Kenya, the Netherlands launch $1.2m ICT startups initiative

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Kenya’s Information Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) has agreed a three-year US$1.2 million funding project with the Government of the Netherlands to grow Kenya’s ICT sector through the support of ICT startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The programme will see 33 Kenyan ICT startups and SMEs receive support in expanding their reach and launching their businesses in foreign markets.

The support programme will feature training and advice on diverse issues such as export marketing and access to finance; marketing assistance through facilitating the selected companies’ presence at industry events, trade fairs, and B2B events in Europe, target markets as well as within Africa; and online and offline promotion.

“Building the capacity of Kenyan ICT companies hinges on our ability to not only put the right policies and strategies in place, but in forming definitive partnerships.  At the ICT Authority, we are honored to partner with the Netherlands Trust Fund project in realizing our vision of being an ICT leader in Africa. I also congratulate the 33 companies that now have the opportunity to expand to other markets,” said Victor Kyalo, acting chief executive officer (CEO) at ICTA.

The partnership falls under the Netherlands Trust Fund Phase 3 export sector competitiveness programme launched as a partnership between the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) -affiliated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands – and the International Trade Centre (ITC), with the aim of improving the export competitiveness of selected sectors in developing countries.  The partnership has seen three successful funds through, since 2009.

The funding and programme aim to improve the export competitiveness of Kenyan tech companies more generally, and will also support the implementation of the Kenyan government’s ICT Masterplan 2017.

“Kenya ICT business is already at the tipping point of Africa transformation. Many of our businesses have now expanded beyond our borders. As the government we are committed to supporting Kenyan businesses’ zeal to expand in an organized way. That’s why the development of an export strategy and the operationalization of the ICT Masterplan is an important  deliverable of this partnership with the Dutch government,” said Joseph Tiampati, permanent secretary at the Ministry of ICT.

ICTA said the initiative is intended to contribute towards job creation, as well as empowering young people and women.

The 33 startups and SMEs selected for the programme were chosen following an application process in November 2014.  A full list of selected startups can be viewed online.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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