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PIVOT East semi-finalists judges 2019

Esther Mwikali, Head of Community, Memberships & Operations at Mettā Nairobi

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Esther Mwikali is passionate about impact investment, entrepreneurship and innovation. Helping spur change in the Kenyan and regional ecosystem, one start-up at a time as the Head of Community, Memberships & Operations at Mettā Nairobi (Nest Group Africa).

Nest Group Global operates corporate accelerator programmes, invests inseed to growth-stage startups, and runs an entrepreneurial community called Mettā. Nest has built an innovation ecosystem to connect the fast-growing markets of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.


Chandi Tome, Director of Lake Hub

Chandi Tome has 8 years experience as an entrepreneurship across East Africa. In the last 4 years he has actively been involved in shaping the technology ecoystem in Kenya as a director of LakeHub, Western Kenya’s first innovation and technology hub. He has also been involved in other small ventures across the region in Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. He currently works from Nairobi and is actively involved in setting up a new venture and advising a new consultancy on strategy.


Mercy Kimalat

Mercy Kimalat has 6 years + experience in design, delivery, implementation and evaluation of blended learning programmes. Her background is Business and Information Technology from Strathmore University. She is passionate about the use of innovative learning technologies which breaks down the barriers of traditional training and enhances the learning experience of the individual which leads to competency development and improved business performance. Currently working at the E4Impact, she brings the wealth of knowledge and experience on implementation of impact based programs.


Amelia Hopkins Phillips, Founder & Executive Director SOMO

Amelia Hopkins Phillips is founder and executive director of Somo. She started working in Nairobi in 2012 with educational institutions in Nairobi informal settlements. Amelia launched Somo’s initial training cohort in 2014 and full-time Nairobi operations in 2016. She has since established design thinking and entrepreneurship programs in Bujumbura, Mexico City, and New Delhi. She leads operations in Nairobi while also working on Somo’s expansion with partner organizations in Mexico City and New Delhi.


Donald Odhiambo, Social Innovator

Donald Odhiambo is a Researcher, Monitoring & Evaluation Expert, and Public Health Nutrition Specialist with a good background in Information Technology spanning over 7 years of experience as a Consultant for various NGOs, government institutions, social enterprises, and other Enterprise Support Organizations (ESOs).
He has supported various clients in implementing community-based participatory action research, results-based monitoring & evaluation (RbM&E), impact evaluation and communicating impactful stories, data & information management, mentoring & coaching youth-led startups and MSMEs entrepreneurs to create social change.

Donald is a passionate Social Innovator & Entrepreneur who is dedicated to using research data, lean innovation and human-centred design thinking approaches, transformational leadership, process management and advocacy; for co-creating and accelerating impactful, market-driven, and sustainable socio-economic transformation in evolving ecosystem.


Carol Kimani, Country Director at YGAP Kenya

Carol Kimari is a self-proclaimed Kenyan serial entrepreneur, Carol has started several businesses in different sectors, which led her to fall in love with social entrepreneurship. As a book lover, reading has always been a passion and an escape that led her to start Grab a Book, a social enterprise that sets up libraries in the toughest slums of the country and schools, with an aim to bringing back the reading culture and library services to thousands of Kenyan children. Known not to shy away from finances, Carol is a former Sock Broker on the Kenyan Stock Exchange. With over ten years of experience as an entrepreneur, she brings a wealth of knowledge on East African social enterprise. Carol is a YGAP entrepreneur, an Unreasonable Institute fellow and the Country Director at YGAP Kenya.

Jason Musyoka, Head of Finance & Administration Associate

Jason Musyoka is the Angel Network Manager at Viktoria Ventures, which syndicates local and international investor capital into seed stage investments in tech startups in East Africa. Prior to at Viktoria Ventures, he was working at Farm Capital Africa as the Head of Finance and Administration operations. He has also worked as the Project Manager for Arriscar Ventures responsible for client engagements and company  projects, and at Apex Communications as the Finance and Administration Associate charged with streamlining their financing operations. As part of the capital campaign team for Strathmore University, he participated at different negotiations stages to established partnerships between Strathmore University and corporate enterprises.He graduated from the University of Nairobi with a degree in Economics and an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) professional course qualification.


Andrew Gwadiva Heads Investor Relations at GrowthAfrica

Andrew is responsible for building and nurturing relations with local and international investors from angel investors to VC funds aimed at connecting ventures in Africa to the right, matching investors. Point lead on present financial trends, competitor behavior, shareholder issues, and anything else that could impact a venture.

He has worked as the Head of Investment and Portfolio management for a leading family owned business in Sub Saharan Africa where he built collaborative communities around entrepreneurs and their ventures improving opportunities for growth and success. His experience spurs across Africa’s top performing pension schemes, banking, insurance and investment firms. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science as well as a Masters of Science in Finance and Investment from University of Nairobi.


Kevin Barasa, Senior Software Engineer SafeBoda

Kevin is a Software Engineer, Social Innovator and Technical Mentor with passion for African entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem demonstrated by the seasoned mentorship contribution to the the African entrepreneurship narrative by mentoring on various pan-African programs such Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program.

In Software Engineering, his interest is in lean project management, product development and seamless user experience. He believes in creativity, critical thinking, integrity, commitment and teamwork.
He currently works as a Senior Software Engineer at SafeBoda, a motorcycle ride hailing company in Africa. 

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