Nairobi - Twenty business ideas will benefit from the services of the E4Impact business incubator, a project proposed by the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan, co-funded by the Agency and implemented by the Nairobi headquarters of the E4Impact Foundation. E4Impact is a business incubator (start-up) and accelerator (scaling-up) aimed at promoting entrepreneurship - particularly focused on women involvment and high social/environmental impact activities - thus creating opportunities for youth employment and stimulating the internationalization of new businesses.
This business incubator represents an implementation of the so-called "triple helix" approach that links the three main actors involved in innovative processes - universities/research institutions, entreprises and institutions - to the new concept of development defined by the 2030 Agenda that gives a fundamental role to the private sector and to the growth of a local entrepreneurial class. In this perspective, two public entities are partners of the initiative - the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and the Micro Enterprise Support Program Trust (MESPT) belonging to the Ministry of Industry - and two private actors - the Tangaza University College (TUC) and the Kenyan National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).
The presentation ceremony, on June 13th, was attended by the Italian Ambassador in Kenya Mauro Massoni, the Head of office of AICS Nairobi Teresa Savanella, the Principal Secretary for the Vocational and Technical Training Kevit Desai, the CEO of the E4Impact Foundation Mario Molteni, and the E4Impact manager for East Africa David Cheboryot.
The business ideas, mainly operating in sectors of excellence of Italian companies such as agro-food, leather goods, and fashion, were selected among 250 applications through a competitive process that took into account elements such as the business model, the human capital, the potential impact of the accelerator's contribution, and potential opportunities for future investments. As a demonstration of the high participation by the local and the Italian civil society, several of the selected companies focus on local communities, through a participatory approach aimed at involving people and encouraging the development within the same community group.
Ambassador Massoni recalled that the reason why the incubator focuses on the areas of Italy's excellences is given by the willingness to share, with Kenyan companies, those mistakes and those successes that put the Italian companies at the level are known for today globally
Teresa Savanella stressed how, in line with the laws directing the Italian Cooperation, is envisaged the search for opportunities for collaboration with various development actors such as civil society, universities and the private sector - particularly social entreprises. Furthermore, she wished that the project could produce a favorable learning environment also thanks to the possibility for the Italian private sector to provide its know-how in support of the creation of decent jobs.
During the implementation phase, local start-ups will be connected with Italian companies operating in similar sectors in order to ensure the learning of business models, and to share the best practices that can be applied in Kenya. In addition, the entreprises will have access to funds to develop their business ideas, and will access to professional consulting services in marketing, legal assistance, and accounting. Throughout the incubation process, the entreprises will be able to take advantage of the incubator facilities, as well as to receive international and local coaching and tutoring.
Among the ideas in is worth to mention the social incubator Jikaze Utafulu - committ yourself and you will be successful, presented by the Italian NGO SVI through the project No one out!. The project focuses on fighting against crime, prostitution and drug use through microfinance programs that allow the strengthening of existing companies and the provision of scholarships for those in need.