A four-day Kiambu County Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship forum aimed at giving expert insight into innovations value chains while demystifying feasibility of innovations opened at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, March 23, 2022.
The inaugural innovators forum brought together experts from government, academia, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to explore the role of innovations in the country’s economic growth and development.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, acknowledged that the effects of Covid-19 have been devastating to the economy noting that the innovation forum was key to building resilience and bouncing back from the economic regression.
The Vice Chancellor said the collaboration between JKUAT and the Kiambu County Government will go a long way in giving solutions to common problems facing the country and the world at large.
Prof. Ngumi pledged to continue pushing the University’s innovations from the shelves to the market in order contribute to the development of the Country.
She further urged the University’s partners to “visit the University to have a better view of our innovations that are ready for commercialization. In JKUAT, you have a ready and willing partner to make the “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” mantra a living reality.”
While lauding the organizers of the event, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Joe Mucheru, underscored the significance of innovations at county levels explaining that counties lacking innovations risk lagging behind.
In a bid to make Kenya an innovation and technology hub in Africa, Mr. Mucheru said the government is keen on creating a conducive environment for innovation and business growth by developing policies that are friendly to MSMEs.
He added that plans are underway to implement “the Ajira Digital Program – an innovative program that targets to empower young people to access over 1 million jobs every year through digital platforms.”
Mr. Mucheru lauded JKUAT for its contribution to the innovation and technology ecosystem urging the University and Kiambu County to continue forging deeper partnerships in order to understand common problems and provide sustainable solutions.
On his part, Governor of Kiambu County, Dr. James Nyoro said the innovation week was inspired by the need to come up with answers for generational problems by creating a platform for sharing perspectives, knowledge and abilities to support innovation.
Dr. Nyoro stated that feasible innovations should be able to solve common problems while also quantifying the benefits of the technology.
In order to scale up low technological innovations, Dr. Nyoro reiterated the need to put innovations in a manufacturing chain in order to bring down the cost per unit of the innovations.
He highlighted the importance of identifying and incubating innovations that will easily be commercialized.
The innovation week was organized in partnership with Kiambu County Government, 254 Youth Entrepreneurship Awards by Sevenstone, Ministry of ICT, Innovations and Youth Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Kenya National Chamber of Commerce.