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CS Mucheru launches Nairobi Innovation Week 2018

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The ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru launched the Nairobi Innovation Week 2018 and Nairobi Innovation Week Road Map 2025 at the Nairobi Intercontinental Hotel where he urged Kenyans to embrace new technologies and support start-ups ecosystem.

The theme for the Nairobi Innovation Week 2018 is “Innovating for a better tomorrow”.

Speaking during the launch on January 16, 2018, CS Mucheru urged Kenyans to support startups as they will go a long way in creating jobs for the youth. “I urge you all to support business startups and support the University of Nairobi in building the startup ecosystem in the country”, he said. CS Mucheru noted that he has been investing in several startup businesses and has been able to benefit greatly over the years. “Investing in start-ups have a great reward. I sold my last start-up in December, 2017”, he said.

In regard to the new technologies like blockchain , artificial intelligence, design thinking among others,  the Cabinet Secretary for ICT urged Kenyans to plug into the digital currencies and buy bitcoins. He observed that those who invested have reaped big benefits. Recently, one bitcoin was USD 1,000 and has grown to USD 14,000 over a period of 13 months. “As a leader in mobile money, we cannot afford to be left behind in this digital economy”, he said. He revealed that the government four agendas of housing, healthcare, manufacturing and food security will be driven by ICT.

University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbithi, on his part took the opportunity to thank strategic partners who have been supporting the Nairobi Innovation Week since it began some 4 years ago. Key partners include Barclays Bank, UNICEF, Africa Development Bank and Government Ministries of ICT, Education and the Ministry of Trade and Industrialization. Nairobi Innovation Week bring many players from the private sector to showcase innovation.  “We need to integrate the start-up agenda in the country. We are ever committed to provide thought leadership”, he said. The Vice-Chancellor also announced plans by the University to support close to 100 start ups and reward 15 best performers. The best overall start-up will be given Kshs.1 m.

Kenya Private Sector Alliance, KEPSA, Chairman, Nicholas Nesbitt, who is also the IBM Country Director, offered to partner with business startups to help them leverage and scale up. “I urge you to ask the right questions or you go down. Most successful startups didn’t start with big money and IBM, though 100 years, we still consider  ourselves as a startup because we are always innovating, “he said. IBM has programs targeting healthcare, food security, small businesses and government.

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