Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) showcased some of its products and students’ innovations at the inaugural Kenya Innovation Week 2021 at the Kenya School of Government, Nairobi.
The event which ran from December 6-8, 2021, saw a host of public and private institutions display an array of innovations essential in providing a platform where investors and innovators interacted. The event also held a summit where different speakers made presentations touching on various topical issues.
The summit focused on the sharing and dissemination of information and how to enhance innovativeness of society through skills development from early childhood to careers level, kick starting a new and impactful movement.
Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Youth and Innovation, Joe Mucheru noted that innovation could be used to solve problems, and called on innovators to think outside the box by finding modern avenues of aggressively marketing their products so as to attract potential investors.
“Investors are looking for innovations that will be profitable once they provide financial capital. As innovators you need to provide viable innovation models that are unique and effective even in the long-term basis,” the Cabinet Secretary said when he officially opened the forum.
He lamented that there were many innovations available that unfortunately did not have a link between innovators and investors. He called for the need to consolidate all the innovations in one database which, he said, would be essential in connecting both entities, making it a massive boost in creating job opportunities for the youth.
“I believe there is need to actualize a centralized skills database which will bring together experts from various fields making it easier for investors to engage innovators with ease,” the Cabinet Secretary asserted.
In his remarks, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Prof. George Magoha in a speech read on his behalf by Permanent Secretary, State Department for University Education and Research, Amb. Simon Nabukwesi said there is need to give a priority to science and innovation which go hand in hand if we are to see profound change in terms of youth employment.
“Innovation hubs are a critical element in providing the requisite platform through which start-ups as well as tech and innovation companies grow which will boost youth skills and talents,” Prof. Magoha stated.
He also commended the organizers noting the annual flagship event would ensure innovation skills are sharpened thus ensuring tackling of the innovation skills mismatch among the youth.
On his part, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Mr. Walid Badawi, revealed the importance of managing innovations eco-systems which he said were critical in providing employment opportunities for the youth.
“If we are to see success in what we strive to do we need to foster collaboration with other institutions,” he declared.
The Kenya National Innovation Agency (KENIA) CEO, Dr. Tonny Omwansa said the agency aims to be a key enabler in socio-economic development through innovation as well as managing and developing the national innovation system.
“KENIA is responsible in the promotion and regulation of the national innovation ecosystems. This has been realized in collaboration with partners who are keen in promoting innovation and enterprise development thus bringing viable ideas to the market,” he said. He thanked all the over 30 partners who participated in the exhibition.
Other speakers during the event were KENIA Chairman, Prof. Reuben Marwanga , (Deputy Head of Mission, Head of Economic Affairs- Embassy of Federal Republic of Germany, Nairobi) Mr. Thomas Wimmer; (Associate Director- Innovation, Data and Analytics- KPMG East Africa); Ms. Anastasia Kamande, (County Director GIZ Kenya); Mr. Bodo Immink; (Honorary Consul of Estonia in Kenya) Ms. Kadri Humal Ayal; Mr. Maniza Zaman ( UNICEF Representative ) and (Representative and County Director- WFP, Kenya County Office), Ms. Lauren Landis.