Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) and Association of Startups and SME Enablers in Kenya (ASSEK) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance innovation and support startups in Kenya.
The two parties agreed to achieve this by utilizing existing innovation platforms, conducting joint innovation initiatives and jointly lobbying for innovation policies development starting with the Startup Bill that is currently before the Senate.
ASSEK will utilize its membership network and partnerships while KoTDA will provide infrastructure and international linkages to actualize the goals of the MoU.
Speaking on the partnership at Konza Technopolis, Eng. John Tanui, Chief Executive Officer of KoTDA lauded the engagement, terming it as a key move to supporting Kenyan startups, innovation policy development and the innovation ecosystem in the country.
“Today, we have signed an engagement to ensure that we support startups by enabling them to scale to the next level because we see startups as a solution to some of our national challenges. These startups will also create opportunities for our young people and grow our country’s economy. We are looking forward to making this engagement a success.” said Eng. Tanui.
Eng. John Tanui added that the engagement with ASSEK will also seek to tap into the global networks to enhance networks with Kenyan startups while creating opportunities to tap into the investment opportunities available at Konza.
Konza Technopolis is a member of the IASP organisation which is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental, membership based organisation with a worldwide network bringing together over 350 science parks whose key objective is to coordinate an active network of professionals that manage areas of innovation.
On her end, Mercy Kimalat, CEO of ASSEK noted that the engagement presents an opportunity to collaborate on different initiatives to ensure that Kenya has a conducive environment for the innovation ecosystem.
“We have discussed how we can work together and one of the things we have singled out is the Startup Bill since we recognize that policy is one of the key pillars to build this ecosystem as well as attracting investors,” she said.
While lauding the progress of Konza project and the opportunities available for SMEs, Ms. Kimalat noted that the association is keen to tap into the opportunities and innovation environment at Konza Technopolis.
“One of the key things we have identified in working with startups is the challenge of unfavorable environment for them to actualize their ideas for commercialization. One of the areas we have identified at Konza is a conducive infrastructure, environment and other investment opportunities. SMEs have opportunities to set up industries and working space considering the strategic location of Konza Technopolis,” she added.
Ms. Kimalat noted that the engagement with Konza will also enhance research and utilize available resources to make the engagement fruitful.
So far, Konza Technopolis has been working with other like-minded partners like the Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs (ACIH). The engagement ASSEK adds to other engagements that the Authority is having with other partners for its development.
ASSEK seeks to represent actors within the Kenyan startup and SME enabler ecosystem and actively promote networking among its members towards Kenya’s sustainable economic development.