The Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) is set to launch the prestigious Presidential Innovation Award (PIA), aimed at promoting and rewarding the exceptional contributions of innovative minds in Kenya.
“This initiative, which falls under the Talanta Hela program by the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the Arts, and Sports, strives to nurture entrepreneurial skills among the nation’s innovators while recognizing their valuable work,” stated the awards official website.
The PIA, with its primary objective of spurring socio-economic development through innovation, seeks to identify, showcase, and support groundbreaking projects within the key priority sectors outlined by the National Government.
These sectors include Food Security and Agriculture, Digital Transformation, Healthcare, Entertainment and Gaming, and Climate Action and Green Energy.
Launching in the coming five days, the PIA follows a meticulously planned timeline, encompassing several crucial stages.
The process commences with Online Submissions from August to September 2023, followed by the Judging phase in October 2023.
The finalists will then engage in Final Pitching at the Kenya Innovation Week (KIW) in November 2023, with the culminating Celebration set for Jamhuri Day on December 12, 2023.
Subsequently, the Accelerator Programme is scheduled from January to March 2024, followed by Graduation and Partner Linkages in April 2024.
KeNIA has laid out comprehensive eligibility criteria for aspiring innovators and startups, stipulating that the founders must be Kenyan citizens, aged between 18 to 35 (with an exception for Persons with Disabilities, aged between 18 to 40).
Additionally, the startup must be legally registered in Kenya and possess a clear understanding of its target market, along with a strategy for customer acquisition and retention.
Notably, applicants must have developed a minimum viable product that has been successfully tested and piloted.
Among the rewards for winners are the opportunity to receive cash awards, participation in the Presidential Accelerator Programme, and the chance to showcase their innovations at the upcoming Kenya Innovation Week: Commonwealth Edition.
The awards structure includes the Overall Winner, 1st Runner-Up, and 2nd Runner-Up, each of whom will enjoy the privileges associated with their respective ranks.
Furthermore, top innovators per county will also be recognized and offered the opportunity to undergo the esteemed Presidential Innovation Accelerator Programme.
In a statement from KeNIA, the Presidential Innovation Award is poised to transform the entrepreneurial landscape of Kenya by nurturing a culture of innovation, excellence, and social impact.
The agency expressed its excitement at being able to support young innovators who are driving positive change in society and simultaneously contributing to the nation’s economic growth.
KeNIA encourages innovators from across the nation to participate and embrace the opportunity to make a lasting impact on Kenya’s socio-economic development through groundbreaking, transformative ideas.