Boost for Kenyan innovators, start-ups
The Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) is rolling out an initiative aimed at exposing Kenyan innovators and start-ups to the world’s best technological firms and investors.
This is through a three-month Enterprise Innovation Challenge that seeks to harness the innovative space for “techies” and start-ups to commercialize their ideas.
KoTDA Chief Executive Officer Eng. John Tanui says the challenge is part of the initiatives to build a thriving innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
“The softer elements of building a knowledge-based economy and innovation is yet to be fully exploited; this challenge is the beginning of our initiatives that will result in building a vibrant innovation pipeline,” he noted.
To roll out the challenge, the Konza Technopolis Development Authority has partnered with Intellecap through its Sankalp Africa Summit with the aim of targeting innovations that already have a proof of concept and are ready to commercialize.
The challenge dubbed Konza Innovation Challenge targets applicants from learning institutions, startups and enterprises in Kenya in three clusters namely Information Communication Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (ICT/ITES), Engineering and Life Sciences.
“Competitions are an important avenue for building thriving innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem that will result in job creation and new enterprises. It also provides a platform to showcase unique ideas and stimulate the innovation ecosystem that Konza is keen to build,” said the KoTDA CEO.
Successful innovators will benefit from an advisory boot camp as well being linked to accelerator programs exposing them to the working environment of partner smart cities, science parks and areas of innovation as well as innovation hubs. Among them is Tel Aviv Global of KoTDA have an MOU and the International Association of Science Parks and areas of innovation which KoTDA recently became an affiliate member.
Eng. Tanui says by carrying out an enterprise innovation challenge, KoTDA seeks to support the innovations that are ripe in Kenya.
KoTDA has made progress with the development of infrastructure setting the pace for private sector to take up space at the Technopolis.
“As a Vision 2030 project we have a mandate of positioning Kenya as knowledge based economy and a preferred Science Technology and Innovation destination. To achieve this, we are launching the Konza Enterprise Challenge Program, which will offer a platform for innovators to showcase unique ideas and stimulate the innovation ecosystem with the aim of creating jobs and new enterprises,” said Eng. Tanui.
At the 2017 Sankalp Africa Summit, Konza Technopolis Authority will kick off its enterprise program for local innovative technology solutions to foster visibility, partnerships, and collaborations and increase investments for local innovators, through a panel session, workshops and exhibition. The Authority will after the summit in collaboration with Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I3N) and Startup Wave, run an enterprise advisory boot camp which will help innovators and start ups understand the investor landscape and build their entrepreneurial skills.
Sankalp Africa Summit, an initiative of Intellecap, a global investment and advisory firm, is scheduled to host its 4th edition on February 23rd and 24th, 2017 at the Kenya School of Monitory Studies, Nairobi. The Summit has soon grown to become one of the largest regional platforms for entrepreneurship and innovation bringing together diverse global actors including investors, corporations, DFIs and Foundations.