Three Kenya startups have been selected for a fully funded trip to showcase at the Oslo Innovation Week where they will have an opportunity to get funding that will transform their ideas to full businesses.
Arigiene Limited, Gjenge and Escon Leather Creations impressed a panel of judges that included ICT Norway representatives Torgeir Waterhouse and Christopher Hoff during a track event for the ongoing Nairobi Innovation Week. ICT Norway, which is funding the trip, is a public sector organisation that links the Norwegian ICT and startup sectors in various parts of the world.
Arigiene Limited has a unique product that solves toilet bowl water splash-back while Gjenge innovation recycles waste plastic into strong and artistic construction products. Escon Leather Creations’ innovation manages waste of discarded low grade hides and skins, which would otherwise be pollutants, to make leather products. The trio beat 10 other finalists at the competition organised by Pangea Accelerator.
Nzambi Matee, founder of Gjenge, said: “I am really happy that I have this opportunity to attend the Oslo Innovation Week. It will be a great platform to meet new people and potential investors, acquire new knowledge and fresh ideas that will build me as an individual and benefit my company as well,” said Nzambi.
ICT Norway has collaborated with the ministry of Information, Communication and Technology on a number of initiatives that gives businesses in the tech sphere an opportunity to grow.
The partnership saw the establishment of the Association of Startup and SME Enablers Kenya (ASSEK), which was officially launched last month. Other initiatives will include teaching children to code, strengthening technology through training, exchange programs of startups with internships between Norway and Kenya and facilitation of a yearly pan-African conference which will focus on innovation in the urbanization sector and provide a platform for an increased focus on smart city opportunities in Africa.
“Through this partnership between Kenya and Norway, over 1,500 startups in Kenya will be supported as well as opportunities created for over 15,000 entrepreneurs between 2019 and 2020,”said Waterhouse.