African entrepreneurship is certainly on the rise and a Kenyan start-up, Enda (Enda means “go” in Swahili) has designed and developed world-class running shoes, which are inspired by the country imponderable greatness in running.
Kenya is known around the world for producing the best runners and its athletes have dominated world athletics for decades, winning medals, breaking and setting world records in the process.
The country’s athletes are sponsored and have endorsements from major sporting companies, and the runners sport recognisable global sporting brands. Despite such seemingly daunting competition from big corporations who sponsor athletes, Enda Athletic is working on an idea to make a truly Kenyan high-performance running shoe, which runners can be proud to wear.
The enterprise is a brainchild of two social entrepreneurs whose aim is to produce high quality running shoes, which will be made largely in Kenya. The entrepreneurs, Navalayo Osembo-Ombati (who hails from a village near Eldoret), and Weldon Kennedy envisage “creating the first world-class Kenyan running shoes based on the advice, skills, and experiences of great Kenyan athletes”.
To finance production of the shoes, which is set to begin later this year, the entrepreneurs started a campaign on the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to raise $75 000. The campaign has since surpassed the target capital with $112,968 having been pledged (as of June 23).
According to Enda, the early stages of production will involve sourcing the component pieces from Asia, and the long term goal is to procure all components of Enda shoes in Kenya and produce the shoes locally.
In creating Enda Iten, the start-up’s first running shoe, for the past 18 months, the entrepreneurs have been working with talented and experienced shoe designers, developers, and professional runners to create the ultimate running shoe.
The entrepreneurs have roped in Steve Burris, who was part of the development team at Nike’s Exeter, NH R&D facility in the late 1970’s and also engaged Birdhaus Design, a studio which has worked with Under Armour, Keen and Reebok.
We certainly hope Kenyan athletes will be rocking Enda Iten in the foreseeable future.