The government has launched a campaign to train Kenyan entrepreneurs on Intellectual Property (IP) in order to protect their innovations and enhance their ability to innovate and create.
The ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives and Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) are spearheading the training. So far, over 300 women entrepreneurs drawn from over 20 counties have been trained on IP and its significance to their businesses.
The training is part of an ongoing government sensitization campaign on IP, dubbed ‘Decentralization of IP Services Project’. Participant counties have included Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and Taita-Taveta, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Nyamira and Kisii, Nakuru, Baringo, Narok, Bomet, Laikipia, Kericho and Kajiado
Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed noted that the training sessions are already transforming nascent business ideas into commercial businesses.
“While Government is committed to initiate and implement appropriate policies to facilitate increased protection and utilization of IP, research shows entrepreneurs are least aware of contribution of intellectual property in their businesses. This is the gap we are trying to fill through this initiative,” said Mohamed during celebrations to mark the World Intellectual Property Day at the Bomas of Kenya.
Resultant of the intellectual property training, the CS said, the Government in collaboration with World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), has helped women entrepreneurs in Taita Taveta County to transform their sisal basket craft from a cottage industry to a full-time commercialized business with a steady source of revenue for the women.
Endorsing this year’s World IP Day theme, Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity, Mr. Mohamed said the government is keen to tilt the long-held perception that inventions and innovations are gender-led.
“Women innovators across the country need to be challenged to rise to the occasion and be counted in promoting inventiveness and innovativeness in the country as a means of helping to diversify our economy, create jobs and grow the wealth of the Kenyan people,” said Mr. Mohamed.
He urged the three main intellectual property agencies in the country – KIPI, Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) to re-double their efforts in facilitating the administration of IP rights.
Similarly, he challenged State Agencies involved in the enforcement of intellectual property rights, including the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) and the Industrial Property Tribunal to curb cases of infringement by effectively and timeously discharging their duties.
A 2016 survey titled, Stuck on the market, by Scinnovent Centre, around Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), found that low IP awareness has contributed to Kenya’s stunted innovations. The survey recommended that the government spearheads preferential purchasing of locally manufactured products through its procurement policies, entrench technology and business incubation centers in all the technical training facilities and enhance awareness, sensitization, and support for intellectual property rights protection.