Diamonds Do Good® Entrepreneurship Grant

The 2022 Diamonds Do Good® Entrepreneurship Grant focused on entrepreneurs from diamond-producing countries in Africa. A total of ten candidates won the Grant prize, ranging from USD 5,000 to USD 20,000. These winners are among the 350 Certified UPG Biashara Entrepreneurs, who were selected from a larger pool of 1400 applicants for the UPG Biashara Program.

2022 Highlights

Selection Process

20 candidates were chosen as FINALISTS based on their business idea and their impact on the community. These 20 finalists came from Botswana, DR Congo, Guinea, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

In the final stage of the Diamonds Do Good® Entrepreneurship Grant process, candidates had to go through a “Shark Tank“ type interview and present their business idea to the jury. Meet the jury members:

Nancy Orem Lyman

Vice-President, Executive Director of Diamonds Do Good®

Yemi Babington-Ashaye

President of United People Global

Catherine Sarr

Board member at Diamonds Do Good®.

Marcus ter Haar

Board member at Diamonds Do Good®.

Nicola Breytenbach-Steiner

Board member at Diamonds Do Good®.

Kevin Van Lancke

Founder and CEO of Sportswear of Tomorrow

Madison Harvey

Marketing Programs and Events Manager at Diamonds Do Good®.

Yann Buydens

Tech entrepreneur and CTO

Watch our Finalists Pitch their Business

Over the course of 6 days, our finalists participated in Shark Tank based interviews. Each finalist had 15 minutes to pitch their business or business idea, answer clarifying questions asked by the jury, and receive valuable feedback from the jury members.

Announcement of Winners

The Diamonds Do Good® Entrepreneurship GrantAnnouncement of Winners event was held online on 18 July 2022 and was attended by high-level international guests. The date was chosen deliberately for the historical connection between the great Nelson Mandela and Diamonds Do Good®. The event commemorated Nelson Mandela and his dedication to supporting youth and entrepreneurship. In tandem, the honorable first lady of Botswana Mrs. Neo Masisi shared her encouragement for entrepreneurship and appreciation for the impact of the Diamonds Do Good® Entrepreneurship Grant in the African communities through a video.

In total, there were 10 Diamonds Do Good® Entrepreneurship Grant winners from Botswana, Guinea, Zimbabwe, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Africa. There were two top grants of $20,000 and $10,000 in addition to eight $5,000 grants awarded.

The Top Grant prize of $20,000 was won by Mirriam Margret Mothibe from Botswana. Mirriam, a former marketing professional, is a founder of I 99 Farms – a business in the agricultural and poultry industry.

The next Top Grant prize of $10,000 was awarded to Guinean Social Entrepreneur Bangaly Bangoura, a founder and managing partner of the company Centre de lAgriculture Intégrée Moderne (CAIM), and president of the Network of Young Entrepreneurs of Guinea (REJEG).

Eight entrepreneurs won $5,000 each; among those are Lisa Von Benecke (South Africa), Pamela Buthelezi (South Africa), Kudakwashe Sanhanga (Zimbabwe), Lebogang Manson (Botswana), Mariatu Gbassay Kanu (Sierra Leone), Christelle Veringa (DR Congo), Tshireletso Seoromeng (Botswana), and Mohamed A Kamara (Sierra Leone).

Meet the Winner of $20,000

Mirriam Margret Mothibe

Mirriam Margret Mothibe is the Director of I 99 Farms and a certified UPG Biashara Entrepreneur.

She is also a marketing professional with 7 years of experience in the field.

Meet the Winner of $10,000

Bangaly Bangoura

Bangaly Bangoura, from Guinea, is the Founder and Managing Partner of Centre de lAgriculture Intégrée Moderne and is President of the Network of Young Entrepreneurs of Guinea.

Christelle Veringa

Christelle Veringa hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is the Founder of MannaLola. She believes that the grant will provide her with an opportunity to invest in the purchase of bee hives which will enable her to increase her production capacities and serve the growing demand locally and abroad.

Kudakwashe Sanhanga

Kudakwashe Sanhanga is from Zimbabwe and formed the Zimbabwe Young Artisanal Miners Association with the goal of running a self-sustainable social enterprise centered in the mining sector.

