Innovators get over 100 million boost from the government

A total of $1.28 million (Ksh104,960,000) was given to local ICT innovators today at the Kenya ICT Board Ceremony in Nailab, Ngong Road, Nairobi.

Twenty one techpreneurs were awarded a maximum of $50,000 (Ksh4.1 million) each at the event. In a competition that was held as a part of the event, eight individuals won $10,000 (Ksh820,000) each. The funding, organized through the Kenya ICT Board Project, Tandaa, Local Digital Content, also saw one local company get $150,000 (Ksh12.3 million). The PS, Ministry of Information and Communication, Dr Bitange Ndemo and Kenya ICT Board CEO Paul Kukubo, Cellulant CEO Ken Njoroge, IBM director in-charge of Venture Capital, Wendy Lung, were among the dignitaries present along with businesses executives from the ICT sector.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]We have moved from discussing infrastructure to policy, content and capacity building in the industry. We need applications that can offer Kenyans solutions and help us create internal efficiencies. By so doing we will save the economy billions of shillings.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

– Dr Ndemo

Dr Ndemo disclosed that the government was in talks with IBM to develop a Transport Management System, part of which will deal with the heavy traffic experienced in the city.

While congratulating the grantees, Paul Kukubo noted that the board was committed to harnessing skills and innovation in the industry through its various projects. “Our aim is to scale up the existing local ICT businesses and support start-ups such as the ones being awarded today,” said the Kenya ICT Board CEO.

The Tandaa Grants, now in their second year, are meant to spur a growth in innovative web and mobile technology solutions. It seeks to motivate local content creators and software developers to create good quality content that the country needs.

This year, the number of winners increased from 15 to 30. The proposals had gone up from 667 to 790. To improve the quality of proposals, the top 150 applicants were sponsored to a one-week Business Plan Training at Strathmore Business School, early this year. The projects that were given funding are those that address the needs of both the Government Information Portal and private sector. Of the winning proposals, six provide solutions to the Government, while the rest cater to the private sector.

The fields covered by the winners range from tourism, agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, financial services, education and training, health care delivery, water and sanitation, gender, youth and vulnerable groups, social equity and poverty reduction, entertainment, law and order and film and TV.

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