Winning teams receive cash grants to help grow their businesses, hire staff, and/or purchase raw materials and equipment.
Support & Community
Winners receive ongoing support to help them overcome the challenges of growing a business.
What to expect when applying
The competition process takes 3-4 months, from initial applications to the award ceremony. Teams must be prepared to go through three rounds of competition, and work with their mentors on a weekly basis.
Teams already operating a business
Teams starting with an idea
March - May 2021
September - November 2021
April 30, 2021
Applications open July 2021
NUMBER OF PRIZES
$4,000 for each winner
$6,000 for each winner
Apply as a new or existing business
We accept early stage teams with only an idea, as well as more established teams already operating small businesses.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will the application for the Winter 2021 Edition open up?
Applications for the Winter edition will open at the end of July 2021. If you would like to be notified when applications open, register your email here.
Who can apply?
Anyone aged between 18 and 28 in East Africa can now apply for the competition.
How do I apply?
To apply for the Give Work Challenge, please follow this link to complete the application form.
It typically takes 10-40 hours to complete the application materials, so we suggest starting your application well ahead of the deadline.
Do I need to have a partner to apply?
Business partners allow you to have a broader perspective and strategy for your venture. It is always great to share the weight of decisions with someone else. We encourage you to have at least one partner, although this is not a mandatory requirement.
Where will the final take place?
Due to the Pandemic, the Finals are now virtual, and participants pitch from a virtual studio in their location.
What does the jury look for?
There are 3 rounds of judging throughout the competition, and there is a scoring rubric for each round. Please read through our Resource Guide to better understand the requirements.
Will the Leila Janah Foundation be shareholders in my business?
No, the LJF does not take any stake in your business. We provide cash grants and mentorship, but do not acquire equity in your company.
Is the Give Work Challenge for social businesses only?
The GWC challenge is open to all businesses that operate on green business practices. Your business does not need to have a specific social impact component, but we tend not to fund businesses that have a negative social or environmental impact. For example, we would not fund businesses that rely on significant deforestation as a core component of their business.
What is the difference between the Winter and Spring Edition?
The Winter Edition is for new businesses that are just starting out, and have either not earned any money yet, or have been earning for less than 6 months. The Spring Edition is for existing businesses that have already been in business for at least 6 months, and are looking to expand their operations.
Do all applicants receive mentorship?
Mentorship is a key component of the Give Work Challenge, and is required of all teams. Teams are paired with a mentor after progressing into the second round, and are expected to have regular virtual meetings with their mentor as they progress. There are additional mentorship opportunities after the competition concludes, although participating in this additional mentorship is not required.
How many times can I apply for the Give Work Challenge?
You may apply for the Give Work Challenge once per year, for as many years as you like. Please do not submit more than one application each year.
JULY - SEPTEMBER
Applications open for new businesses
Round 1 jury scoring
Round 2 scoring & finalist announcement
Give Work Challenge finale
Winter 2021 Cohort Timeline
CHECK BACK SOON
Apply now to the Winter Cohort
Applications open in July 2021, check back here for the application form.
Get updates about future competitions
Sign up to receive news about applications opening up, deadlines for submissions, and other updates related to applying to the Give Work Challenge.
Apply to the Give Work Challenge
Applications for the Winter 2021 Give Work Challenge are opening in July 2021.
Get funding to start or grow your business
The Give Work Challenge helps entrepreneurs in Kenya and Uganda start and grow businesses.
Teams go through a 3-month process to improve their business plans, and then pitch their ideas to an expert panel. Three winning teams receive $4,000 - $6,000 cash grants.
Work with experienced mentors
Each team is paired with an expert mentor for 3-months leading up to pitch day.
During this period, mentors challenge teams to improve their business models and create a foundation for long-term success.