November 30, 2020

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Building startup database to help pilot solutions, PS Ochieng says

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ICT and Innovation Principal Secretary Jerome Ochieng has said establishment of a government startup database could be the key to taking the solutions to a pilot stage by various state agencies.

According to PS Ochieng, this will help some of the startups access funding to scale up and become formidable enterprises.

While addressing the participants during this year’s Lake Basin Innovation and Investment Week (LBIIW) held virtually, PS Ochieng noted that that the success rate of a startup working with the government is relatively higher compared to those that are not unknown.

This comes as the government increase resources to establish innovation hubs in constituencies to tap innovators across the country.

“Once a government comes as a first client in any innovation approach, there is a likelihood of quick growth compared to a startup working alone. The point of interaction between innovators and the government makes it easier for these solutions to be supported and piloted in various government entities,” said PS Ochieng.

Many start-ups have opted to incubate their solutions at various hubs run either privately, by institutions of higher learning or those run through collaboration with venture capitalists.

“Personally, I have been receiving requests from many people who want to get helped with their start-ups. If we streamline the way innovators engage the government, that would be a very good start point. It will also increase the transparency, hence building a fairly competitive environment for all,” he added.

On his part, Prof. Nyong’o urged innovators to work towards developing best solutions that can be adopted globally.

He pointed out that collaborations, training of innovators and exposure of their solutions to the international market will increase the competitiveness of their innovations.

Konza Technopolis Development Authority CEO, Eng. John Tanui indicated that through Konza, the government has put in place key measures that give priority to innovators.

“The home of the Silicon Savanna is taking shape and in the coming days, we are going to be stationing new start-ups in our headquarters for more opportunities. We have put in place elaborate measures so that other innovators can also learn and interact with both government and foreign entities on innovation,” he said.

He revealed that KoTDA is working with about 15 innovators to develop solutions geared towards establishing their presence at Konza Technopolis and also accelerate their growth from normal startups to national innovation firms.

The CEO added that apart from hosting the National Data Centre, KoTDA is also working to establish the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), which will be instrumental in supporting innovation hubs in Kenya.

Eng. Tanui also indicated that an open forum by national and county government together with the innovators will increase opportunities in all areas, in the process building solutions that will create more job opportunities for the youth.

The Lake Region Innovation and Investment Week (LBIIW) has brought together entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, policymakers, government, development agencies and other ecosystem players who hold conversations that spur economic growth of the Lake Victoria Basin, through innovative business models, digitization, SME financing and local manufacturing.

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