At our Global Summit in The Hague, we crowned the winner of our Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Business for Good Award 2022, Purity Gakuo from Kenya. Purity’s business Kuza Freezer manufactures and distributes affordable, solar-powered freezers to small-scale fishermen in Kenya, enabling them to reduce post-harvest losses and increase their income.
Purity was born and raised in an off-grid community where most people depend on fishing to earn a living. One of the major challenges affecting small-scale fishing in Kenya is huge post-harvest losses due to lack of access to affordable cold-storage equipment. Approximately, 45% of fish harvest is lost before it can be sold or safely consumed. (Most depend on ice to preserve it, which has not been reliable in the long run.)
To bridge this gap and enable small-scale fishermen to increase their income, Purity and co-founder Dennis Onkangi manufacture and distribute solar-powered freezers. A particular innovation which makes their business impressive is that they are offered on a pay-as-you-go model, which is affordable and sustainable to their target market, who have been locked out of this cold-storage solution for too long.
When her business was in the prototyping stage, Purity approached our member Somo to get support with commercialising her products. She joined Somo’s incubation programme and was matched with a mentor how introduced her to a social impact investor. This support enabled Purity to grow and scale her business and reach and improve the livelihoods of over 250 small-scale fishermen in Kenya so far. Her business also created job opportunities for over 50 women who have started new fish businesses as a result of using her products.
Purity’s business model and the impact of her business earned her 33% of the public vote and convinced our expert panel of judges, crowning her the winner of our Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2022. As such, Purity received a trophy and a $10,000 grant to grow her business.
Purity says about winning our Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Award:
“We are making our dreams come true and that means serving our community. We now have the capital to scale up our production and serve more small-scale fishermen who are in dire need of a solution.”
Purity’s goal for this year is to reach at least 1,000 more small-scale fishermen. Longer term, she plans to scale up her business operations and set up at least 10 distribution channels in Kenya.