Principal Secretary Betty Maina, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperatives

Images by Merryl Omondi, Make-IT in Africa 


The Start-up Policy Hackathon took place at the Nairobi Safari Club Hotel on June 10th, 2019. It was hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperatives (MITC) and supported by the GIZ Make-IT in Africa programme.

The hackathon applied the Global Entrepreneurship Network Startup Nations Policy Hack concept. This concept is designed to help the public and private sector including entrepreneurs and enablers to co-design solutions that will have a higher chance of tackling specific problems that have been identified. Seasoned policy maker peers, joined the policy hack teams to guide the process and provide feedback.

The event brought together a core team of over 50 decision makers, entrepreneurs, academia, research institutions, innovation hubs, development partners, and financial institutions. The team presented the most pressing challenges and co-created policy interventions to address these challenges, including

  • Access to affordable financing
  • Limited access to research and innovation facilities
  • Limited access to certified and affordable business development services
  • Unfavourable policy environment such as lack of a legal definition for start-ups, high taxes, e.g.
  • Lack of proper coordination of the entrepreneur ecosystem

Some proposed interventions included

  • Creation of a digital information hub for the ecosystem
  • Improved access to affordable risk capital for start-ups
  • Create framework to facilitate technology transfer to new innovators

The enablers of the represented at the session included MITC & GIZ representatives, entrepreneurs, Association of Start-up & SME Enablers of Kenya, METTA, iHub, Viktoria Ventures, DFID, USAID, British Chamber of Commerce, Invest in Africa, British High Commission, World Bank Group, Finnish Embassy, Villgro Kenya, Social Enterprise Society of Kenya, Kenya Revenue Authority, Barclays Bank, UNICEF, Kenya Private Sector Association, Kenya Association of Manufacturers, University of Nairobi, Strathmore University, iBIZ, and Nailab, among others.

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