UNFPA & Nailab’s iAccelerator program to Invest Over US $40,000 in 4 Kenyan Startups


UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, in collaboration with Nailab, a technology driven business incubator, announced 4 winning innovations, Fluid, Sophie Bot, Imara TV and Deaf Elimu that will be kicking off the iaccelerator program.  The 4 winning social-entrepeneurs will go through a 4 month acceleration program that will pair them with expert mentors, enroll them in business management and development training and allow them access to seed-capital of KES 1,000,000 . They were selected from 10 finalists during a pitching event held at Nailab.  The program has been part of a regional initiative of UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional office funded by UKAID.


A preceding call for application had been ongoing since launch on July 13th and was anchored on the I.AM Initiative, an initiative calling on young people to realize their desire to talk about, discuss, learn and understand their sexuality and sexual reproductive health by engaging with credible sources of information in safe and un-stigmatized environments. The initiative through various engagements within learning institutions saw a total of 92 applications submitted to the program.


“Its been an intense period for the team who have focused on mining and catalyzing innovative thinking by engaging with the best minds as we talk innovations on SRH.  This has been an interesting and quite an unexplored theme and we have learnt a lot from the young people in the process,” said Josephine Mwangi, Head of Communications and Marketing at Nailab. Ms. Mwangi went on to say that young people are heavily informed by myths; myths that need to be debunked to help them unravel the mystery that surrounds the sexuality conversation and building this solutions on the means they interact with every other day,that is technology, we desire to see them form the basis of positive interactions on this uncomfortable conversation across generations .


(iAccelerator judge, Dr. Amit N Thakker (L) and Ruben Vellanga of UNFPA congratulate Irving Amukasa of Sophie Bot for making it to the next stage of the iAccelerator program which seeks to provide business training, coaching and mentorship as well as conditional seed funding)


UNFPA country representative Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee noted that “Sustainable development cannot be achieved without assuring that all young people enjoy the dignity and human rights to expand their capabilities, secure their reproductive health and rights, find decent work and contribute to economic growth.  This is what the iAccelerator is all about”


The 4 finalists will go through acceleration that will run up to the month of October where they will go through 2 months of business training, access to co-innovation partners, access to diverse markets- urban and Peri-urban and access to the UNFPA network of partners. After which, 2 months in, they will receive seed-funding of 1M Kenya Shillings which will be availed based on progress evaluation and pre-agreed business milestones.


The 10 finalists selected after a rigorous 2 day vetting process were:


  1. Fluid


A mobile Game that seeks to combine fun and learning by bringing to life the theories learnt on sexuality and sexual reproductive health thereby helping a young person deduce, react and decide on situations through gamification.


  1. Sophie Bot


Sophie is an intelligent system that is fed with verified information on sexuality and sexual reproductive health and relays the information to its users through conversations that are driven by text or voice chats. Her features include anonymous forums and digital chat bots built in on the app, Facebook, Telegram, Messenger and Twitter.


  1. Deaf Elimu Plus Limited


A web and mobiles based application that will enable Deaf youth users to search for specific SRH information/words in Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) and to observe KSL stories and explanations about SRH through video content. It will also incorporate a gaming and quiz aspect to the videos


  1. Imara TV


An online system that crowd sources and curates youth generated video content on human development, sexuality and identity and whose content is peer educators accredited.


  1. My V-Health

Is a vaginal wellness kit, synchronized with a mobiles app that tests for vaginal PH levels. The Kit consists of a pH tester strip and a pH chart. The pH test strip is placed on the inside of the vaginal wall and reacts to its pH level. The strip is then scanned using the phone application and system auto- matches the readings with pre-fed PH color readings.  In case of abnormal readings it provides information about the likely causes, possible solutions and where need be connects the user with a gynecologist .


  1. Contraceptive SOS

Is the “uber” for condoms, pregnancy kits and contraceptives delivery for campus and college students.


  1. Smart Sex


Smart Sex ™ is an online sexual health improvement and responsibility social enterprise that focuses on the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that influence sexual health outcomes, whose aim is to reduce sexual health problems. This is done through the provision of initial diagnosis STI home testing kit with treatment options.


  1. Marie


Marie is an interative game quiz based engine that contains a broad knowledge base of information about sexual reproductive health. Marie can also be able to answer any questions that the user may have on issues related to sexual reproductive health


  1. Bobea


An online system that aggregates services and products by sexual health providers ranging from pharmacies, chemists, VCT, emergency providers and family planning centers.


  1. Ask without shame


Ask Without Shame is a mobile App, Instant Message service, and USSD number for voice calls, which is providing sex education and debunking myths and serves as an interactive platform to share concerns and pose questions to medical specialists anonymously and confidentially. It is educating the youth about sexual topics and answers their questions. The application currently has almost 10,000 questions answered since launch in December 2015.


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