THE LAUNCH OF KIEP- STRENGTHENING KENYA’S INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM (SKIES) SUBCOMPONENT AND CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
REPRESENTATIVES OF GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES, DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
THE WORLD BANK TEAM
PRIVATE SECTOR REPRESENTATIVES
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Kenya seeks to become a globally competitive and prosperous nation, offering a high quality of life to all its citizens. This vision is well articulated in Kenya's Vision 2030. The Government is implementing the Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda through the Fourth Medium Term Plan 2023 - 2027, where the Citizens have a greater chance to participate in the country’s economic activities
As we delve into the realm of Kenya's innovation landscape to drive the industrialization agenda, it's crucial to understand the vibrant role played by enterprise ecosystem intermediaries. The KIEP Project aims to increase innovation and productivity in select private sector firms, by strengthening intermediaries made up of incubators, accelerators, boot-camp providers and hubs; Tech skills students; Academia; start-ups; Corporates and SMEs through financial grants and technical assistance.
The Ecosystem Intermediaries bridge the gap between startups and their transformation into thriving industrial enterprises. As of now, Kenya boasts a burgeoning number of intermediaries with their number being at approximately 200 spread all over the country.
These Intermediaries incubate and accelerate enterprises engaged in various value chains such as leather, edible oil, textiles and apparel, tea, building & Construction materials, and pharmaceutical manufacturing which are the key priority areas for the State Department and are aligned with the Government’s Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Kenya is committed to nurturing innovation-driven economic development as a new frontier. We have witnessed the establishment of technology hubs, incubators, accelerators, and technology boot camp providers across the whole country in the last couple of years. These intermediaries serve as vital catalysts, offering business and industrial startups the necessary resources, mentorship, and guidance to navigate the complex journey of entrepreneurship and business development.
Considering the nascency of our ecosystem, these intermediaries grapple with numerous hurdles. First and foremost, financial sustainability poses a significant challenge. Many intermediaries rely on external funding sources, making long-term financial stability a pressing concern. The intermediary landscape is marked by a rapid change in technology trends, there is a need therefore, for continuous capacity building to ensure that the incubators and accelerators continually update their expertise to provide the most relevant and effective guidance to startups; and linking them with the appropriate markets, financial institutions, and venture capital for their quick scaling.
Today I am delighted to join you in launching the KIEP subcomponent on Strengthening Kenya’s Innovation Ecosystem dubbed, “SKIES”. The project will support the development and strengthening of incubators, accelerators, and tech-boot camp providers to be able to attain operational sustainability, expand into new markets, and offer high-quality incubation, tech-skills training and acceleration services.
This in turn will create a conducive environment for the initial growth of new and early-stage enterprises in various sectors through access to resources such as capital, co-working spaces, networking connections, and mentorship. New products and services will emerge from the incubated startups and businesses.
The acceleration interventions combined with high tech-skills development will put the startups on a scaling-up trajectory through a process of intense, rapid, and immersive education aimed at accelerating the lifecycle of young innovative companies, compressing years’ worth of learning by doing into just a few months or years.
The State Department will continue collaborating closely with National and County Government Agencies to contribute to the achievement of innovation-driven economic growth. Other Agencies/programs in the innovation ecosystem and with whom the project will work closely include Kenya National Innovation Agency, National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation, ICT Authority, Digital Literacy Program, and Youth Empowerment Program among others.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I conclude, the Country’s Economic Blueprint must be underpinned by a sound industrial policy to steer the country from the COVID-19 Pandemic effects, global supply shocks, and rising inflation. Programs on Industrial Research, Productivity, Skills Enhancement, and Innovation are paramount to building a resilient economy with the required structural transformation, technology & innovation, and firm-level support; in order to increase the overall country productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability.
I encourage incubators, accelerators, tech boot camp providers, and tech skills students to seize this opportunity presented by the KIEP project.
I wish to thank the teams from the Project Implementation Unit at the State Department for Industry, the World Bank, and the Management Firm for putting together this event and wish the entire team great success.
It is now my honor to officially Launch the KIEP Project Component on Strengthening Kenya’s Innovation Ecosystem (SKIES) and Call for Applications.
May God Bless You All, and Bless Kenya.