• The project aims to benefit 20 beneficiaries for track one and 16 beneficiaries for track two, along with 532 students who will receive scholarships for rapid tech skills training.
• The mentorship program will be implemented in two tracks
The government has partnered with World Bank to invite applications from accelerators, incubators and tech-bootcamp providers for possible funding and business mentorship.
The partnership, through the Strengthening Kenya’s Innovation Ecosystem (Skies), aims to benefit intermediaries that incubate and accelerate enterprises engaged in various value chains.
These include crops such as edible oils, rice, tea and coffee, garments and textiles, industrial production, such as building materials and pharmaceuticals, leather as well as livestock, which include dairy and pastoralism economy.
SKIES is a sub-component of the Sh5 billion Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (Kiep) funded by the World Bank Group and implemented by the Trade ministry.
Speaking during the event, Industry PS Juma Mukhwana said enterprise ecosystem intermediaries are key priority areas as they play a vital role.
He said this should be well understood if Kenya is to nurture a robust startup enterprise ecosystem.
“Accelerators, incubators and tech bootcamp providers bridge the gap between startups and their transformation into thriving enterprises,” Mukhwana said.
“As of now, Kenya boasts of a burgeoning number of these intermediaries, with their number being at about 200 spread all over the country. They are actively contributing to the growth of our innovation ecosystem.”
Mukhwana said the Kenyan entrepreneurship ecosystem has witnessed the emergence of numerous business incubators and accelerator initiatives mainly focused on ICT enterprises.
While this growth has seen the flourishing of tech startup support networks, he said, it has also presented both advantages and challenges for these institutions.
David Cheboryot, E4Impact Foundation representative and one of the directors of the management firm, unveiled the initiative.
He said Skies will be working on three critical pillars of transformation.
This, Cheboryot added, will be done through building intermediary capacity, empowering tech education and fostering an environment of collaboration, where intermediaries join hands to enhance startup support and share best practices and ecosystem learnings.
“Among the startup challenges identified are funding gaps (particularly in follow-up funding), policy fluctuations and regulatory adjustments,” Cheboryot said.
“The protracted process of business registration, especially in some counties yet to streamline their procedures, remains a significant impediment.”
“Lack of a uniformed platform to oversee the startup ecosystem has also given rise to issues such as innovation duplication."
"Others include the absence of a national opportunity repository, lack of standardised best practices, information imbalances leading to 'grantpreneurs' and intermediaries lacking commitment to excellence.”
The mentorship programme will be implemented in two tracks.
The first track will accommodate incubators and accelerators, where successful applicants will receive financial grants based on individual improvement plans.
The second track will comprise technology boot camp providers and Rapid Tech Skills students.
Boot camp providers will be supported through grants for scaling, while the students will receive subsidies to cover their tuition fees.
The project aims to benefit 20 beneficiaries for track one and 16 beneficiaries for track two, along with 532 students who will receive scholarships for rapid tech skills training.