Job-creating Kenyan startups can apply for this $130k UK-run challenge


The United Kingdom (UK) government has issued a call for proposals for a Business Innovation Challenge that will reward the best proposals from job creating enterprises with grant funding and technical assistance worth up to KES13 million (US$130,000).

The Business Innovation Challenge is being launched under the UK’s new four-year Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund, a KES650 million (US$6.5 million) programme announced by British Prime Minister Theresa May, during her visit to Kenya last year to support innovations with the potential to stimulate large-scale job creation.

It seeks proposals from enterprises developing innovative solutions to create jobs, especially for Kenya’s youth, and is targeting initiatives that are innovative, scalable, sustainable and which can demonstrate substantial impact. The challenge is focused on three broad areas – agriculture and manufacturing, the informal sector, and people in marginalised groups and areas.

Shortlisted applicants will present their innovations at a pitch event in front of a panel of expert judges, with up to five successful enterprises receiving grant funding and technical assistance worth up to KES13 million (US$130,000) each.

“More than 70 per cent of Kenyans are under the age of 30, and we know that job opportunities are a priority for them. This fund will harness the innovation and energy of Kenya’s entrepreneurs to spur job creation and support our mutual prosperity – and I am delighted that it will provide opportunities for marginalised groups, such as people with disabilities,” said Nic Hailey, the British High Commissioner.

The call for proposals for the Business Innovation Challenge, which is implemented by Mercy Corps, will close on April 8 at 11:59pm EAT.


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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