RESILIENCE

Kenyan startups raise Sh21billion funding in 2020

Startup growth is expected to double in 2021

In Summary
  • This is attributed to a socio-professional environment conducive to work and investment.
  • Frank Mwakitakula, one of the founders of Arigiene Kenya benefitted from a Sh300,000 grant, which  really supported his business during the pandemic.
Kenya's new bank notes.
Kenya's new bank notes.
Image: ENOS TECHE

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Kenyan tech startups still managed to raise Sh21.4 billion in funding in 2020, taking top spot in the continent.

This is according to Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs (ACIH) Kenya Chairman who attributes this to a socio-professional environment conducive to work and investment.

Frank Mwakitakula, one of the founders of Arigiene Kenya benefitted from a Sh300,000 grant from Konza Technopolis, which he says really supported his business during the pandemic.

“My business had just started in February 2020 before the pandemic struck, getting the funding really supported me in completeing the setup,” said Mwakitakula.

He said the funding helped him to get various business permits and also getting manufacturing systems and raw materials to produce the products for his business.

For Gerrase Wakoli, he got a Sh700,000 grant for his business , Zinake, which is a platform that helps connect workers in various occupations to clients.

“Initially funding for the business was quite tight as it was just from my pocket, but after this funding atleast now I have consistent customers and my business was able to withstand effects of the Covid-19 pandemic , we didn't shut down,” said Wakoli.

Speaking during the sidelines of The Great Covid-19 Innovation Challenge Demo Day, ACIH Chairman David Ogiga said though the past year was tough, a lot of Kenyans showed creativity in birthing new ideas that are solving local problems.

He says going forward; startup growth is expected to double in 2021.

Mentorship is what is needed to accelerate the growth of Startups in Kenya. With continued support from our partners, we will continue offering mentorship and linkages to the industry, networks that will enable these innovators scale,” he said.

Walid Badawi, the UNDP Resident Representative in Kenya, while acknowledging the role of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship in post Covid reconstruction, urged everyone to look to the future to build forward better from covid 19.

“Let’s continue building with the same spirit of entrepreneurship, of energy, of optimism and of hope for a brighter future for it is such types of innovations as witnessed today that will be tomorrow’s currency of economic growth and prosperity for the young people of Kenya,” added Badawi.

The CEO, Konza Technopolis, John Tanui, highlighted the importance of Konza towards positioning Kenya as a global hub for innovation and technology. that with support from the government Konza

“With the support of the Government, Konza will be an excellent location with world class infrastructure plus smart city components…building Innovations and knowledge economy, this will be our focus going forward,” he noted.