The Kenyan government today launched a $1.6 million Tech Business Incubation in partnership with Nairobi’s Incubation hub, Nailab to support local ICT startups in a move aimed at growing the country’s ICT sector to become one the top 10 ICT hubs in the world.
The Kenya ICT Board (KICTB) has contracted Nailab to pilot the National Business Incubation program for companies with high growth potential. The program aims to build, support and replicate its successes in other parts of the country.
According to PS in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Dr. BitangeNdemo,“The growth in Kenya’s economy is pegged on how many profitable businesses we are able to build and sustain. This project displays the government’s commitment towards supporting SME’s and growing Kenya as an ICT destination”,
The Tech Business Incubation is an initiative of the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications under the World Bank and funded by the Kenya Transparency & Infrastructure Project.
According to its founder, Sam Gichuru, Nailab was founded on principle.
He says, “The idea was to create a business incubator in Nairobi whose main role was to stimulate innovation, provide a space for these ideas to be worked on with little financial strain as possible and provide the appropriate guidance necessary to do so.”
Gichuru added that, “the Nailab focuses on early stage business ideas that are likely to have a large social and economic impact, are highly scalable, require minimum investments to prototype, and have a strong value proposition.”
The $1.6m Tech Business Incubation program will help the business incubation centre upscale its ambition and support more ICT startups to create the next generation of successful ICT companies of Kenya.
The funding will also help Nailab provide entrepreneurs with access to critical information, education, contacts, capital and other resources crucial to the growth of the business that may otherwise be unaffordable, inaccessible, or otherwise unknownto the ICT Startups in Kenya.
Nailab has had a number of successes.
Tusqee Systems, a software startup that developed a schools SMS monitoring system for parents to check their children’s grades and school fees payments was incubated at the Nailab. Tusquee Systems’ new SMS invoicing software won it a trip to Silicon Valley in the US.
Another successful startup, MyOrder.co.ke , a mobile and web application for allowing people to buy, sell or order for via mobile or web was also incubated at Nailab.
According to Nailab, a focus on the enablement of Small and Medium ICT Enterprises (SMEs) can contribute largely to Kenya’s economic development by providing jobs and income, expanding the middle class, broadening the tax base, and ultimately decreasing poverty levels. Nailab’s dream draws even closer with over 75 percent of Kenyans in possession of a mobile phone and over 70 percent of it under the age of 35 years.