service to residents of underserved, low-income urban townships by converting plastic waste into paver blocks. Truss’s overarching purpose is to elevate bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers by working with them to innovatively create healthier cities through a range of eco-sustainable products. The venture has a clear goal of scaling to over 9 products, servicing over 5,000 individuals and managed by approximately 100 employees, over a 3-year period.

Honey Products Industries’ goal is to commercialize the honey value chain in Malawi by engaging youth apiarists through aggregating and buying honey from them for processing and re-sale as a branded, high-quality product available at retail outlets. The enterprise utilizes a micro-franchise model as a means of empowering honey-producing communities. Their impact is three-tiered: environmental (forest conservation); economic (creating employment and income-generating opportunities for rural youth) and social (improving the well-being of beekeeping communities). Honey Products Industries aims to export 5 tons of honey per year by 2021.

Chonona Aquaculture Limited seeks to improve nutrition, job creation and natural resource management through modern aquaculture practices. Chonona’s mid-term goal is to become an exporter of fingerlings and seeds as a way of substituting imports of the same.

As the name suggests, Tehilah is a food processing enterprise that focuses on a product range fortified with – specifically – Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP). The current range is currently restricted to confectionary but geared towards exponential growth. Tehilah’s mission is to lead the food processing industry by innovating new product development and commercialization through being able to demonstrate real scaling up capabilities by utilizing cutting-edge processing technologies which focus on locally available resources. Their impact agenda is a combination of improved nutrition and income-generating opportunities for farmers of local high-value produce.

Thanthwe Farms is an innovative and inclusive agribusiness that specializes in the growing of high value vegetables and fruits for supermarkets, individuals and hotels. Cognizant of the relatively low participation rate of youth and women in the commercial farming value chain, the venture also trains and incubates aspiring female farmers and young agricultural students as a means of showing them actual value in the agribusiness sector. The overall external vision is an import-free fresh produce sector in Malawi that – alternatively – exports value-added produce to the rest of Africa and Europe.

Pamudzi Property Investments is a company founded and lead by a modern-day inventor who produces construction machinery, mainly intended for use in the production of cement blocks as an alternative to the now illegal baked bricks. The dream for the company is to become a multinational whilst positively and actively contributing to addressing the negative effects of climate change.

Environmental Industries is an enterprise that produces and sells Bionitrate Fertilizer, a branded liquid fertilizer produced by harvesting and processing human urine. Armed with an extensive background in sustainable agriculture, the experienced founder is focused on retaining the soil’s fertility by offering an organic alternative to chemical fertilizer. He describes his impact as a contribution to food security due to the fact that the use of Bionitrate Fertilizer has been tested and shown to produce higher and more reliable yields annually which can also stimulate more sustainable revenue streams for smallholder farmers.