Former Impala Saracens and Kenya Sevens player Ian Minjire has been named on the Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, making the cut in the finance category of the magazine’s European list for 2021.
Minjire, now in Germany on a sports scholarship and playing his rugby at SC 1880 Frankfurt, was recognised by the US publication alongside Melanie Keita with whom he cofounded Melanin Kapital; an initiative which enables African startups to collaborate with European companies.
They are considered top 30 among the list of Europe’s financial talent that is setting out to shape the financial industry of the future.
“Feeling absolutely blessed, truly humbled and honoured to be part of Forbes 30 under 30 Europe 2021. The journey has been long and tough, but worth it!
“As an athlete, passion and talent are not enough if there is no food on the table at home. I have been lucky to get access to finance through scholarships and fundraising through mentors,” Minjire, who is based in Frankfurt, told Citizen TV.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced countries into lockdowns and halted global sport in 2020, it meant Minjire was unable to train with SC 1880 Frankfurt – the team which he had helped steer to their third Rugby-Bundesliga title the previous year.
That allowed him and Keita time and incentive to tap into their creative tanks and draw ideas that would establish Melanin Kapital.
“Frankfurt being a financial hub and through discussions with my cofounder, I opened up my mind to networks and ideas on sustainability and social enterprise that would be the dream of a serial entrepreneur like me in Africa.
“As an engineer and social entrepreneur, the lack of support from an ecosystem has made it a challenge for me and my fellow African entrepreneurs to scale up businesses that transform the community.
“As a Kenyan and African in Germany, I am grateful to represent my people, share knowledge of the struggle and build a bridge to Africa by harnessing the power of finance,” the 28-year-old said.
The 30 under 30 lists are issued annually by Forbes, compiling 30 of the most influential people under 30 across 10 categories – including art and culture, manufacturing and industry and science and healthcare.
The Kenya Rugby Union Board congratulates Minjire for his recognition and achievement.
-with additional information from Citizen TV