Mozilla Corporation in collaboration with Nairobi City County Government (NCCG) hosted the inaugural Mozilla Africa Mradi Innovation Challenge at the Arboretum Park in Nairobi.
The intensive pitching and selection process identified three tech start-ups: Getpayd, Deaf Elimu and Hali Halisi, and three student innovators: Classify Me, Audred and Mama Pesa. The innovators have received grants amounting to Kshs 13 million (about $93,000) and will get technical assistance to further develop their products and position themselves in the market.
The programme is designed to identify African tech entrepreneurs, startups and tech students who can benefit from an acceleration programme that will provide; technical support, access to grants and ultimately, market access for their products. The initiative is designed to promote innovation led by and grounded in the unique needs of users on the African continent.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Nairobi Governor Sakaja Johnson noted: “Nairobi City County Government is working with Mozilla Africa Mradi to ensure that tech start-ups and innovators get access to grants and are enabled to access venture capital investments locally and globally”.
One of the establishments of incubation hub at the Eastlands Library in Maringo Hamza Ward in Makadara supporting over 20 startups on investor readiness and coding for kids aged 7-13 years.
Development of startup abstract and supporting Nairobi County’s inaugural Innovate Nairobi Tech Week 2023.
The Mozilla Africa Mradi Innovation Challenge was launched in Nairobi in May 2023 with a call to tech innovators in Africa to develop creative solutions for unique African needs.
“From 2015 Mozilla has distributed over $20 million through fellowships and awards to support individual and collective actions that nurture unique innovations that benefit communities”, said Mitchell Baker, CEO and Chairwoman of Mozilla Corporation.
The 2022 Kenya Start-Up Ecosystem Report by Disrupt Africa identified 308 active tech start-ups in Kenya, employing over 11,000 Kenyans. The report further indicates that only 50% of these start-ups, the majority of which are Fintech start-ups, have undergone some form of acceleration or incubation.
John Omo, the Secretary-General of the African Telecommunication Union (ATU), noted: “Advancing Africa’s Digital Economy is at the heart of ATU’s mandate. We work to create harmonized digital economies through standardized policy and regulatory frameworks for the African Region. According to Our Digital Economy Blueprint, Kenya is a regional leader in access to digital infrastructure. It is estimated that 55% of jobs in Kenya will rely on digital skills by 2030.”
The winners for the start-up category are: GetPayd, Deaf Elimu Plus, and Hali Halisi awarded by the Deputy Governor of Nairobi Njoroge Muchiri. A prize of Kshs 500,000 and a Milestone-based funding of Kshs 3.5 million each with technical support for one year.
Student Innovation Category:
In the first place, Classify Me secures the prize of Kshs 500,000. The second-place spot goes to Audread, earning them Kshs 300,000. And in third place, Mama Pesa got a prize of Kshs 200,000.