IREX, the PepsiCo Foundation and PepsiCo reveal 12 finalists for The Pamoja Founders Project

Six entrepreneurs from West, East and Central Africa to receive seed funding to advance food security across the continent

Nairobi, Kenya – May 23, 2024:  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."


About the PepsiCo Foundation

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

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $86 billion in net revenue in 2022, driven by a complementary beverage and convenient foods portfolio that includes Lay's, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, and Quaker. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including many iconic brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Beverages and Convenient Foods by Winning with pep+ (PepsiCo Positive). pep+ is our strategic end-to-end transformation that puts sustainability and human capital at the center of how we will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for planet and people. For more information, visit and follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn @PepsiCo.

Contact: Sarah Kuruswo, Senior Program Officer, IREX. Email:

Contact: Devendri Adari, Social Impact Lead – West East Central Africa and South Africa, PepsiCo Foundation. Email:

Contact: Fern Pais, Communications Lead - PepsiCo West, East and Central Africa (WECA). Email:


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