Seven start-ups from Uasin Gichu County have been awarded Kshs. 1 million through the Mozilla Mashinani tech-innovation challenge launched by Mozilla Africa Mradi and the Gladys Boss Foundation (GBF), during a workshop for tech-startups and students held in Eldoret.
The startups will be offered further training and guided on how to improve their ideas and products. They include: Tindo: a video on demand platform that targets filmmakers from various communities in the region who are producing indigenous films, My Shule: an app to safely transport students to school and back home in time through a live bus map that lets you know when the bus is coming, when your child arrives at school, and when they are heading home, Mche: offers a comprehensive solution to smallholder farmers, providing them with advisory services on the best crops to grow in their respective geographical areas, Mama Fua: a mobile application that links households to trained and vetted housekeepers, providing safe, convenient and automated access to cleaning services.
Others are lifeline which provides quick access to critical medical information during emergencies and to support individuals with disabilities and those unable to communicate on their own behalf, M-Rafiki – a platform for people to connect and interact while also being able to access services and businesses that they may need and Gavo Foods which manufactures gluten free-keto organic flours that will help break the cycle of poverty and lifestyle diseases, besides supporting smallholder farmers.
The Mashinani Initiative aims to democratise Kenya’s technology and innovation ecosystem and level the startup playing field, particularly for youth outside metropolitan cities. This will ensure that youth innovators across Kenya also have access to the information and knowledge needed to establish and run profitable startups.
The initiative is anchored on the Mozilla Africa Mradi, which seeks to catalyse innovation through developing new and deeper relationships with in-region partners to learn more about the intersection of African product needs and capacity gaps. “Mozilla is expanding efforts tobuild with and not for African communities while promoting models of innovation that are empowering, inclusive and grounded in the unique needs of users in the African continent. Critical to this global majority programme, is working with local partners to better understand the landscape, local needs, expertise, context and capabilities, to co-create, while building a community with a critical mass of local partners that see Mozilla as a trusted partner and guide to a healthy and joyful internet,” said Alice Munyua, senior director at Mozilla Corporation.
“The Gladys Boss Foundation (GBF) is working with Mozilla’s Africa Mradi to ensure that tech innovators outside Nairobi and metropolitan counties have equal opportunities and platforms to showcase their innovations, are exposed to how venture capital investments work and are trained on startup accelerator opportunities available to them in the continent and globally,” said Hon. Gladys Boss, Deputy Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly and GBF Founder.
The Mashinani Initiative will culminate in the first-of-its-kind Mozilla Africa Mradi innovation challenge to be held in Nairobi in June 2023. The innovation challenge will identify and support tech entrepreneurs, startups and tech students through an acceleration programme that will provide technical support, access to grants and ultimately, market access for their products.
Kenya is the regional information communication technology ( ICT) hub of East Africa, with the country being a leader in broadband connectivity, and general ICT infrastructure. It is home to more than three hundred tech start-ups. With the rise of digital technology and the internet, many entrepreneurs have leveraged investment opportunities from venture capital institutions that have set up shop in Nairobi.