UoN Chancellor, Dr. Vijoo Rattansi yesterday launched the Africa Technology and Innovation Accelerator, AFTIA at the Nairobi Innovation Week being held at University of Nairobi. An accelerator is similar to an incubator but with distinct differences. While an incubator allows a startup to stay incubated for long periods of time, startups in an accelerator stay for shorter periods of time, usually 3-4 months. The intention is to jump start your business and then kick you out of the nest.
According Dr. Vijoo Rattansi and Professor Mbithi Peter, Vice Chancellor UoN, the accelerator will focus on key areas that affect Kenyans. These include the sectors of health, agriculture, finance and government. Using the analogy of a chef preparing and serving food to people, Dr. Rattansi compared AFTIA to a pressure cooker, a tool that will provide an innovator the desired tools and the optimum environment for production of their innovations. AFTIA aims to jump start businesses of innovators help them commercialize products.
The launch of AFTIA comes after the Global Entrepreneurship Summit which highlighted the need to empower young entrepreneurs and innovators. Cabinet Secretary, ICT, Dr. Fred Matiangi applauded the University’s efforts in investing and providing necessary infrastructure for innovators to grow in business. This is something he feels that the government cannot do by themselves, and institutions plus the private sector should heavily invest in building the right infrastructure for innovators. This is one sure way of growing our economy.
The best innovation at the accelerator will receive seed capital of USD 100,000 and they have already started receiving applications from interested innovators.