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GrowUp Incubator

Our GrowUp Incubator focuses on supporting and advancing innovative solutions that have the potential to create substantial environmental and social impact. We’re providing key support to social business entrepreneurs in post-revenue stage. Incubatees of GrowUp will receive tailored mentorship based on their needs, interactive capacity building workshops and networking opportunities with local partners and peer-to-peer support to share challenges and discover solutions. At the end, they will have identified how to:

  • Refine its partnerships and operational model
  • Analyse the product-market fit for multiple contexts
  • Find viable routes to scale and grow 
  • Integrate impact evaluation into the operational model
  • Identify financial sustainability model and financial opportunities
We have launched the 2022 cohort of our GrowUp Incubator for social businesses to support and grow skills on early-stage entrepreneurs who have proven their concept and are looking for support on how to scale their social business and become self-sustainable. The cohort supports social business entrepreneurs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi:
Sparkle Agro Brand

Sparkle Agro Brand is offering solutions to the malaria problem and adding value to waste milk at the same time. The brand  produces organic anti-mosquito skin-care products made from spoilt milk, which is bought from rural female-led dairy farms around Wakiso, Uganda.

Urban Smart Gardeners

Urban Smart Gardeners offers simple gardening solutions for households in Nairobi, Kenya and provides installation, maintenance and consulting services as well as pest and crops diseases services for home-based horticulture vertical urban gardening systems. 

MiAgro Shoppers
MiAgro Shoppers

MiAgro Shoppers is an e-commerce digital shopping platform offering a range of products from agricultural groceries, gas accessories, supermarket items and kitchenware delivered to people’s doorstep in and around Kampala, Uganda. MiAgro Shoppers increases market access for farmers and provides them with trainings on agroforestry and sustainable agriculture practices

Nampya Farmers Market
Farmers Market

Nampya Farmers Market is a mobile-based food sourcing and distribution platform connecting rural smallholder farmers from Wakiso, Uganda to the informal food retail vendors in cities to make up an efficient, fair, transparent and formal agri-food marketplace.

Kisumeo Organics

Kisumeo Organics empowers smallholder farmers and creates sustainable and resilient agri-food systems in Nairobi, Kenya through the franchising approach to integrated organic farming specializing in rabbit and poultry farming with a main focus on hydroponics and aquaponics – crayfish farming.

Omishtu-Joy Agritech

Omishtu-Joy Agritech is an agritech startup from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that offers sets of AI-based innovative devices that investigate soil parameters and a mobile application for farmers that suggests appropriate crops for certain farmland to avoid low productivity of crops.

Real Green Gold

Real Green Gold together with its network of more than 140 trained smallholder farmers integrates beekeeping in the production cycles of organic avocados and bananas and supplies organic produce to the local hotels, restaurants and supermarkets in Kigali, Rwanda.

Nutritious Agriculture Network and Consultancy Limited

Nutritious Agriculture Network and Consultancy Limited makes nutrition smart through the iPop Africa initiative. iPop Africa promotes climate-resilient and low-investment African crops through the production of plant-based snacks, cereals and lunch bars sourced from farmers in the low-income areas around Nairobi, Kenya.

Engoho Kuku Farmer
Engoho Kuku Farmer

Engoho Kuku Farmer promotes smart farming by use of technology and modern farming practices for increased profitability and sustainability from Nairobi, Kenya. It is a supplier of agricultural and livestock equipment, offering support services and capacity development to farmers.


Noiro designs affordable cookstoves using recyclable metallic sheets and clay from locally available dumpsites for low income, rural communities in Kisumu, Kenya.

Agriculture and food sector has enormous environmental and social footprint in East Africa as well as it is a proven engine for poverty reduction, with about 80% of the region’s population living in rural areas and depending on it for their livelihood. With our 2022 cohort of GrowUp Incubator we are addressing East Africa’s transformation towards sustainable food systems to enable sustainable agricultural production and support sustainable practices along the whole food value chain; to mitigate climate change and build resilient communities; to encourage renaissance of rural territories; and to enable availability of nutritious and healthy food for the local population.

