Young Founders of STAWI Win $15,000 Thomas J. Bata Legacy Award for Responsible Entrepreneurship in East Africa
Friday, May 29, 2015
At a reception in Nairobi today the Bata Shoe Foundation announced that STAWI, a Kenyan business that processes perishable fruits, grains, and cereals into gluten free flour, is the winner of the $15,000Thomas J. Bata Legacy Award for young responsible entrepreneurship in East Africa. Two runners up – GreenChar and KARIBU Solar Power – received $5,000 each. The Award was established in 2014 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late CEO of the Bata Shoe Organization, known as “Shoemaker to the World.” It provides funding and mentoring for young entrepreneurs inEast Africa who demonstrate a commitment to the values that guided Mr. Bata’s leadership of the organization for four decades.
“The real role of business is to give a service by making and selling products that satisfy the want and needs of society, and in doing so to be a caring organization in partnership with community and government,” said Thomas J. Bata.
The award-winning business, STAWI, is based in Kenya and led by a team that includes Eric Muthomi (Founder & CEO), Kent Libiso (Chairman), and Sangu Delle (Director). STAWI provides high quality processed foods through sustainable and equitable farmer relations. Seeking to combat agricultural waste from foods such as bananas, STAWI processes perishable fruits, grains, and cereals into gluten free flour. This flour, with a higher market demand and shelf life, increases food security, increases farmer income, and reduces waste. Smallholder farmers, whose crops are most at risk for perishing, and rural consumers, most at risk for malnutrition, receive the sharpest benefits from STAWI.
The Bata Legacy Award challenged entrepreneurs 35 and younger to identify a community need in East Africa and share a creative, viable business solution that embraces the values that guided Thomas J. Bata throughout his career. After the first round of submissions five finalists were chosen and assigned a business mentor, who will work with them for a year. Each then completed a detailed proposal that was evaluated by an international jury comprised of leaders in business and development, including Mrs. Sonja Bata.
“My husband felt strongly that the role of business should be to serve society by providing services and products which contribute to the well-being of the community,” said Mrs. Bata. “I am delighted about the Thomas J. Bata Legacy Award promoting this vision. The award celebrates entrepreneurship, teamwork, creative and innovative thinking, and hard work. It is unique because it also has a special educational mentoring component.
I wish the winners a lot of success with their business and that they will be able to create jobs and more importantly, opportunities for advancement for the persons they employ and for the communities in which they work.”
“I want this award to be an inspiration to other philanthropists by showing that the encouragement of entrepreneurs requires not only financial support, but also mentoring and role modeling of positive community values,” she said. “Thank you to our mentors and judges assisting us.”
The Thomas J. Bata Legacy Award finalists include: