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Dont miss out on Kilimoguru Roots!! 2021-11-02

 By Edwin Khakali


e are all dreamers but I’d like to call ourselves daydreamers because we dream with our eyes wide open. I also like to think of ourselves as people who take massive action to turn these dreams into reality. This is a short story of the doers, those who take action. And lots of it for that matter.

I’m sure you must be wondering (or maybe not), what makes us tick, what makes us wake up every morning and brave the odds. This is a scoop never heard/seen before, and you have the opportunity to hear from us firsthand. While you might have heard about Kilimoguru Ltd., you might also be wondering, where are our roots? How did Kilimoguru come into existence? What have we been doing to reach this stage? I have all the answers.

Whenever you get a sit-down or bump into our CEO, Mr. Evans Muriki, he’s always eager to passionately share about the company’s journey. It has been one of many trial and errors, learning, unlearning, and relearning. But most importantly, one of resilience, persistence, massive action, drive, vision, and ruthless focus.

While students at Moi University, our outgoing nature got us into the prestigious Hult Prize global competition, founded by Ahmad Ashkar. The annual year-long competition challenges college students to solve a pressing social issue around topics such as food security, water access, energy, and education. Its mission is to empower the youth to make a positive impact on the world. Competing at the Hult Prize competition was what really put us in motion. Being in a space where like-minded young individuals were making things happen in their countries was both an eye-opener and a doorway to a new reality. And in the words of our CEO, it was “time to soar.”

Kilimoguru was initially an idea that sought to bridge the gap between producers of food and the market. We developed an app that would facilitate this by linking farmers to the market and helping them cut costs and reduce losses. In 2019, when it was incorporated into a company, we partnered with Moi University students in an organization called Enactus. Their project sought to empower women in Uasin Gishu County by disseminating mushroom production skills. Kilimoguru came in to help automate the mushroom houses to monitor temperature and moisture levels. This was to facilitate an optimum mushroom growing environment that would help double the yields and prevent losses. It was an amazing opportunity to work with students who were as passionate about agriculture as we were. This relationship proved to be mutually beneficial in the company’s next steps.

While our Hult Prize competition journey ended at the regional level, our dreams did not die there. We went back to the basics and through iteration on product development, we tweaked our idea a little bit. We leveraged insights from the competition, working with Enactus students, and farmers in Uasin Gishu County to improve our idea. This led to a slight change in our business model, one based on comprehensive market research and learnings.

Through the human-centered design approach, we sort to work with small-scale commercial farmers with a focus on precision farming. Our services shifted from linking farmers to the market to helping them double their crop production by monitoring their farm conditions and offering soil testing services. This means that once our K-guru, IoT devices are installed on a farm, we are able to collect data, analyze it, and send the farmer real-time farm insights/recommendations/corrective actions to take on his farm at the comfort of their mobile phone.

As our business model took shape, we competed against other startups and were accepted into the E4Impact Accelerator startup program for a one year business mentorship and coaching to help build and grow the business. The program ends in December 2021. At the same time, we were successful applicants of the Mbele na Biz Business Plan competition by the government of Kenya, winning a grant of Kshs. 0.9 million. These funds are being channeled into R&D and scaling up the business.

For Kilimoguru, this is only the beginning, we have an exciting journey ahead of us and we are not leaving behind any small-scale commercial farmer. We are harnessing the potential of new technology to help spur productivity, increase profits and improve the livelihoods of many Kenyans. We want to create jobs and make sure you have healthy food on your table.

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Kilimo Guru Ltd., Uganda road, Eldoret

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