Newswise — Babson Executive and Enterprise Education has established Launch and Grow: The Kenyan Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, a first of its kind high-impact program for women entrepreneurs from the region.

The inaugural session features 14 seasoned and emerging women entrepreneurs who have the capacity to grow and scale their businesses. They participated in an intensive week at Babson on June 13-17, 2016 directed by Elaine Eisenman, Dean of Executive and Enterprise Education at Babson, and Susan Duffy, Executive Director, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson.

“We are delighted to have the first Launch and Grow cohort here for this transformative experience” says Eisenman. “These 14 women exemplify the power of entrepreneurship, and we look forward to working with them to accelerate the growth and impact of their businesses as they form bonds that will not only last a lifetime but also form the foundation for creating a network of successful women entrepreneurs who will expand their reach for years to come.”

The training at Babson was the critical first stage of the program, focused on supporting Kenyan women entrepreneurs as they learned and applied the principles of Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®, and enhanced their leadership and mentoring skills, therefore fostering success of their businesses. Coaching and mentoring will continue in collaboration with the University of Nairobi's Wangari Maathai Institute and will culminate with a closing ceremony and final presentations of business projects in January 2017. Launch and Grow is a three-year initiative, with new cohorts to be selected each year.

In Kenya, women represent more than 50 percent of the business sector in the country; however, women-run businesses are usually smaller, have less access to credit, a lower growth rate, and lower rate of re-investment. Launch and Grow was created at the initiative of The Women for Africa Foundation and Banco Santander to bridge career stage and status for high-potential women entrepreneurs in Kenya to create extraordinary economic and social value.

2016 Participants

Jael Amara- Consumer Options LtdJael Amara is a Researcher with Consumer Options Ltd, a Pan African market and social research company with operations in East Africa. She has been in the market research industry for 15 years and has worked across Africa.

Persis M. Ashers- The afriQuest Research CentreAs a founder and director at afriQuest Research Centre Ltd, Persis’s focus has always been to create jobs regionally and to build African talent to global standards.

Thandiwe Chemng’orem- Domaine Kenya LtdThandiwe Chemng’orem is the Operations & Imports Manager at Domaine Kenya Ltd, which is a family business started by her father to import fine wines and spirits in Kenya, based on his wealth of experience in the alcoholic beverage industry in the country.

Agnes M. Gichonge- Starbright Services LtdAgnes controls all management of her family business, Starbright Services, which does off-set printing. She is a mother or three and grandmother of one.

Linda Wairimu Ihuthia- Catapult NatureLinda has spent six years working in business and most recently, with Catapult Nature. Catapult Nature is East Africa’s sole- distributors for Lechuza, manufacturers of unique designer planters and are based in Zirndolf, Germany.

Alice Kirenge- Zehu Ltd Zehu Ltd is driven by Alice’s passion to improve livelihoods. In the past few years she has worked with rural women to help them save and find matching funds to purchase tanks for rain water harvesting through an NGO named Sokoni Women Development Initiative.

Eunice Mathu- Stellan Consult Ltd Eunice left formal employment in 1981 to launch her start-up company, Stellan Consult Ltd, in media consultancy and publishing.

Jennifer Ndunge Mulli- Katchy KollectionsJennifer is the managing director of Katchy Kollections Ltd, a company that designs and produces uniquely beaded leather and wooden items under the brand name “Jiamini,” that brings in an infusion of the west and African, giving it a contemporary look.

Wangeci Murage- Media Pros AfricaAt Media Pros Africa, Wangeci provides media services to broadcast networks, independent content producers, television markets and film festivals across Africa.

Alison W. Ngibuini- Al Is On Production LtdAlison is the Founder and CEO of Al Is On, a leading and award winning film and communication company with ten years experience in using modern day tools as a vehicle for behavior change, advertising, training and entertainment.

Patricia Okelo- Willart Productions LtdPatricia is the Founder of Willart Productions Limited, founded in 2000, primarily to offer professional design services for Kenyan based organizations.

Yvette Ondachi - Ojay GreeneYvette is the Founder of Ojay Greene, an agricultural social impact enterprise that seeks to increase the incomes of smallholder fruit and vegetable farmers in Africa by linking them to urban markets where demand is continually growing as a result of rapid urbanization.

Beatrice Annabel Onyando- Synergy For Africa LtdAnnabel is the founder of Synergy For Africa Limited, a company that aims at spurring entrepreneurship in the continent.

Charity Wanjiku- Strauss Energy LtdCharity is co-founder of Strauss Energy Ltd., an award-winning energy enterprise that seeks to alleviate the energy poverty in Kenya and Africa at large.

About Babson Executive and Enterprise Education

Babson Executive and Enterprise Education is a dynamic learning laboratory, where clients, faculty, staff, and partners work together to address real-world business challenges and create and capitalize on opportunities for their clients. With roots in Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®, it dev¬elops the lead¬ers that compa¬nies need most: those who can cre¬ate op¬por¬tu¬ni¬ties, en¬vis¬ion and nav¬i¬gate change, accom¬modate ambi¬guity, sur¬mount com¬plex¬ity, and moti¬vate teams in a com¬mon pur¬pose to grow organ¬i¬za¬tions and create eco¬nom¬ic and social value. Babson Executive and Enterprise Education solutions include, custom programs designed and delivered to meet clients’ unique needs; open enrollment programs that develop individuals and teams in focused areas; thought leadership through a monthly webinar series and thought-provoking newsletters like Babson Insight; and blended and e-learning to complement the classroom experience.

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader of Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. The top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value. Visit