Nairobi ranks as one of Africa’s leading emerging StartUp Innovation Ecosystems. Tied for Number Three in Africa with Lagos and behind Cape Town and Cairo. Nairobi has an excellent University: The University of Nairobi which has excellent Engineering and Science Programs. Nairobi has a large pool of highly educated professional workers, and there is a high level of IT literacy and innovation, especially among young Kenyans. After years of stagnation, Nairobi Entrepreneurship is once again moving forward.
- What are Nairobi’s best StartUp Incubators / Accelerators?
- Does Nairobi have sufficient local angel investors?
- What are the barriers to starting new businesses in Nairobi?
- Do founders have access to Funding? Resources?
- Who are the leaders / influencers helping StartUps to succeed?
- How can GSV StartUp|connect Help?
- How can You Help?
The Nairobi StartUp Innovation Ecosystem
CB Hub Rank: 8,777
377 Investors invested in Nairobi’s 148 Startups. 276 Funding Rounds raised $276 million Source: CrunchBase
The government of Kenya is generally investment-friendly and has enacted several regulatory reforms to simplify both foreign and local investment.
Prior to COVID, economic prospects were positive with above 6% GDP growth expected, largely because of expansions in the telecommunications, transport and construction sectors, and a recovery in agriculture. These improvements are supported by a large pool of highly educated professional workers. There is a high level of IT literacy and innovation, especially among young Kenyans.
In 2020, Kenya ranked 56th in the World Bank ease of doing business rating, up from 61st in 2019 (of 190 countries). Compared to its neighbors, Kenya has a well-developed social and physical infrastructure. Source: Wikipedia
“Scale-up companies are becoming a critical component of economic and social development in Kenya. Additionally, high-growth entrepreneurs have the potential to be major job engines in the country: According to the findings, scaleup entrepreneurs represent only five percent of Kenyan firms, but created over 70 percent of the total new jobs.”Endeavor Kenya
Apply to become a GSV StartUp|connect Ambassador: Seeking talented professionals to write about the StartUps, Organizations and Tools that support StartUps. Build Connections Locally and Around the World. Help foster Entrepreneurship and Inclusion locally and globally.
Endeavor launched a new office in Kenya in February 2017 as the first-ever Endeavor affiliate in Sub-Saharan Africa to help usher in a new era of growth and economic development driven by high-impact entrepreneurship in the country. Endeavor Kenya supports entrepreneurs and companies in the scale-up phase — enterprises that have passed through the initial start-up phase and who demonstrate the potential for rapid expansion.
“Endeavor’s trademark support will be of tremendous help to Kenyan entrepreneurs at a crucial point in their journeys; when they are poised to scale their businesses.”Matt Bannick, Managing Partner, Omidyar Network
Incubators + Accelerators
GrowthAfrica is the business runway to success for African entrepreneurs seeking a platform for their business take-off and for international companies in need of a market landing space and growth hub.
“Where Kenyan Innovators meet the best of Italian Businesses”
MEST is an Africa-wide technology entrepreneur training program, internal seed fund, and network of hubs offering incubation for technology startups in Africa. MEST provides critical skills training, funding, and support in software development, business, and communications to Africa’s tech entrepreneurs. Hubs are located in Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; Cape Town, South Africa; and Nairobi, Kenya. MEST is funded by the Meltwater Foundation
Cisco EDGE Incubation Centre, University of Nairobi
This is USD 680,000 incubation hub set up by the networking hardware company Cisco, with the aim of speeding up market access for SMEs in the ICT sector as well as imparting knowledge. The 2019-founded hub is also hosted by the University of Nairobi
“The inclusive incubator. Kick Kenya is gearing rural economies to run at vastly higher RPMs than grinding poverty.”
StartUp Co-Working Spaces
Nairobi Garage is home to over 150 companies across its four premises who use it for office space as well as for business development and networking. METTĀ is a club with 370 members and over 15,000 members on its digital community that offers a range of events and workshops. By providing entrepreneurs and businesses with flexible workspace arrangements in a variety of locations, access to events, corporate innovations services, and a network of other businesses and entrepreneurs, we are allowing companies to remain responsive to the market and keep their teams productive without tying up much-needed capital.
Training give an opportunity to SMES to grow & professionalize business for business sustainability and competitiveness. “This where business practitioners meet scholars and exchange ideas for business problems solutions facing kenyan SME Sector.”
Provides the Opportunity for Early-Stage StartUps to get recognition and be rewarded as the “Most Promising StartUps of 2021”. Application for 2021 is today 31 December 2020, but follow the challenge, stay informed and be prepared for 2022
Startup Grind Nairobi, with 2632 Members, hosts events presented by Amazon Web Services (AWS) which provides on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies, and governments, on a pay-as-you-go basis. Through the AWS Activate program, AWS provides startups with a low cost, easy to use infrastructure needed to scale and grow their companies. Visit Africa AWS Activate Credits to apply.
Entrepreneurs in Nairobi tell their stories. This collection of articles chronicles the journey of building and scaling tech companies in Nairobi
Information on Nairobi’s 148 Startups and their Investors
Antler is a global early-stage VC enabling and investing in exceptional entrepreneurs. In Nairobi’s vibrant startup hub, Antler brings together entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to build the “defining companies of tomorrow.”
Vibrant list of Events in Nairobi for Startup Related Activities
Map of 88 StartUps In Nairobi
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Additional Kenya Organizations
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Located in Mombasa , behind Fort Jesus, near Swahili Cultural Center, Swahilipot Hub has spacious accessible space, which including private offices, co-working space, meeting/training rooms and a rooftop
A Technology Innovation Hub with open space for Entrepreneurs, Technologists, Investors and Makers
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