By: Sonia Kavuli

Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) in partnership with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and The Swahili Pot Hub Foundation (SPH), yesterday launched the Kenya Innovation Bridge (KIB) platform.

The launch took place at Swahili Pot Hub. It was graced by dignitaries including, Dr. Mbwarii Kame, the County Executive Committee Member – Education, Mr. Anwar Ahmed, County Chief Officer ICT, Swahilipot Hub Chief Operating Officer, Atrash Ali, and Mr. George Masila, KeNIA, Communication and Partnership lead (Senior Corporate Communications) among others.

KIB was launched in collaboration with Strathmore University and Swahilipot Hub Foundation; to bring together inventors, innovators, industry players, and institutions representatives from the Coastal region.

Government agencies and various media houses were invited to witness the event which was aired live, and stakeholder registration to the digital platform was done.

“Kenya Innovation Bridge is like a marketplace that enables different innovators to come together and connect with mentors and other partners to enhance innovation and development in the ecosystem. This platform will offer various opportunities like building capacities of one’s idea, connection with the investors, customer, and the government agencies or any development partners who can even support you further,” George Masila said.

“This is a platform that is here to change the narrative of innovation and our end goal is to create job opportunities and bridge the gap between access to markets for all innovators.” He added.

Speaking during the launching, Anwar Ahmed, Mombasa County ICT CC, said the county has made progress in terms of ICT, and more partnerships and collaborations in the innovation ecosystem should be created.

He urged innovation players like the government, NGOs, development agencies, industries, institutions, innovators, and investors to take this platform as an opportunity to develop a unified road map and create a strategy for scaling innovations.

Speaking to Gilitics Media, Julius, one of the innovators who creates toys from recycled timber expressed his joy in witnessing the launch of KIB. He believes people like him will now have a new platform that will enable them to access a larger audience to showcase their ideas.

“Safety is key. Therefore, on matters to deal with the safety of one’s idea, KeNIA has ensured that they do a thorough job once you log in to their platform and for one to have full access, they also do a background check on your innovation,” said Gertrude Gichuhi, the Assistant Project Manager under the Ilab Health Department, Strathmore University.

More so, Philis Mbiu, KIB Communications lead urged the dedicated and resilient innovators, youths, and members of the coastal region to join the platform to improve their connectivity and better their ideas into monetizing opportunities.

“I believe that The Innovation Bridge platform will be a game changer in the innovation ecosystem since connections will be made easier,” she said.

So far there have been 420 connections in the Kenya Innovation Bridge platform according to the Kenya National Innovation Agency. The Agency is looking forward to creating more connections and opportunities by creating more programs. The team is also looking forward to participating in an upcoming program, The Connected Summit, one of the programs which they believe will further energize and support the ecosystem.