Japan International Cooperation Agency expands accelerator programme to Kenya

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The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is expanding its startup accelerator programme NINJA Accelerator to Kenya.

JICA coordinates official development assistance for the Japanese government in developing countries and aims to promote international cooperation by supporting the socio-economic development, recovery, or economic stability of emerging economies.

It launched the NINJA Accelerator 9in Ethiopia last year, and is now expanding it to Nairobi in April in partnership with the Double Feather Partners (DFP), the Deloitte Tohmatsu consortium and GrowthAfrica. 

A first cohort of five Kenyan startups will be selected to take part in a three-month, tailored, intensive programme, offering a unique blend of Japanese and African expertise, local knowledge, and access to a pool of Japanese, African and global mentors and investors. 

Each selected startup will be offered a symbolic US$15,000 Welcome Award from Double Feather Partners, as well as a chance to participate in a business event in Tokyo courtesy of JICA.  

JICA plans to launch a series of NINJA Accelerators across Africa over the next three years, further broadening JICA’s engagement with African startups and building upon its NINJA Business Plan Competition in Response to COVID-19, the final of which takes place on February 26.

Applications to the NINJA Accelerator in Kenya are open here until February 22, while interested parties can register to attend the grand finale of the NINJA Business Plan Competition in Response to COVID-19 here.

Ten finalists were selected from over 2,700 African startup applicants from 19 countries for a chance to sign a work contract with JICA, and win up to US$30,000 in prize money. Those finalists are Agrinfo (Tanzania), And Africa LLC (South Africa), Appy People (Angola), Emergency Response Africa (Nigeria), Lifestores Healthcare (Nigeria), MajestEYE (Tunisia), Mobile Scan Solutions (Uganda), Moja Ride (Ivory Coast), TranSoniCa (Ghana), and Upepo Technology (Kenya).

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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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