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6 Ways Development Organisations Can Support Kenyan Tech Startups

By Guest Writer on June 11, 2014

The GSMA writes extensively about the social and economic impact connectivity has on people’s lives. Our recent Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan African report highlighted that the mobile ecosystem currently contributes 6.3 per cent to regional GDP and will generate 6.6 million jobs by 2020.


Our Digital Entrepreneurship in Kenya 2014 report focuses new attention on Kenya’s emerging digital entrepreneurship ecosystem, with a unique perspective on entrepreneurs developing mobile enabled services. In Digital Entrepreneurship in Kenya, we highlight the challenges startups are currently facing and the opportunities for collaboration among stakeholders, in particular opportunities for engagement with the mobile industry.

This research was undertaken to understand the challenges to developing digital services across Kenya. It included over 300 in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs, mobile and information and communication technology (ICT) industry corporates, investors, tech incubators and accelerators, and other support organisations. The GSMA’s partner in this effort, *iHub_Research, helped us reach over 230 local startups across Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

Specific Recommendations for Development Organizations

  1. Support early stage funds and accelerators with financial resources to offset operational costs of running fund/ accelerator programmes, or by co-financing their investments
  2. Establish programmes that build capacity and provide training to investors and business angels
  3. As almost all entrepreneurs are inherently addressing social problems or underserved needs, donors do not need to uniquely support ‘social’ entrepreneurs or impact investment funds
  4. When sponsoring innovation competitions, ensure winner selection criteria includes sustainability, add non-monetary awards, and disburse money on a milestones basis
  5. Support the creation and dissemination of market information into public domain
  6. Support networking opportunities that promote partnership and collaboration within the ecosystem


Filed Under: Opportunity, Thought Leadership
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