Nairobi, Friday May 4th, 2012: A total of 1.28 million dollars (ksh104,960,000) was given to local ICT innovators today at a Kenya ICT Board ceremony in Nailab, Ngong Road, Nairobi.
In the event, 21 techpreneurs were awarded a maximum of $50,000 (Ksh4.1 million), each, in a competition that had eight individuals win a maximum of $10,000 (Ksh820,000) each. The funding, organized through the Kenya ICT Board project, Tandaa Local digital Content, will also saw one local company get $150,000 (Ksh12.3 million), which they (the company) will match to $300,000 (Ksh24.6 million).
To present the awards were the PS, Ministry of Information and Communication, Dr Bitange Ndemo and Kenya ICT Board CEO, Mr Paul Kukubo, Cellulant CEO Ken Njoroge, IBM Director, in charge of Venture Capital, Wendy Lung, among many dignitaries and business executives in the ICT sector.
“We have moved from discussing infrastructure to policy, content and capacity building in the industry. We need applications that can be able to offer Kenyans solutions and help us create internal efficiencies. By so doing we will save the economy billions of shillings,” said, Dr Ndemo at the function. Dr Ndemo disclosed that the government was in discussions with IBM in a bid to develop a Transport Management Systems, 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 it various projects. “Our aim is to not only scale up the existing local ICT businesses but to support start-ups like those being awarded today,” affirmed the Kenya ICT Board CEO.
The Tandaa Grants now on their second year are meant to spur growth in innovative web and mobile technology solutions. The seed funding seeks to motivate local content creators and software developers to create, and adapt quality content that the country needs.
This year the number of winners rose from 15 to 30, while complete proposals shot 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 considered for funding are those that address 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.