Kenya offers ICT grants to start-ups

Kenya ICT Board and Project Manager Kaburo Kobia

The Kenyan government has started the process of accepting proposals for the Tandaa Digital Content Grant. The grant is offered to Kenyan citizens and companies registered in Kenya for the development of innovative web or mobile phone applications.

A Project Manager at the Kenya ICT Board, Kaburo Kobia,  says that grants of up to $ 50,000 for companies and $ 10,000 for individuals and teams would be offered through the program.

For many companies that develop web and mobile solutions, access to funding to grow their company is a huge challenge. “By supporting entrepreneurs with the funds they need to successfully take their products to market, the grant hopes to grow the number of relevant and local web and mobile applications available to Kenyans,” says Kobia.

Kobia says the Kenya ICT Board awarded 15 grants in 2010 and hopes to award at least 30 grants in 2011.

The grant is available to individuals and companies in any sector and the Kenya ICT Board encourages any individual or company with ideas for web or mobile applications to apply.

In the Private Sector category, the Kenya ICT Board will select the most innovative proposals that demonstrate long-term business viability. Proposals in this category must respond to a demonstrated market need and have a positive impact on the community it seeks to serve.

In 2010, the Kenya ICT Board awarded seven grants in this category including a diary farmer payment application and a social media marketing product.

Government Data Applications

The Government of Kenya made 290 datasets publicly available and accessible through an Open Data portal. Now, the Kenya ICT Board will support entrepreneurs to develop web and mobile applications that utilize the data to provide services or products to citizens.

Eduweb, an online schools portal that utilises data from the Ministry of Education to provide a service to parents selecting schools for their children, was among seven grants awarded in 2010.

Kenyan citizens above 18 are eligible to apply for the grant. Companies officially registered in Kenya are eligible to apply for the grant.

Matching grant for established companies

A new feature of the second round of the Tandaa Digital Content Grant offers established companies an opportunity to participate in the program.

Companies founded at least 10 years ago with over 40 members of staff are invited to summit their proposals for a web or mobile application.

Business Plan training

Another new feature of the Tandaa Digital Content Grant is a training component which is a requirement of the proposal process.

Over 2,000 people participated in the first round of the Digital Content Grant. However, more than half of the applicants struggled with the business plan sections of the proposal.

As such, the Kenya ICT Board will offer business plan training to the top 150 applicants. The training will equip the most innovative applicants with the tools to help them secure funding and grow their businesses–regardless of whether they are awarded grants.

Brian Adero


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