Harambe: Mobilizing Capital in Africa
Harambe was a non-profit organization whose mission was to build an ecosystem to identify promising young African entrepreneurs and provide them access to training, markets, capital, and support networks. From 2007 to 2021, Harambe had grown to a network of 367 entrepreneurs, known as "Harambeans". They had collectively raised over $800 million in capital, created more than 3,500 jobs, and claimed three of the six African startup unicorns in 2021. There was mounting pressure for Harambe to evolve to take advantage of its momentum, the changing entrepreneurship landscape in Africa, and increasing investor interest. Given this, Okendo Lewis-Gayle, founder and chairman, pondered the next steps for Harambe to maximize its impact in Africa. He considered three options: scale the current non-profit model, pivot to a for-profit venture capital model, or develop a hybrid model with a non-profit and a for-profit investment arm. Another important question was, "How should Harambe define impact?"