Dear AFRILINK friends,
AFRILINK made promising progress in 2015. I made three trips to Kenya and, spent a total of 90 days on the ground.
I am pleased to report that we have finally began to achieve our goal of securing a “Paradigm Shift” – – having our partners in Kenya own AFRILINK Kenya and its work in the country.
In concrete terms, we achieved the following:
A. In Kenya
1. A wealthy Kenyan entrepreneur/ business owner has committed to fund the first accelerator. I submitted a proposal that he requested, we met and reviewed it and re-submitted it with changes.
The same entrepreneur has committed to mentor some of our young entrepreneurs – – he will serve on our leadership council as well.
2. Another wealthy Kenya has re-affirmed his commitment to donate seed money – – though there is a temporary delay in sending funds.
3. The Managing Director of the largest bank in Kenya has agreed to join our leadership council – – he will donate personal funds and also, connect us to their foundation.
4. The CEO of a major Kenya media house organized a meeting of 200 budding young entrepreneurs and invited me to speak on the panel – – AFRILINK’s objectives were well received
5. We have hired a Eva Ntalami to coordinate AFRILINK’’s activities on the ground – – she has the right skills and experience for this role.
6. We have planned six small intimate activities over breakfast/lunch/dinner around our board members and their networks. Our youth entrepreneurs will tell their stories and answer questions.
These activities are designed to recruit more donors/investors, mentors and partners. Eva Ntalami will organize these activities that will lead to a major formal launch of AFRILINK Kenya in the Spring.
7. I have also hired one of the young entrepreneurs to serve as my assistant – – Josh Kabuage is only paid expenses on approved assignments completed
B. In the USA
1. Over in the US, Marissa Tuccelli has been handling our social media presence – – we are active on twitter and Facebook. She has put together GoFundMe campaign to raise $60,000. We would value your support as board members, of this campaign.
2. Pishposh owned by a young couple (Roy and Jennifer) based in Middletown RI manages our website.
3.Ken Gustavsen, a member of our leadership council, has connected AFRILINK to some promising leads.
4.Barrett Hazeltine, our most senior board member, connected AFRILINK to Jim Harmon and his foundation.
5. Emily Martin a part-time graduate student at RISD did excellent work on updating our website.
C. In Ghana
1. I have maintained contact with the board there through email.
2. Michelle Gittens and I are working to support a young entrepreneur with a Tilapia framing project.
Overall, although it has been a hectic year for me personally, I feel encouraged by the progress made – – I now appreciate that a new organization needs time to grow and succeed.
Thank you all for your support and kindness over these several months. I hoped you enjoyed the holidays with your friends and families.