Today marks our 2-year anniversary. Two years ago, exactly to this day, we incorporated as a Canadian non-profit organization with a desire to drive lasting change through microfinance and mentorship. It’s definitely cause for celebration!
It all started with a journey to Kenya that made us realize the challenges faced by Kenyan entrepreneurs. Upon our return, we contacted Declan (read about his perspectives), our now Kenya Country Director, to see if he wanted to join our entrepreneurial project. With his support, we soon after made our first loans. Mkono was officially launched.
Like many organizations, it started small. And there were many questions to answer. How will we maintain good repayment rates? How can we ensure the sustainability of our organization while keeping our services affordable? How will we establish trusted relationships with our partner organizations in Kenya?
We realized we could answer a lot of those questions by harnessing the power of global collaboration. Since launching, we have grown our team to 35 volunteers who come from over 10 different countries. They have diverse backgrounds and experiences, ranging from consulting, finance, accounting, legal, marketing, technology, product management, entrepreneurship, and more. They are highly qualified individuals whose contributions to Mkono continue to be critical to our success (read about our volunteer network).
Together, we have been able to achieve milestones that we, as co-founders, did not expect when we started Mkono. We are proud to now have supported 40 entrepreneurs in two years with CAD $27K in loans and 58 mentorship sessions. We are also thankful to the hundreds of individual donors who have trusted us with their donations.
While we strongly believed in the potential for Mkono to achieve a social impact, it's always great to get confirmation. We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our entrepreneurs, both anecdotally, as exemplified by stories from Ann (read her story) and Lornah (read our impact update), and systematically, as showcased by our 81 NPS score.
Getting Mkono started has been challenging at times. One of those challenges was the COVID-19 pandemic, which required quick adjustments to continue lending a helping hand to entrepreneurs. What kept us going is a collective desire to achieve lasting changes by helping high-potential entrepreneurs. Connecting with and learning from entrepreneurs in Kenya or with our volunteers has given us the inspiration to move forward.
The power of Mkono isn’t solely in the allocation of capital. It’s primarily about the global community of people that come together to share their perspective and support each other.
Building Mkono has been a fun ride. Looking ahead, we want to continue growing our loan portfolio and number of mentorship sessions, and build internal tools to streamline our operations. We are enhancing our branding to most effectively communicate our mission through various channels, and solidifying our fundraising strategies, amongst many other initiatives.
First and foremost, we will continue to focus on what makes Mkono so special: a global community that comes together to drive lasting change.
Happy two years!
Anne-Sophie, Olivier, Anthony