ALUMNA SPOTLIGHT: ELISHIBA NGUGI

February 11, 2020

Many AWEC participants will say, “AWEC was a game changer,” but for Elishiba Ngugi, being a member of AWEC’s first cohort was a truly transformational experience. Elishiba is the Director of Yahrohk Social Innovations, a social enterprise tackling the challenges of youth unemployment in Kenya. Her passion for the issue stems from her own experiences: she herself had lost a job after building a 15 year career. She described this period in her life saying, “It was a very painful moment for me.” 

These experiences were a major part of why Elishiba applied to AWEC – she wanted to take on big problems in a meaningful way. As a member of Cohort 1, Elishiba was exposed to new concepts and developed her management skills. Learning about things like business modeling and understanding how to keep accurate financial statements equipped Elishiba with the skills to address major social and economic issues through entrepreneurship. She said, “Through the education and knowledge I got from AWEC, I started to be innovative.” 

After completing the program, Elishiba won a pitch competition of 253 entrepreneurs and received funding to attend the World Manufacturing Forum in Italy. While she was there, she outlined her vision for an organic fertilizer company that would employ youth and address local food insecurity. Through these opportunities, Elishiba plans to open a facility employing 200 Kenyan youth by 2022. She explains how AWEC helped her reach this point, saying, “AWEC totally revolutionized my approach. That certificate has taken me places.”

As we prepare to accept our third cohort of AWEC entrepreneurs, Elishiba has a word of advice for incoming participants: “Don’t take the program for granted. It will transform you and we can transform Africa.” 

To learn more about AWEC and alumnae like Elishiba, you can read our 2018 Annual Report here

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