Lebogang Manson

Lebogang Manson is an excellence-driven, achievement-oriented, and passionate young woman who identifies as a leader and problem solver. She is the Founder of Cherished Kidz, a child transportation start-up in Botswana.

Lisa Von Benecke

Lisa is an electrical engineer with a passion for innovating for impact. She is the sole founder of a green technology startup called LC Dynamics, which aims to bridge the gap in accessing clean and affordable energy in South Africa through innovative products and data-driven systems.

Mariatu Gbassay Kanu

Mariatu Gbassay Kanu hails from Sierra Leone. She started her washable pad project, Shecures Sanitary Product, as a sustainable intervention in her community.

Mohamed A Kamara

Mohamed A Kamara is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Freetown Innovation Lab. He is an energetic Sierra Leonean passionate about making electricity accessible and affordable for everybody, especially for the far reached and deprived communities. He believes this grant is a step further toward his goal.

Pamela Buthelezi

Pamela Buthelezi is an awardwinning female tech entrepreneur from South Africa. She is a Director of Edipam Group and a Founder of Tag Your Delivery. With the Diamond Do Good® Entrepreneurship Grant, she plans to extend her market reach to the semi-rural market.

Tshireletso Seoromeng

Tshireletso Seoromeng is a Botswanian entrepreneur and the Founder of Erba Farm. In 2022, she was certified as a UPG Biashara Entrepreneur.

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Mirriam Margret Mothibe

She grew up in a rural settlement called Ranaka in Botswana in a family of farmers. As a young girl, she learned a variety of things about farming, fueling her passion and interest in agriculture.

Throughout college and graduate school, she studied Marketing, Public Relations, and Advertising. Still, she always focused on food security and a passion for contributing to feeding the nation, as well as youth and woman empowerment. Horticulture is her passion, and food security is her concern!

Bangaly Bangoura

Bangaly Bangoura (commonly called in his communityFoniké =Young) is the son of an agricultural engineer. He graduated in Sociology (Community Development and Sociology of Organizations) at the General Lansana CONTE University of Sonfonia – Conakry. Now, he is doing his Executive Master‘s in Leadership online at SWISS UMEF University in Geneva, Switzerland.

CAIM (Centre de lAgriculture Intégrée Moderne) is an integrated project whose mission is to plant various types of trees for reforestation, protect the environment and promote healthy agricultural products. In tandem, CAIM advises farmers and trains young people on the themes of the SDGs via local and international languages.

He also successfully received a grant from the RIO TINTO Foundation and the 2019 SADEN Distinction Award.

Christelle Veringa

Christelle Veringa created MannaLola with a mission. In 2018, she decided to reconcile the wealth of her countrys biodiversity with sustainable and equitable development by creating the MannaLola brand, which engages rural communities in the DRC in honey production. MannaLola offers 100% pure and authentic Congolese honey in different varieties and packaging options.

To control the value chain and ensure product quality, MannaLola has recently started to produce its own honey and work with a network of more than 400 smallholder farmers to create a valuable impact in their communities and environment through sustainable beekeeping activities.

Christelle believes it is an honor for her to be a part of the finalists of the Diamond Do Good® Entrepreneurship grant.

Kudakwashe Sanhanga

Kudakwashe Sanhanga was born in February 1992 in the beautiful city of Mutare. He holds a BSc degree in Economics and Management from Monash University and runs two companies, one in renewable energy and the other in mining industries.

He formed the Zimbabwe Young Artisanal Miners Association that formalizes mining operations for artisans and utilizes the proceeds of business towards self-sustainable community development. It takes place in the form of projects, scholarships, and civil-services support. The association aims to provide strategic solutions for individual communities and preserve their environment.

On their business frontier, they are progressing toward establishing themselves across the mining, processing & beneficiation value chain. The muchappreciated grant from Diamonds Do Good® will facilitate gold trading, complementing their mining activities by filling the gap between high-and-low velocity incomes.

Lebogang Manson

Although previously trained as an environmentalist, she holds a BA in Environmental Science degree from the University of Botswana and a MSc. in Biodiversity Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford. She pivoted to entrepreneurship over time, earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Botswana and has completed several entrepreneurship development programs, including UPG Biashara Entrepreneurship Program.

