Sankalp Africa Summit Holds 10th Show in Kenya, Picks Hearty Engineering As Ecosystem Winner


The Sankalp Africa Summit, which focused on the impact of entrepreneurship and sustainable development was held at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi, Kenya on March 1st and 2nd.

The show targeted to engage over 1,500 stakeholders from different sectors of the development ecosystem and drive the critical factors of entrepreneurial success for the Sustainable Development Goals.

This was the 10th edition of the summit. The theme of this year’s summit was Transformative Impact, and it featured various formats such as panel sessions, workshops, global leader speeches, fireside chats, and deal rooms to encourage collaborative partnerships and envision a future beyond the goals themselves.

During the conference, some of the key global sponsors including Visa Foundation as the Strategic Partner, GIZ as the Affiliate Partner, Villgro Africa, FSD Uganda, US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Energy Catalyst as the Program Partner, came together to support the achievement of the SDGs.

Each partner provided their unique perspective and insights towards this goal. Visa Foundation, for instance, focused on supporting inclusive economies, the growth of gender-diverse and inclusive small and micro businesses, and addressing broader community needs and disaster response during times of crisis.

On the second day (yesterday), Visa made some key announcements about its commitment to the said agenda.

Specifically, they revealed that they has partnered with two African organizations to support the growth of gender-diverse and inclusive small and micro businesses (SMBs) in Africa.

The $1 Million grant will be directed to AfriLabs, the largest community of technology hubs, innovators, and entrepreneurs in Africa, and Graça Machel Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting women’s economic empowerment and gender-lens investment on the continent.

This partnership is part of Visa Foundation’s five-year, $200 Million Equitable Access Initiative, launched in 2020, which aims to support gender-diverse and inclusive SMBs globally.

The funds will be used by AfriLabs and Graça Machel Trust to support women-led startups and small businesses in Africa.

AfriLabs will use the funding for its RevUp Women Initiative, which will provide training and mentoring to 500 beneficiaries and a $10,000 investment to 10 business owners.

Graça Machel Trust will expand its Women Creating Wealth program to reach 100 women-led businesses.

 As of January 2023, Visa Foundation has committed $162 Million to 60 grantees and investees in over 60 countries and has supported 3.4 million small businesses worldwide, including in Africa.

Lastly, the Summit annually awards high-impact enterprises in Africa, with finalists pitching to a jury panel of business leaders and investors.

The 2023 winners were Legendary Foods, Vetsark Limited, and Agki Medical Laboratory as first, second, and third runners-up respectively.

The Sankalp Ecosystem Award went to Hearty Engineering.

The enterprises tackle development challenges such as agri-financing, anemia in rural communities, and livestock health monitoring using technology.


“We are proud to partner with Visa Foundation to break down some of the structural barriers faced by women entrepreneurs in Africa,” said Melizsa Mugyenyi, CEO, Graça Machel Trust. “It’s an honor for our programs to be recognized by a leading organization like Visa Foundation, with a like-minded mission of spotlighting gender-lens investment and women’s empowerment.”

“Sankalp today, in its 10th year in Africa, celebrates a decade of impact and the Sankalp Africa Awards has truly been a regional trailblazer when it comes to identifying and supporting hundreds of impact enterprises whose business promise and potential is crucial to solving economic and development challenges. This year we were once again inspired by the ideas and the cutting-edge innovation of our winners, each of whom demonstrates the ability to drive action and influence positive outcomes,” said Arielle Molino, Sankalp Lead and AVP Intellecap Africa 

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]