Kenya Innovation Week – Connecting innovations locally
The Kenya Innovation Week (KIW) is a flagship innovation forum for the country coordinated by the Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA). The 2022 KIW held in Nairobi between 6th and 8th December 2022 was the second year of this annual forum. The forum, whose theme was ‘Connecting Innovations Glocally’ (i.e. Globally and Locally), attracted many people and organizations and saw over 1,500 people attend the event. The KIW provides a platform for building synergies between government, academia, private sectors as well as the informal sector to advance the national innovation system.
The event, officially opened by the president, H.E Dr. William Ruto, sought to ensure that most promising start ups and innovators got connected with investors, funders and other partners plus see to it that relevant policy engagements on innovation are championed and networks created. Through his speech, the president stated that it is important to promote start-ups both locally and internationally, promote uptake of innovation and sustainable development. He challenged every ministry to develop a strategy of continuous innovation. In a bid to help scale up the stat-ups and give them an opportunity to grow into big enterprises, the president said that a start-up fund worth Kes. 40 Billion was going to be created through a Bill to be presented to parliament in early 2023. He encouraged for demand driven innovations and development of policies to support tech and innovation. Additionally, by working closely with the relevant stakeholders, a 10-year innovation master plan for the country will be provided in June 2023. His sentiments were echoed by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts, Hon. Ababu Namwamba who further put forth that the country would bid to host the 2023 Commonwealth Innovation Week, an opportunity that would bring into the country innovators from the various member states and encourage cross-border knowledge sharing and support.
Many public and private organizations, both local and international, had booths at the exhibition area where they showcased their innovations and/ or support services offered to the innovators and other SMEs. Other than the key note addresses and discussions held at the main plenary, there we numerous side-events hosted by various organizations and these were specifically themed to allow for networking and discussions with interested parties.
Finnpartnership was represented at the Fingo (Finnish Development NGOs) booth as well as the Fingo side event whose them was ‘Innovations through partnerships’. Other organizations represented at the Fingo side event include the Finnish Mission in Kenya, Aalto University from Finland, Organizations supported by Fingo such as TuiFund, CBC stores, Pajat Solutions, ICT4D among others.