The Association of Startups and SME Enablers in Kenya (ASSEK) and the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) have signed an MoU to boost innovation and support startups in Kenya.
Starting with the Startup Bill, which is currently before the Senate, the two will use existing innovation platforms, conduct joint innovation initiatives, and jointly fight for the development of innovation legislation.
ASSEK will use its membership network and partnerships to achieve the MoU’s objectives, while KoTDA will provide infrastructure and international linkages.
Speaking on the partnership at Konza Technopolis, Eng. John Tanui, Chief Executive Officer of KoTDA lauded the engagement, terming it as a key move to supporting Kenyan startups, innovation policy development and the innovation ecosystem in the country.
“Today, we have signed an engagement to ensure that we support startups by enabling them to scale to the next level because we see startups as a solution to some of our national challenges. These startups will also create opportunities for our young people and grow our country’s economy. We are looking forward to making this engagement a success.” said Eng. Tanui.
Eng. John Tanui stated that the partnership with ASSEK will also aim to tap into worldwide networks in order to strengthen ties with Kenyan startups while also allowing investors to take advantage of Konza’s investment potential.
Konza Technopolis is a member of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization with a global network of over 350 science parks whose main goal is to organize an active network of professionals who manage areas of innovation.
The engagement, according to Mercy Kimalat, CEO of ASSEK, provides an opportunity to collaborate on various initiatives to ensure that Kenya has a favorable climate for the innovation ecosystem.
“We have discussed how we can work together and one of the things we have singled out is the Startup Bill since we recognize that policy is one of the key pillars to build this ecosystem as well as attracting investors,” she said.
While lauding the progress of Konza project and the opportunities available for SMEs, Ms. Kimalat noted that the association is keen to tap into the opportunities and innovation environment at Konza Technopolis.
“One of the key things we have identified in working with startups is the challenge of unfavorable environment for them to actualize their ideas for commercialization. One of the areas we have identified at Konza is a conducive infrastructure, environment and other investment opportunities. SMEs have opportunities to set up industries and working space considering the strategic location of Konza Technopolis,” she added.
Ms. Kimalat noted that the engagement with Konza will also enhance research and utilize available resources to make the engagement fruitful
Konza Technopolis has previously collaborated with organizations such as the Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs (ACIH). The Authority’s engagement with ASSEK is in addition to other engagements it has with other partners for its development.
ASSEK seeks to show actors in Kenya’s startup and SME enabling ecosystem, as well as actively promote networking among its members in the interest of Kenya’s long-term economic growth.