Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development has launched Startup Savanna, an international business acceleration initiative that will connect Kenyan companies with worldwide angel investor and business support networks.
Startup Savanna, a Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP) initiative, provides a platform for local startups to gain access to a global network of events, accelerators and incubators, mentors, investors, and corporate partners. This will allow them to attract much-needed technical expertise and funds to expand their operations both within and outside of Kenya.
Startups to access business training and equity funds
Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary, MoITED, spoke at the launch and expressed confidence in the program, saying it creates a reliable government-bank pipeline through which local startups and SMEs with proven viable projects can access business training and equity funds.
“Through Startup Savanna, Kenyan startups will gain access and linkage to international events and conferences to market their innovations as well as compete globally for partnerships with global industries and business experts for mentorship programmes and training. The startups will also secure opportunities to be part of global incubator and accelerator programs for extensive business support and investment prospecting during investor forums and pitch sessions.” Betty Maina noted.
This initiative is expected to expose 1,000 Kenyan startups to global networks and connect 175 Kenyan startups with mentors, investors, international accelerators, and corporations.
’Startup Savanna seeks to continuously deepen the support government is providing to startups and SMEs. Through the project, we will showcase Kenyan innovation and entrepreneurial spirit globally through interactions with global peers, investors, support partners and entrepreneurship ecosystems.”Startup Savanna Team Leader, Manasseh Miruka.
Manasseh added that they will be doing this while harnessing the knowledge and learning to pursue business improvement and expansion to increase Kenya’s participation and involvement in global innovation.
The creation of a ready-to-use training and funding pool is expected to pique interest in entrepreneurship. This is as well as facilitate commercial relationships with startups, among major employment-generating sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and traditional businesses. It will also improve Kenyan startups’ access to international resources and support female entrepreneurs.
In the Economic Survey 2020, startups are highlighted as the backbone of Kenya’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. They play an essential role in job creation, value addition, income production, links with bigger enterprises, industrial development, and overall economic growth.
The MSE sector is predicted to have employed 15 million people (or 83 percent) of the total of 18.1 million jobs produced in Kenya in 2019.
Many firms in Kenya’s startup industry have closed business within two years due to a lack of cash and business skills to assist their founders in accessing patient capital and navigating legal difficulties, which are a key hurdle to business development.
Many firms in Kenya’s embryonic startup industry have closed shop within two years due to a lack of cash and business skills to assist their founders in accessing patient capital and navigating legal difficulties, which are a key hurdle to business development.
Nairobi is a popular location for angel investor funding channeled through incubation hubs, which are mostly focused on information technology businesses in a variety of industries.
Accessing Startup Savanna
Eligible businesses can register on the Startup Savanna website.