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All you need to know about Presidential Innovation Awards

The Presidential Innovation Award (PIA) is a significant initiative led by President William Ruto, aiming to support and recognize innovative solutions in Kenya. 

The PIA is part of the Talanta Hela program under the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the Arts, and Sports, focused on developing the entrepreneurial capacity of innovators across the country. 

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Here’s a breakdown of key information about the award:

Program Overview:

1. Launch Event:

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  • The inaugural youth applicants pitched their ideas at Kenya Innovation Week 2023- Commonwealth edition.
  • Focus areas include Digital Transformation, Agriculture, Climate Action, Healthcare, and Creatives.

2. Talanta Hela Program:

  • PIA is a module of the Talanta Hela program.
  • Aims to encourage and support young innovators making a positive impact on society.


  • Promote Innovation:
    • Position innovation as a driver for socio-economic development.
    • Foster entrepreneurial mindsets and commercialization capabilities of Kenyan innovators.


  1. Scouting and Identification:
  • The iniative identifies promising innovative ideas and solutions nationwide.
  1. Showcasing at Kenya Innovation Week:
  • PIA showcases the most promising innovations and startups during the Kenya Innovation Week.
  1. Recognition at Jamhuri Day Celebration:
  • The Awards will recognize achievements of the most promising innovators and startups at the Jamhuri Day Celebration.
  1. Commercialization Support:
  • PIA will support the commercialization of promising innovations through a Presidential accelerator program.

Priority Areas:

  1. Food Security and Agriculture:
  • Innovations to increase food production, improve agricultural practices, and enhance access to nutritious food.
  1. Digital Transformation:
  • Leveraging digital technologies to transform business processes, improve efficiency, and enhance customer experiences.
  1. Healthcare:
  • Solutions addressing various healthcare challenges, from prevention to monitoring and health promotion.
  1. Entertainment and Gaming:
  • Innovations to enhance the quality, engagement, and accessibility of entertainment and gaming experiences.
  1. Climate Action and Green Energy:
  • Innovations focusing on reducing emissions, mitigating climate change impacts, and promoting a low-carbon economy.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Sector Focus:
    • Innovations and startups in Food Security, Digital Transformation, Healthcare, Entertainment and Gaming, and Climate Action & Green Energy.
  • General Criteria:
    • Legally registered in Kenya with Kenyan citizen founders.
    • Solving a significant social problem or addressing an unmet need.
    • Clear market understanding and viable customer acquisition strategy.
    • Minimum viable product tested and piloted.
    • Intellectual property or proprietary technology.
    • Active and permanent team with relevant skills.
    • No prior funding or awards from the Agency.
    • Founding members aged 18–35 (exception for PWDs, 18–40).

On August 18, 2023, the government officially launched the Youth Edition of PIA at Kip- Keino Stadium in Eldoret.

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The launch event was presided over by Ababu Namwamba, the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the Arts, and Sports.

The PIA, integrated into the Talanta Hela program led by the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the Arts, and Sports, is designed to enhance the entrepreneurial capabilities of innovators nationwide.

This initiative aims to acknowledge and reward the outstanding work of top innovators within the country’s priority sectors.

It seeks to encourage and support young individuals utilizing their creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills to positively impact society while achieving economic activity.

The primary goal of the Presidential Innovation Award is to champion innovation as a catalyst for socio-economic development by nurturing entrepreneurial mindsets and commercialization capabilities among Kenyan innovators.

The PIA is a comprehensive initiative that aims to identify, recognize, and support innovative solutions, contributing to Kenya’s socio-economic development.

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Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu is a Tech enthusiast, happy to delve deeper into the African tech space covering Social Media, AI, Startups, Telcos, Cryptocurrency, Big Data, Women in Tech and all matters Tech.

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