Kenyan CEO Among Winners of Ksh 169M Jack Ma Competition

  • Osembo Navalayo, CEO of Enda Sportswear , holding some of her shoe brands
    Osembo Navalayo, CEO of Enda Sportswear, holding some of her shoe brands
  • A Kenyan Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has emerged among the top three finalists in billionaire Jack Ma’s Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Award.

    Enda Sportswear CEO Navalayo Osembo emerged third in one of the largest and most prestigious start-up competition in Africa, sponsored by the Chinese tycoon.

    The main aim objective of the competition is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors.

    Osembo and other top 10 finalists will share Ksh169 million ($1.5 million) in grant money that was set aside for the competition. 

    An image of sport shoes manufactured by Enda Sportswear.
    An Image of Sports Shoes Manufactured by Enda Sportswear.
    Twitter

    While appreciating the recognition, Osembo noted that the competition enabled his company to grow and establish new networks in different sectors.

    “The recognition as part of the top 3 African Business Heroes finalists validates the brand's growth and impact,” Osembo appreciated. 

    She added, “the competition has opened new networks for Enda that will help in establishing a robust supply chain in China and Africa, including capacity building of local factory staff.”

    Her company Enda deals with world-class running shoes. Her dream to start the company was ignited by her childhood experience where she witnessed athletes training without quality track shoes.

    To maximise social impact through sports, she founded the Made in Kenya running shoe brand that creates jobs, invests in local communities, spurs economic growth and contributes to the development of the country.

    The idea to build the company was hatched in 2015 but realised two years later in 2017. Together with her co-founder Weldon Kennedy, they raised Ksh12.9 million ($120,000) which they used to set up Enda-Sportswear.

    Her company has managed to bring together world-class shoe designers, developers and Kenyan athletes in creating performance kicks. 

    Prior to making it to the global Jack Ma competition, she was a cohort of the Creative DNA, a program under the British Council’s East African Arts.

    The programme was geared at supporting young and upcoming entrepreneurs financially, helping them develop skills, knowledge, and networks in Kenya as well as in the UK.

    Other than running the company, Osembo is a trained lawyer and accountant, with experience in risk management, results-based management, and writing.

    She is a graduate of the London School of Economics.

    Osembo Navalayo, CEO of Enda Sportswear , holding some of her shoe brands
    Osembo Navalayo, CEO of Enda Sportswear, holding some of her shoe brands
    File