Yesterday we attended a high level event hosted by Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA). The event that was the first in creating an ecosystem for Innovation was hosted in partnership with KCB Bank Kenya, Safaricom Plc, Huawei Technologies, Machakos University and Meru University, and is part of a series of initiatives held by KoTDA this week that seeks to showcase Kenya’s capability to spur an innovation ecosystem.
Speaking during the launch of the forum, Eng. John Tanui, Chief Executive Officer, KoTDA said the initiative will focus on three key clusters namely ICT & Information Technology Enabled Services (ICT/ITES), Life Sciences and engineering. “Innovation is an instrumental pillar in Konza Technopolis’ core mandate. Indeed, our focus areas in the innovation ecosystem are guided by direct investment in technology, smart urban planning and building a knowledge-intensive environment for stakeholders and the community,” Eng. Tanui said. Adding that: “Expanding opportunities so that children can reach their full potential in “tech” adoption is not only a “right” thing to do, but also makes good economic sense hence the STEM Bootcamp. Promoting the cognitive capital of children by finding new solutions to the barriers they face is an important contribution to the long term economic growth of any country.”
To meet the needs of the Government, Academia, Community/Civil society and Industry, KoTDA is developing an initiative for institutions interested in shaping the direction of Konza Technopolis. This will ensure key players are involved in the development of Konza Technopolis. In support of the Konza Technopolis Innovation agenda, Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary for ICT stated: “As one of the agencies assigned to bringing this dream to life, we are impressed with the progress that KoTDA has achieved so far. The attraction of foreign and local partners and rollout of phase one indicates that there is hope that Kenya is on course to becoming the innovation hub on the continent.” The forum targets stakeholders in the government and private sector and will cast spotlight on innovation challenges in the country to address the innovation related issues that we face as a country and find solutions to tackle them. The forum will then be followed with a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Bootcamp for potential innovators under 15 years of age.
The two-day STEM Bootcamp for young innovators aged between 7 and 15 years slated for 6th-7th December 2018, is themed “Be tomorrows Innovators”. Over 30 children from Machakos, Makueni and Kajiado County sponsored by Konza Technopolis and its partners will take part in the challenge on robotics concepts and elementary programming principles; fostering them to apply critical thinking skills and encourage collaboration in tackling assigned challenges and projects. During the Konza Innovation Ecosystem Initiative launch, the young innovators will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges who will then award the best ideas. The initiative targets players active in the start-up community and private sector to showcase Konza Technopolis progress towards the vision of becoming Africa’s Silicon Savannah and discuss the major hurdles harboring growth and scaling up of innovation space in Kenya. Kenya is ranked fourth in Africa in the Global Innovation Index and stands at position 80 globally.