As Kenya tries to stake its claim as “where the silicon savannah begins”, this reality will only be achieved when there is a high number of successful and profitable companies offering services to both local and international markets.
In business there is high startup mortality resultant of a number of factors ranging but not limited to financing, poor execution, poor market identification, business processes, non-effective marketing and poor customer service. In the business of technology, the mortality rate tend to go up as new companies are more often than not started by younger entrepreneurs who have not spent time in the trenches and lack the experience element that while not really necessary, would provide the edge and increase possibility of success by many percentage points.
Targeted efforts to mitigate all the causes of startup mortality in the tech sector are a welcome relief. Hubs, labs and co-shared spaces continue to open with the recent addition to this being the Startup Garage; a co-working space that will be used for an accelerator program run by the team at 88mph, who also under the HumanIPO stable have run two 48hour investment boot camps dubbed IPO 48. Pivot East a follow-up to Pivot 25 – a regional mobile developer competition; an initiative by the Mlab is also on course with expected output of innovative ideas that gaining access to resources that may include incubation to see them through what is usually an intense startup period.
This buzz has also attracted international attention with Startup Weekend – a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities, running an event locally in partnership with the Nailab. In a “no talk , all action” event Startup Weekend Nairobi is looking to bring people from different disciplines to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups within 54 hours starting tomorrow.
The out of class education that startup founders get from these initiatives, the networking opportunities , exposure to resources and in some instances funding, only brings us closer to realizing that silicon savannah dream.
The key thing that these initiatives are doing, is bringing people together and allowing synergies to be realized and partnerships formed. Innovation is truly more about people and ideas and less about infrastructure.