Identify! Strengthen! Nurture!


Kenya is often known as “Crown Jewel” of innovations in East and South Africa. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives has a mandate to grow Kenya’s enterprises. As a strategic partner of the Nairobi Innovation Week (NIW), the ministry is leading various partners in contributing and enhancing the startup movement by nurturing innovation and supporting entrepreneurship.

NIW.Startups is a program initiated by the Ministry, working with stakeholders to identify promising startups from all counties in Kenya, to strengthen and nurture them and facilitate their scaling. Various Seed & Growth Capital Investors and Incubation hubs will participate in the program.

The purpose of NIW.startups is to prepare home grown localized innovative and scalable startups to be investor ready and to either give them access to seed stage funding or growth phase financing options. Access to funding is one of the pressing challenges faced by startups globally.  In contribution to the overall objective of NIW 2017 of strengthening the innovation ecosystem, NIW.Startups seeks to create common platform through which various support institutions can systematically address the funding challenges of startups.

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Strategic Objective

To support the development of innovative and sustainable startups in Kenya by facilitating access to finance and business support services.


Specific Objectives

  1. To strengthen collaboration and create linkages amongst the support institutions in the innovation ecosystem from public, private sectors, academia, development partners.
  2. To provide an opportunity for Investors and buyers to meet with potential investees.
  3. To provide business and investor readiness support to high potential entrepreneurs.
  4. To accelerate the commercialization and growth of innovative and impactful startups by providing seed or growth capital.



  • Structured mentorship sessions facilitated by seasoned business persons
  • Coaching to get your startup investor ready
  • Professional pitch training
  • Briefing meeting with participating Investors
  • Selection of 10 startups for on-stage pitching

Start-up Day Events – 10th March 2017

  • Pitching to seed stage or growth phase investors during the Nairobi Innovation Week
  • Deal Rooms for face-to-face matchmaking meetings with seed stage or growth phase Investors for 50 startups
  • Exhibiting your product at the Demo Area of the Nairobi Innovation Week
  • Attending pre-organized learning and networking opportunities including side events and the main event
  • Startup Award Competition



Your Startup should be less than 5 years old and at the early startup stage where internal resources have been mobilized and regulatory requirements fulfilled to start the company.

The eligible Startup will provide employment opportunities and solutions to improve the livelihoods of children, youth, women, elderly through a variety of sectors including but not limited to the following sectors: Agriculture, Healthcare Solutions, Education, Water and Sanitation and Hygiene, Protection, Waste Management & Recycling, Manufacturing, Energy, Transport and Logistics, Financial Inclusion, Information and Communication Technologies.

In addition, the startup should subscribe to the Principles of Innovation

Financing Categories

  1. Seed Stage Investor Readiness Support – To be eligible for NIW.Startups you need to be startup solving a genuine challenge using an innovative and validated solution and actively looking for funding to launch the business.
  2. Growth Capital & Investor Readiness Support – To be eligible for Growth Capital, you must have established a credible team, have clear processes for scale and demonstrate evidence of impact from monitoring the performance of the product/service against set targets.

Collaboration Partners


Wilfred Njeru Njagi

Chief Incubation Officer at Villgro Kenya

Tirus Wanyoike Kamau

Business Development Manager, iLab Africa Research Centre

Tabitha Mberi

Project Manager at iLabAfrica, Strathmore University

Robert Njathika

Editor, NairobiNow

Redempta Madiro Oyeyo

Assistant Director, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives

Paul Ondeng

Team leader at Corporate Renewal Centre (CRC)

Moses Katembu Rono

ICT Officer (Technology for Development), UNICEF Kenya

Minhaj Adil

Nest, Africa Team

Manasseh Miruka

Programme Manager, National Entrepreneurship Network of Wadhwani Foundation

Lee Birir

Technical Lead, IT Sourcing Unit

Kariba Moko

Partner, Moad Capital

John Ocheche

Financial Modelling Consultant

John Njane

Executive Coach and Faculty at Strathmore Business School

Frank Tamre

Co-founder, Moringa School

Felix Muimi Kilumbutu

Chief Industrial Development Officer at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives

Esther Makambo Saya

Front office administrator, IBizAfrica


Projects Director & Chief Expansion Strategist, DEMO Africa

Douglas Ogeto

Head Fuse Catalysts

Delphine Mukandutiye

Project Coordinator

Bikundo Onyari

Business Coahc