For the 2022 cohort, the social businesses required the following:

  • Be located in one of our target countries in East Africa
  • Solve a challenge within one or more thematic areas related to food systems. See examples of innovations here.
  • Be beyond experimentation stage
  • Have their product/service on the market for 6 months – 3 years
  • Be legally registered or planning on doing it during the incubation program
  • Be led by a person or by the community (cooperative model)
  • Be able to demonstrate substantial environmental and social impact
  • Be in pre-seed investment but post-revenue stage
  • Have accumulated sales to date of approx. 10,000 – 25,000 USD (Not necessarily profitable yet)
  • Have 2-3 people from the team who will participate in the program
  • Have regular access to stable internet to participate in mentoring sessions and cohort events


07 October – 21 November 2021: Open call for applications   
22 November – 12 December 2021: Selection of 25 semi-finalists and interviews
13 December – 19 December 2021: Announcement of 25 semi-finalists
21  January - 23 January 2022: Capacity building bootcamp for 25 semi-finalists
24 January 2022: Announcement of 10 selected finalists
24 January – 30 January 2022: Gap analysis calls with 10 finalists 
07 February - 03 July 2022: Mentorship, workshops, networking for 10 businesses 
07 July 2022: Demo Day

The application period for the 2022 cohort is closed. The topic and the application period for the 2023 cohort will be published here and on social media in the beginning of July 2022. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media to stay in the loop.

If you have any general questions regarding the program you can reach out to Anna Khudiiash via

The 2021 Cohort: Solutions to Waste Management in East Africa

With the increasing urbanization, waste management has become a global issue – the overproduction of waste is causing negative impacts on our environment. Waste reduction, repurpose and recycling along the value chain need to be taken to the next level. Through the 2021 cohort of our incubation program, we focused on supporting and advancing innovative solutions for sustainable waste management.

Watch the Demo Day of our 2021 GrowUp cohort, presenting their social businesses and get inspired by the pioneers of circular economy.



AHEZA IWACU provides an optimised, app-based residential waste collection service for organic and plastic waste, as well as produces high quality organic fertiliser in Bujumbura, Burundi.


Yo-Waste benefits communities in Kampala, Uganda, by connecting waste collectors and waste generators in a smartphone app, where scheduled and on demand waste collection is organised.

Coast Redwood

Coast Redwood closes gap in the Nairobi (Kenya) recycling market by providing recyclers with high quality plastics sorted by color and type

Arena Recycling Industry

Arena Recycling Industry produces pavement blocks and eco-bricks from post-consumer plastic and sand in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Eco Brixs

Eco Brixs produces good quality, affordable building materials (bricks, fenceposts, pavers), as well as face shields and water filters from recycled plastic in Masaka, Uganda.


Reco works according to the franchise model in Mombasa (Kenya) by providing their franchisees (waste pickers) with branded PPE, capacity building on waste recycling and waste transfer stations where brought recyclables are being sold to waste recyclers and manufacturers

Biha Eco Venture

Biha Eco Venture eliminates housing poverty in Kampala, Uganda by producing low-cost roof and floor tiles from the mixture of waste plastic and waste eggshell powder.

MASSP Recycling Enterprise

MASSP Recycling Enterprise aims to provide sanitation services in Arba Minch, Ethiopia, by installing mobile toilets within the city and producing struvite fertiliser from human waste.


SEAS provides organic waste collection services for communities in Kampala (Uganda) and produces organic fertilizer.

GrowUp Bootcamp

April 2021, we hosted our virtual GrowUp Incubator Bootcamp with 25 pre-selected social businesses improving waste management in East Africa

During the bootcamp the teams received capacity building through interactive workshops, peer-to-peer feedback as well as exchange with well-established social business entrepreneurs in the waste sector. A pool of facilitators and speakers offered their valuable experience and insights to the social business entrepreneurs. In the end, all 25 teams pitched their social businesses and 10 teams were selected to be part of our 6-month GrowUp incubator program going forward.

More detailed information has been shared in our info session for the 2021 cohort which you can watch below:

We proudly announce that on Wednesday, 15th June 2022 we will host the public launch event of our project “SINA – Soziale Innovationen für Nachhaltigkeit” at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. With high-level speakers, we will discuss the role of social innovations in the sustainability transformation in Germany and present first project insights to the audience. (The event is conducted in German only)