Official opening ceremony of the Nairobi Innovation Week 2017 held at UoN Towers, Manu Chandaria Auditorium on March 8, 2017
The third annual Nairobi Innovation Week at the University of Nairobi has officially been opened by Cabinet Secretary, ICT, Joe Mucheru.
The week-long innovation forum themed Innovation to solve pressing local and global challenges brought together stakeholders from private and government sector.
Among participating organization representatives who made addresses during the official opening ceremony held on March 08, 2017 were Barclays, United Nations Child Education Fund (UNICEF), African Development Bank (AfDB) and Embassy of Finland.
Nairobi Innovation Week features innovation exhibitions, bootcamps, hackathons, workshops, seminars, panel discussions and concerts during the five day event from 6th-10th March 2017. The concluding day will constitute innovation startups pitching to stakeholders.
While officially opening the Nairobi Innovation Week, Mr. Mucheru noted that innovation need not be high technology usage, but technology ought to be build early and embedded in the development process. Mr. Mucheru recommended the need for homegrown technological innovations to be scaled globally, giving an example of MPesa which has put Kenya in the technological global map.
Barclays Bank Managing Director Jeremy Awori said that technology should be incorporated as channels and systems to enhance operations. Mr. Awori announced that Barclays will establish a digital branch of the bank at the ground floor of the newly constructed University of Nairobi towers. Mr. Awori also added that the bank has continuously worked with the University where they had an impact on at least 90,000 youth.
Finland’s Deputy Head of Mission, Ramses Malaty, highlighted that Finland is one of the leading countries in innovation. “This is because of investment in competent research, healthcare and innovation. As much as Innovation week happens in the University, innovation initiatives should expand to the region and even globally,” added Mr. Malaty.
UNICEF’s Kenya Representative, Werner Schultink appealed for innovations to ensure that children never miss vaccinations as well as innovations to prevent child malnutrition. Currently, UNICEF has an innovation fund supporting startups on innovations on children issues.
AFDB announced that it will work with banks to de-risk the youth- assuming risk for the youth when they request for financial assistance from banks. AfDB is also helping to mobilize $3Billion in support of young entrepreneurs in Africa, with a focus on business entrepreneurship.
Vice-chancellor Prof. Peter Mbithi, in his opening remarks, said that Innovation Week is part of a ten-year strategic to build a world class innovation centre. Prof. Mbithi noted that innovation is about creating change that adds value. “This is a thought leadership requiring coordination of partners to solve societal problems,” he added.
Nairobi Innovation’s week 2017 strategic partner is UNICEF. The title sponsor is Barclays Bank of Kenya. The gold sponsor is KCB group while Safaricom is the silver sponsor.
New entrants supporting Nairobi Innovation Week include Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Embassy of Finland, UBER and Kenya Climate Innovation Centre.
The Bronze sponsors include Konza Technopolis, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), NIC Bank,
Kenya Climate Change Innovation Centre, University of Nairobi Enterprise services (UNES),University of Nairobi Alumni fraternity, Strathmore University, AALTO University from Finland and the Embassy of Finland, UBER, National Research Foundation.
The partners are: Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Education, ICT Authority, Embassy of Israel, Kenya Education Network (KENET), DEMO Africa, IBiz Africa, Metta, NIC Bank, Chase Bank, Samsung, IBM and Nation Media Group.