Boost for Kenya's startup ecosystem

Barclays bank is looking to tap into the innovation ecosystem in Africa under the Barclays Rise Innovation programme to be launched in Kenya.

Derek White, chief design and digital officer at Barclays said, "We are bringing our platform to light up the local investments here in Kenya."

"Barclays is going to unlock the assets that we have in Kenya and globally, to become customers in these start-ups," he added.

White urged local players to help the company to shape the ecosystem where startups with innovative ideas can tap into multinationals such as Barclays.

On his part, the Cabinet Secretary of Information, Communication and Technology, Dr. Fred Matiang'i, also announced that the government body established to fund local start-ups named, Enterprise Kenya will be launched no later than October.

"At the end of this quarter we are formally launching Enterprise Kenya," Matiang'i said.

"We want to fund Kenyan innovators, from those who need US$1,000 to those who need US$10,000. It will be a direct partnership between the government and the private sector," he added.

Sources speculate that the Enterprise Kenya fund will be a matching fund where private investors will be asked to match the funds given to startups to de-risk their investments by 50 percent.

Matiang'i also announced that Jeremy Awori, the CEO of Barclays Kenya will be part of the board of Enterprise Kenya that will steer the fund management.

All these announcements were made during Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge, a pan-African challenge that will seek to solve the supply chain issues in Africa.

The challenge will employ the use of Blockchain technology which cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are built on. Blockchain technology is designed to enable easy trace of business processes, such as supply chain management, and make transactions more transparent.

The challenge is opened for all industries that deal with the supply chain model and would like to disrupt the industry with new innovations.

The winner of the challenge will be awarded US$10,000 in November this year.