The Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with the Italian E4Impact foundation, which will see the latter fund, incubate and mentor 20 Kenyan startups each year.
E4Impact is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, which has already disbursed EUR542,000 (US$649,000) in funds to provide business support to 20 Kenyan companies this year.
The partnership is aimed at spurring the growth of MSMEs in Kenya and fostering collaboration between Kenyan and Italian companies.
“Today is a great day for MSMEs in Kenya as some 20 startups can now be assured of funding as well as training as a result of our partnership with E4Impact,” said KNCCI chief executive officer (CEO) Angela Ndambuki. “We realise that the lack of capital and capacity to run businesses remains among the greatest challenges that businesses continue to face especially in emerging economies like Kenya.”
The E4Impact accelerator will host 20 Kenyan startups each year to support their growth, increase their revenues, and guide them toward profitability and impact, while the KNCCI will offer them one year of free membership.
It focuses on startups in the agri-food, fashion and design, leather, machinery and equipment, construction and affordable housing, healthcare, green business and renewable energy, innovative ICT services and infrastructure sectors, and will provide selected companies with office space, training, international and local coaching and mentorship, and access to professional services such as legal and accounting.
Startups will also have access to seed grants based on milestone attainment.