Mozilla Corporation, the makers of the Firefox browser, through its inaugural Mradi Africa Innovation Challenge has granted Ksh 13 million to Kenya’s Getpayd, Deaf Elimu and Hali Halisi, and three student innovators: Classify Me, Audred and Mama Pesa.
Apart from the grants amounting to Ksh. 13 million, the startups will also get technical assistance to further develop their products and position themselves in the market. Mradi Africa is designed to identify African tech entrepreneurs/startups and tech students who can benefit from an acceleration programme that will provide; technical support, access to grants and ultimately, market access for their products. The initiative is designed to promote innovation led by and grounded in the unique needs of users on the African continent.
“From 2015 Mozilla has distributed over $20 million through fellowships and awards to support individual and collective actions that nurture unique innovations that benefit communities”, Said Mitchell Baker, CEO and Chairwoman of Mozilla Corporation.
Mozilla Africa Mradi is expected to invest over Sh40.8 million into Kenyan tech start-ups. The initiative is part of the Africa Mradi which aims to leverage Mozilla’s role as stewards of the open web to promote models of innovation that are grounded in the unique needs of users in the African continent. Through the Innovation Challenge, Mozilla seeks to support this ecosystem to ensure that youth innovators across Kenya have access to information and knowledge needed to establish and run profitable startups.
The challenge was hosted in collaboration with Nairobi City County Government (NCCG) hosted at the Arboretum Park in Nairobi. Nairobi City County Government is working with Mozilla Africa Mradi to ensure that tech start-ups and innovators get access to grants and are enabled to access venture capital investments locally and globally.
“Nairobi City County Government will be working with Mozilla Africa Mradi in two key areas; in conducting a situation analysis of all our tech-start-ups and to build capacity of tech innovators in Nairobi City County so as to ensure they have equal opportunities and platforms to showcase their innovations, are exposed to how venture capital investments work and trained on startup accelerator opportunities available to them in Africa,” said Governor Johnson Sakaja during the challenges launch in May.
The Mozilla Africa Mradi Innovation Challenge was launched in Nairobi in May 2023 with a call to tech innovators in Africa to develop creative solutions for unique African needs. Mozilla’s Africa Mradi Innovation challenge is expected to identify and support Kenyan tech entrepreneurs/startups and students through technical support, access to grants and ultimately, market access for their products.
Mozilla also has another program dubbed the In Real Life (IRL) Fund which supports work led by not for profit organizations focused on and based in the African continent. IRL explores the intersection of social justice and technology, and is part of Mozilla’s African Innovation Mradi and designed to promote innovation led by and grounded in the unique needs of users on the African continent.
Through a variety of different grants ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 USD, the IRL Fund will identify and support African partners with emerging ideas, initiatives, projects and strategies that strengthen digital and human rights and impact their communities “In Real Life.”
The grants are targeted at organizations and collectives across the African continent, with a particular focus on Kenya and South Africa, who are working to fuel movements that advance digital and human rights, both on and offline.