Enda (meaning “go” in Swahili) is branding itself “The First Kenyan Running Shoe”. The startup enterprise, headed by Kenyan entrepreneur Navalayo Osembo-Ombati and social-change campaigner Weldon Kennedy, is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to create its first line of trainers called the Enda Iten. The shoe’s design and performance are inspired by a legacy of Kenyan running that has produced some of the world’s best athletes but the driving force behind the campaign is social impact in Kenya.
Enda Iten, named after a small town in Kenya with a reputation for producing running champions, has been a year-long project of development and testing. The result is a lightweight running shoe, classed in between a trainer and running flat, and based on the technique and experience of Kenyan runners.
Design elements of the shoe have been drawn from Kenyan heritage including the colour, spear tip logo and patterning. The Kenyan philosophy harambee (meaning “all pull together’) is also featured under the sole and the number twelve, which marks the country’s Republic Day, is represented with 12 lines on the lateral side of the shoe.
Because none of the production equipment is available locally, the enterprise has to source components from facilities in China, which are then sent to Kenya. However, its long term goal is to have the parts manufactured, packaged and exported from Kenya. This objective is integral to its social impact plan, devised with the help of social impact consultants Global & Smart.
If Enda’s production facilities were to be set up in Kenya, it would create job opportunities for locals. In addition to this, the startup have pledged to establish a support system for Kenyan communities by using a portion of its profits to support a local every six months. This could help address many of the sanitation, clean water, health care and education issues that many Kenyans face today.