Sinapis Group, Nurturing start-ups’ ideas into strong Kenyan businesses

By Vera Shawiza / July 15, 2017

For many start-ups and business only a small percentage ever achieve the growth needed to become billion-dollar companies.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), 2016 National MSME Survey states that approximately 400,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) did not get to celebrate their second anniversary in the last five.

“A total of 2.2 million MSMEs were closed in the last five years, 2016 inclusive,” read the report in part which found that a significant 46 per cent of the MSMEs surveyed died in their first year of establishment.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) acknowledges that the Kenyan SMEs play a huge role in wealth creation and distribution, but they have at best been pushed to the back burner and at worst labelled as unstructured, unstable short-term businesses.

To change the notion, it is by building the capacity of SMEs and integrating them into the industrial value chain. “This gives SMEs an opportunity to grow beyond borders.”

One institution doing great to empower start-ups and business is Sinapis Group.
Sinapis Group is empowering aspiring entrepreneurs with innovative, scalable business ideas by providing them with a rigorous religious-centred business education, consulting and mentoring services.

The group helps businesses accelerate growth through its four-month advanced entrepreneurial training program that is similar to a mini-MBA but customized for entrepreneurs and business owners.

The Sinapis training program combines highly interactive online and in-class educational experiences with extremely practical fieldwork assignments grounded in the most cutting-edge entrepreneurship best practices and deep knowledge of what it takes to start and grow a business in a developing context.

The curriculum is divided into four core sections of business: sales and marketing, human resources and management, operations and finance.

Participants spend 6 hours each week in a highly interactive and practical class at our partner’s facility, spend 6 hours completing work on an online platform called My Entrepreneurial Journey from Acton School of Business in Austin, Texas USA and spend approximately 8 hours each week completing practical fieldwork assignments called milestones, which are directly related to what they’re learning in class.  

Classes are interactive in nature with many case studies, debates, live simulation games, problem sets and videos and we only teach extremely practical & actionable material & force you to apply concepts learned in your business.
The programme usually rounds off with a demo day (Annual Business Plan Competition) where start-ups pitch their ideas to investors.

The Annual Business Plan Competition award honors outstanding entrepreneurs from the 6month program every year for their inspirational, viable and live pitching event that brings together business owners, investors and other individuals in the entrepreneur ecosystem.

The winner of the competition receives $10,000 (Ksh1,000,000) in grant-based seed capital, and proceeds to join Sinapis’ Fast Track Fellows Program (FTFP) together with other outstanding finalists.

In the Fellows Program, they benefit from key resources such as customized mentorship from successful business owners, professional advising from experts in law, branding, accounting and one-on-one support from widely experienced consultants.

They also gain access to additional funds in the form of early stage and growth stage investment capital.

Courtney Rountree Mills, the co-founder and Executive Director at Sinapis, entrepreneurs who pass through their training end up creating on average 3 jobs per year that they are in business.

“We have seen that, despite the steep challenges our entrepreneurs face, 78 percent of the businesses we accelerate survive longer than 3 years. We have seen that the economic value of the 9-15 jobs they create over a 3-year period is equivalent to around 2.7-4.5 Million shillings compared to $400 variable cost of putting,” Said Cortney Mills in the Sinapis 2015/2016 annual report.

This years’ Business plan competition will be taking place on July, 22nd where the top five students among those undergoing the Sinapis Entrepreneurship trainees will compete for the grand prize. 

Last year, Grace Murugi of took home the 1-million-shilling grand prize after emerging as the winner of the Business Plan Competition. 

About Vera Shawiza

Vera Shawiza is Soko Directory’s in-house journalist. Her zealous nature ensures that sufficient and relevant content is generated for the Soko Directory website and sourcing information from clients is easy as smooth sailing. Vera can be reached at: (020) 528 0222 or Email: [email protected]

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