Startups To Take Center Stage At Kenya’s First ICT Innovation Forum

2015 has been labelled the year of great things, where business operations will be done from the comfort of ones home or office with more ease than before to eliminate the need to move around, great innovations will take over discussions and ideas will be transformed into business solutions. Seeing there is need to manage these developments, Kenya has organised an innovation forum.

The country’s first ever national ICT Innovation forum is set to be held in the coming week and is scheduled to take place from March 2, to March 3, 2015 at the Kenya International Conventional Center (KICC), with the forum planned to focus on innovators and the future of Startups.

The forum is expected to bring together technology players that will include innovators, investors, development agencies and academic institutions to share their ideas, solutions and practices so as to help Kenya’s ICT sector transform to greater lengths and take innovations to the global market.

With the country receiving so much attention for its continuous growth in innovations and fast uptake of new technologies in operations for better delivery in both public and private sectors , the forum hopes to address challenges that may be hindering further growth.

Under the theme “Mind the Gap, Close the Gap”, ICT startups that focus on areas such as health, Education, Agriculture, manufacturing and the financial sector are set to be showcased through an ICT Innovation village that will contribute a major part of the forum.

The Innovation Expo will see solutions that are changing the way business is done in various sectors showcased, and the process will take place in three stages that will include, the ideas seeking to grow, solutions in the incubation stage as well as fully-fledged companies that are improving people’s lives.

“While we are all in agreement that tech-enterprises need to work more closely and grow, our aim is to make all these great ideas commercially viable,” said Victor Kyalo, the ICT Authority CEO.

Kenyan innovators wanting to demonstrate their solutions and learn more about how they can scale their business ideas to become great solutions that will transform the society are invited to attend the forum and interact with investors.

Startups will also be glad to know that the government plans to introduce a venture capital fund at the forum that will help finance small companies or individuals with ideas that are capable of disrupting the market and contributing to the country’s economy.

Also expected to be realised from this inaugural innovation forum is a task force that will be set up to deal with issues concerning ICT innovation, which will help in monitoring the innovation environment and overseeing developments in the sector.

There is also hope for an enterprise Kenya establishment that will help bring together ideas and information in one central place, to provide a platform where startups can go to when they need assistance to develop their ideas into fully-grown businesses.

“This innovation forum is to help show the country that there is something beyond successful innovations like M-Pesa and Konza,” said an ICT official.

The forum is expected to be the beginning of a series of other innovation forums to come at a later time, with expectations to make it an annual event where the ministry can monitor and report on the progress of innovations. Where success can be hailed and challenges addressed.

This year’s edition of the innovation village is open to all Kenyans, and investors and buyers of local solutions are encouraged to make a stop as they are set to be amazed with the innovations that are set to be showcased.

With the ICT Masterplan focusing on creation of employment and coming up with solutions that solve every day problems, ICT Authority believes that there is need to address intellectual property (IP) rights for the development of a new brand, that is; made in Kenya, Assembled in Kenya, Sold around the World.

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