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Bolstering Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Innovation in Kenya

Kiota Social Innovation Center (KiotaSIC) aspires to be the front door to sustainable innovation in Africa. We are aiming to elevate a new generation of entrepreneurs capable of driving impactful and sustainable innovations. we support entrepreneurs from all walks of life and help them grow with that extra bit of ambition, efficiency and impact through entrepreneurship and innovation, invention plays the critical role in creating solutions to some of our biggest challenges –from creating medical technology essential to saving lives in rural areas, to developing more efficient energy consumption to address climate change while we continue to foster innovation by bridging the gap between academic research, the market and corporate innovation.

We’ve seen how invention leads to entrepreneurship, the products of which create economic opportunity and sustainable livelihoods and allow us to better compete in the global economy. We see the importance of providing all individuals, no matter their backgrounds, the opportunity to become inventors and entrepreneurs, participating in and benefitting from the outputs of the invention ecosystem and the opportunity to realize their full potential to contribute to positive change; and the need to accelerate the innovation process to address critical challenges including climate change, equitable access to health, and the right to a sustainable livelihood for all. But we’ve also seen that these opportunities have not been open to all, preventing us from leveraging the full diversity of potential solutions and limiting efforts at fostering more inclusive prosperity. It has become clear that these issues – inclusivity, innovative solutions, jobs, entrepreneurship, and economic resilience – are priorities for us. We are working to support inclusive, equitable invention ecosystem that inventors and entrepreneurs need to thrive. We need to engage all potential inventors, which means we must prioritize inclusion so that the full population can participate in and benefit from tomorrow’s innovations. We also need to address the challenges of our resource-constrained planet by intentionally inventing for sustainability.

Our work of strengthening the invention ecosystem consists of two pathways:

  1. The inventor pathway which inspires and prepares students to become problem solvers and to thrive in the innovation economy. We are providing equal access to quality invention and entrepreneurship education so emerging inventors have the space and training they need to create new prototypes and the business models to take them to market. This hands-on program, based on a personalized 4-stage process, helps them acquire the necessary hard and soft skills to launch a successful entrepreneurial project and thrive in the dynamic, fast-paced startup world. The program will equip students with the necessary business and networking skills to help them find their first customers and kick-start their business enterprise immediately.
  2. The innovation pathway which supports inventors and entrepreneurs as they turn their ideas into products and businesses that generate jobs and foster economic growth. KiotaSIC holds that a major contributor of the gap between Innovation and the market is the fact that problem identification and analysis is important yet is never given the focus necessary to connect innovations to the market by setting the stage for practical solutions that would lend themselves to the market. Our strategy involves institutionalizing this process within KiotaSIC and matching problems to potential solutions when they are still in the ideation stage. This is a formula that we strongly expect to generate inventions and at the least marketable innovations.

Together these pathways can yield a pipeline of people and businesses that create jobs, foster resilient economies, and tackle our big challenges. These outcomes create a virtuous cycle that can power our economy in the 21 st century. We are keen on inclusive ecosystem, ensuring that inventors and entrepreneurs from underserved communities, including women, have equal opportunity to capture the value of their ideas by translating them into products and businesses, both for their own personal growth and for the benefit of the country at large.

Prototyping and Capabilities at KiotaSIC.

We are active in a variety of areas:

  • Design, manufacturing, testing & validating of prototypes
  • Research, development and innovations for industry
  • Mentoring and manufacturing support for start-ups and small businesses in the field of prototype development and manufacture
  • Implementation of research results of innovators
  • Enabling innovators to directly participate in the research of new products and technologies
  • Coordination of complex industry-university collaboration projects with international outreach
  • Trainings, standard offerings as well as custom-made packets, for industry / SMEs etc.

Services

The services provided are covering all types of services which are part of an innovation center: ecosystem services, technology services and business services.

Services, specifically common for KiotaSIC are:

  • contract research
  • technical support on scale-up
  • provision of technology infrastructure
  • testing & validation
  • skills & education
  • ecosystem learning
  • strategy development
  • project development