By David Kimani
NAKURU, Kenya 30th October, 2015 – Nakuru County entrepreneurs are set to receive a major boost through a partnership between the County Government of Nakuru and a business incubator tech firm Nailab to provide them real time opportunities for growth and development in the IT sector.
The partnership will see, the County Government and Nailab come together and provide infrastructure and a hands on curriculum that will identify business innovations across all sectors in the County including agriculture, manufacturing, medical services to be turned into viable businesses.
Speaking during the simulation of the proposal Nailab’s Communications and Marketing Manager Josephine Mwangi, said the set period of 6 months incubation time will be spread out in two main phases, product development and business development phases.
‘During the product development phase we will delve into the solution or the product at the same time using business level experts to build the capacity of the startup entrepreneurs. In three months we will have established entrepreneurs who will be able to develop a minimum viable product that they can sell’, said Mwangi. She added that the next phase is taking the product to the market, which is business development phase.
“At this point a lot of facilitation is involved. This involves meeting of the key player in a sector to offer support for product adoption. As this happens we connect the startups to funding, we give a seed funding for a 10% stake in businesses and also connect the startups to more sources funds such as online fundraisers.” said Mwangi.
At the moment Nailab gives a seed fund of Ksh 300, 000 but there are plans to increase this to between Ksh 2-3 million, as the previous amount was minimal for startups.
‘When all this is set we can start then the process of replicating Nailab in Nakuru will commence. These will involve creation of awareness and ideation with higher learning institutions from Nakuru County. The youth will be informed on how they can generate ideas, which will be then selected, those that meet the threshold for incubation will be scaled up to the final stage when they exit’, said Anne Lawi, the Incubation and Expansion Manager Nailab.
Governor Mbugua on his part directed that a team comprising members drawn from the executive, county assembly and youth leadership to be formed to establish on ways of engaging with Nailab. The proposed way forward can remain as it was proposed or be modified noted Governor Mbugua.
He added that Nakuru Youth Polytechnic could be used as the space for this initiative and tutors at this facility trained to empower the youth.
The Governor noted that Nakuru has innovative young people as the County Government used youth expertise to develop its Land Information System.
He was accompanied by Nakuru CeC for Public Service Management Catherine Kitetu, Director for Trade, Industrialization, Tourism and Wildlife Management Mandeep Singh, and Subukia MCA Hon. Peter Muchiri who is also the chairperson Labour and Social Welfare Committee among other officials.