The Finalists of the Fast5 Challenge 2012

The Finalists of the Fast5 Challenge 2012

BiD Network and our 7 committed investment partners, (GroFin, GVEP investing with Prometheus Fund, Oikocredit, Pearl Capital Partners, SEAF, Annona, and InReturn Capital), are pleased to announce the winners of the Fast5 Challenge. These established businesses, operating in emerging markets, were selected on account of the strength of their business plans, growth and potential impact.

The Fast5 Challenge aims at identifying high-growth companies, showcasing them on the international stage and presenting them to ready-to-invest financiers.

The 5 finalists will receive extensive coaching and matchmaking support and an all-expenses paid trip to the Growing SMEs Conference, Netherlands in November 2012. At which they will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with investors and other potential business partners.

Special congratulations to all participants, as well as the selection jury, in this extremely competitive Challenge. From the initial 268 applications, 23 were pre-selected to undergo assessment by our jury. Competition Manager and BiD Network Senior Advisor Maria Pontes, noted; ‘Competition was very tough. The caliber of applications was excellent, many had potential for growth.’ Other judges remarked that while some applications were, ‘in need of polishing, they contained substance – profitability and growth’, and that, ‘finalists definitely rely on strong management and marketing strategy’.

The Fast5 Challenge Finalists 2012:

Izzy Projects

Sector: Utilities
Finance needed: $200,000 – $500,000
Country: Kenya
Entrepreneur: Pim de Ridder


With limited natural resources, electricity in Kenya is both expensive and the supply unpredictable. The tea factories in the country are located, generally, in areas with vast wind power potential – thus presenting the opportunity for self-generating their energy supply. Through installing mid-sized, 1MW, wind turbines, Kenyan tea factories can amply meet their energy demands.

Installing a wind turbine ensures a consistent supply of cheap energy, delivering savings and makes tea production greener. Izzy Projects develop, construct, commission, operate and transfer wind turbine projects to tea factories in Kenya. Read more about Izzy projects and their plans for self reliant tea factories here.

C. R. Kajuna and Company

Sector: Agroforestry
Finance needed: $200,000 – $500,000
Country: Tanzania
Entrepreneur: Cuthbert Kajuna


While bee colonies in Europe and North America have suffered enormous losses in recent years, in Tanzania the population of bee colonies is thriving. C. R. Kajuna and Company currently farm an area of 10 hectares cultivating; moringa oleifera, amarantha, jatropha curcus, eucalyptus. All of which provide ample fodder for 300 top quality beehives already owned by C. R. Kajuna & Co. Aloe vera, neem trees and vanilla is also grown.

In addition to the vast bee colony owned by the organization, they have also contracted 49 small rural beekeepers to supply raw honey. In total C. R. Kajuna & Co. expect to process and export 250 tons of grade A honey to European high demand market. While lesser grades of honey will be used to satisfy the local honey demand or to produce honey byproducts, with of 4.5 tons of beeswax, 17,000 kilograms for the cosmetics industry, 5,630 kilograms in food supplements, and 2,500 bottles of honey beer to be produced. Click here to find out more.


Sector: Fashion
Finance needed: $200,000 – $500,000
Country: Peru

Entrepreneur: Shudhan Kohli

Talii is an ethical fashion brand that delivers quality and style focused clothing using eco-friendly material, produced with the aim of economically empowering disadvantaged communities. By working with women entrepreneurs in Peru, Talii produce high quality clothing from alpaca fiber and distribute wealth to marginalized women.

The stringent supply of natural resources required for the care of alpacas, and their hardy nature, ensure the fiber is an environmentally friendly alternative to cashmere. The goats who provide the material for cashmere are contributing to the desertification of parts of Asia as a result of the requirements for both food and water.

With an emphasis on design and quality workmanship, the company’s brand will have the ability to market socially impacting, environmentally friendly and style-focused products that encapsulate the overall lifestyle of the market.

Principal Company Ltd

Sector: Manufacturing
Finance needed: $2,000,000 – $5,000,000
Country: Tanzania
Entrepreneur: Godfrey Mosha


In operation since 1995, Principal Company Ltd has primarily dealt with the importation and sale of bakery ingredients. Despite providing a steadily growing business over the past decade, Principal Company has noted the potential market in Tanzania, and East Africa more generally, to process and sell products themselves, which they currently import.

Their ambition is to further expand their business through the extension of their factory and the machinery and equipment in place so that they may produce all 133 products they currently import. Through this strategy Principal Company Ltd hopes to dominate the East and Central African bakery ingredients industry.

Illumination EA

Sector: Renewable Energy
Finance needed: $200,000 – $500,000
Country: Tanzania

Entrepreneur: Mshinwa Edith Banzi

Illumination East Africa (iEA), aims to provide affordable, purpose built and designed solar chargeable LED lamps – reducing greenhouse emissions, as caused by traditional kerosene lamping, whilst also saving money for families who use them. The average Tanzanian household spends between USD $15-32 a month on traditional lighting methods. That is candles, wood burning or kerosene. Illumination is a deliberately commercial enterprise with social and environmental goals.

The key idea for Illumination is to create a sustainable business model which effects large scale change in the rural areas. Their main product is solar lights designed specifically to suit both the rigors of everyday use and the purchasing capacity of the target customers. The units are priced marginally above their landed cost to ensure maximum market penetration. To date more than 20,000 pieces have been distributed to five different Districts of Tanzania. Find out more about illumination East Africa’s plans to provide rural lighting.

Again special credit and congratulations to the other 17 pre-selected business plans whom the judges had the challenge of choosing just these 5. The other 17 were:

German Acevedo, TECH4RIDERS S.A.S.

Ivaneth Silva Pernalette, Grupo Tecnológico BIXBITA Internacional (GTBI)

Dr Parveez Ubed, ERC-Eye Care Centre

Orapin Sinamonvech, Kokoboard Co., Ltd

Erwin Spolders, Redavia

Samanthi Ratnayake, LiLi Cheese

Walter Saúl Alvarez Villada, Educatic

Andres Chiodi Enrico, abcdexperts

Emerson Sifuentes, EcoRaptor’s

Ajaya Mohapatra,

Avni Gashi, BURIMI AG

Remy Niyungeko, Kingdomizer Business Group Ltd

Gabriel Goita, Mali Viande SARL

Mario Plata, Sevenminds

Dr Asher Hasan, Naya Jeevan

Veronica Yow, Research Africa

Edgar Castro, Airfood

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