In a significant move to empower startups and foster innovation in Kenya, the global organization Close the Gap expanded its reach in the coastal region and Nairobi.
With a rich history of supporting over 7,600 projects in more than 50 countries since its inception in 2004, Close the Gap’s expertise in Kenya further emphasizes the importance of digital solutions in developing and emerging countries.
“Since 2004, Close the Gap has supported over 7,600 projects in more than 50 countries all around the world. All projects are demand and impact-driven oriented initiatives,” said Mr Oliver Vanden, Chief Executive Officer of Close the Gap during the Pwani Innovation Week 2023 held in SwahiliPot hub, Mombasa.
Close the Gap’s expansion in Kenya from 2019 consists of two distinct hubs: the Close the Gap Hub in Mombasa and the Circular Economy Hub in Nairobi.
These hubs aim to promote innovation, education, and circular economy principles, catering to the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.
Mombasa: The Hub of Innovation
In Mombasa, the Close the Gap Hub at Ratna Square has become one of the focal point for innovation, education, and entrepreneurship. The Mombasa Hub offers a variety of programs and services to support local entrepreneurs.
“Innovation is at the forefront, with an incubation program, co-working spaces, co-creation opportunities, hackathons, Leap2 Innovation challenges and demo days, all geared towards nurturing young local entrepreneurs.”
The maker space within the hub provides access to crafting tools and machines, including CNC machines and 3D printers, along with training and workshops.
“Education is a key focus at the centre, with three types of educational programs being offered. These include vocational training on e-waste and ICT, training programs for organizations on e-waste management and circular economy principles, and specialized training programs covering coding, data management and manufacturing drones,” Close the Gap noted.
DIGIFAIR 2023, held in June 2023, marked a significant milestone for the Close the Gap fatality. It was the first of its kind event aimed at accelerating access to digital tools and resources.
The forum was a collaborative effort with participation from the National and County government departments, the private sector, and various key stakeholders in the digital ecosystem. With a focus on bridging the digital divide, Digifair 2023 aimed to pave the way for greater digital inclusion and equitable access to technology, emphasizing the importance of public-private partnerships in achieving these goals.
During Digifair 2023, the Close the Gap fatality also unveiled its inaugural Impact Report. This report signifies the organization’s commitment to driving sustainable businesses and improving lives through financial investment, business development and investment readiness support for startups.
“The Impact Accelerator team aims to foster entrepreneurship, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable future by providing essential resources and guidance for budding entrepreneurs within the program.”
Nairobi: The Circular Economy Hub
In Nairobi, Close the Gap, in collaboration with partners like WEEE Centre and Computers For Schools Kenya (CFSK) operates a Circular Hub dedicated to the circular economy concept. The hub focuses on recycling, refurbishing, and remarketing electronic devices.
- Recycle: The hub manages the end-of-life of electronic devices.
- Refurbish: This includes data wiping of IT material and the reuse and recovery of materials.
- Remarket: Refurbished devices are brought to the second-hand market, available for sale or lease to social organizations.
Close the Gap Kenya notes it has officially received certification as a Certified Pending B-Corporation, underlining its commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
In summary, Close the Gap Kenya’s expansion underscores its dedication to bridging the digital divide by offering innovative solutions, education, and circular economy principles to the people of Kenya.
These hubs are set to provide a much-needed boost to local entrepreneurs and bring new opportunities for sustainability and technological advancement.