Her startup, Cherished Kidz, was announced as one of the Diamond Do Good® Entrepreneurship Grant recipients. Cherished Kidz is a child transportation start-up that Lebogang promises will be known as the safest, most reliable, and responsible way to transport children in Africa. The grant will be used to purchase an additional vehicle for the business, resulting in the current profit margins doubling in the next 12 months.

Lisa Von Benecke

LC Dynamics provides two novel products to make green energy more accessible to customers: solar PV window blinds and a web-based API and platform that allows customers to complete an easy, visual, and data-driven energy assessment linking them to products and suppliers that can meet their energy needs.

Lisa thinks the Diamonds Do Good® Entrepreneurship Grant is a great initiative and is honored to be supported by them. She believes the grant funding will enable her to test her products with the market and grow to the next phase of her startup journey.

Mariatu Gbassay Kanu

Mariatu Gbassay Kanu was born in Sierra Leone to an extended family with 5 step grandmothers and a father of three wives. Traditionally, in her family, education is viewed as unimportant for girls who should only learn Arabic and do house chores as these are the requirements for womanhood. Meanwhile, boys around her were given the opportunity to go to school.

As a result, education became a complex topic in her family. At the age of 9, she cried to join others in school when her grandfather was not around. But once he came to know this, she was punished. With this instilled fear, no girl in her family was eager to go to school until after his death, when a few of them took up the challenge. She returned to school and pushed herself toward success. Her aunt saw her passion and academic excellence and sponsored her to continue her education. However, she was forced to be a medical student against her interests.

Out of the extended family, she emerged as the first to graduate from a university! With this in mind, since childhood, she knew girls deserve better and need an amplified voice like hers to motivate them. With experience, she realized that most girls coming to the adolescent-friendly centers do not know about menstrual hygiene. She started joining more sensitization sessions in schools, where her passion grew stronger. After graduating with a Higher National Diploma In Community Health and Clinical Science, she decided to chase her dream of ending period poverty, which is how she started her washable pad project as a sustainable intervention.

Mohamed A Kamara

Mohamed A Kamara is a Master of Philosophy student at the University of Sierra Leone. He is passionate about making electricity accessible and affordable for everybody, especially for the far-reached and deprived communities, through which he aims to empower youths and women with a focus on Energy and Entrepreneurship Development. Mohamed researches alternative ways to provide electricity for less privileged Sierra Leoneans using recycled material. His passion is developing small-scale renewable energy systems to provide electricity for the less privileged to have access to lasting and sustainable electricity.

Mohamed A Kamara is an Award-Winner of the Africa Youth ICON Award organized by 3D Africa. He is a nominee for the 2022 Africa Genius Award and also Forbes 30 Under 30. Mohamed is an Africa Fellowship for young Energy Leaders, an award winner for Leaders of the Young African Leadership Initiative Programme Accra Ghana, and a Tony Elumelu Foundation-GIZ Entrepreneur. In 2017, he was the United National Development Programme‘s (UNDP) Youth Innovator of the year. Mohamed is celebrated as one of the Under 30 CEOs in Sierra Leone and is the 2019 Life By Design Innovator of the year.

Pamela Buthelezi

Pamela Buthelezi is currently pursuing her teaching profession with the University of South Africa (UNISA). Having worked previously as a primary school teacher, she has developed a passion for uplifting her communities through technology and innovation. She founded the Tag Your Delivery app that creates new opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially those based in townships, to sell their products online and provide a door delivery solution to their customers.

Her work has not gone unnoticed. In 2021, she won the Shoprite hustle competition and the Moses Kotane Innovation award under the ICT category. Winning the $5,000 Diamond Do Good® Entrepreneurship Grant came at an opportune time to boost the semi-rural market reach. She aims to bridge the digital gap and uplift the semi-rural communities to embrace online technology.

Tshireletso Seoromeng

The Botswana Womens Awards awarded Tshireletso the Young Woman of the Year 2022. She has completed her Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply Chain (CIPS UK). Moreover, she holds numerous certificates, which she attained through the Digital School of Food and Agriculture. In 2021 she was admitted into the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme Alumni Network.

Erba Farm was established in 2018. It produces culinary herbs, which are a healthier alternative to spices. Erba Farm grows herbs such as mint, parsley, rosemary, rocket, coriander, fennel, oregano, etc.