The Nairobi Innovation Week that ended on 9th March 2018 had attracted over 100 exhibitors, over 4000 delegates and in excess of 500 startups that applied for the various startup competitions at the event. The startup agenda was the heart of this year’s event. NIW2018 had 2 standout startup competitions, the AFDB High 5’s Startup Challenge and the NIW.Startups program which had 100 pitches.

The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and the Nairobi Innovation Week (NIW) partnered to run a joint annual challenge that focused on the Bank’s High 5 priorities; Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. The competition targeted startups from all over the region including startups from Rwanda and Burundi. AFDB support came in the form of designing the competition and inviting startups that are focusing on the banks High 5 priority areas: Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. Over 270 startups from the region applied.

Judges were drawn from multisectoral sectors within the region.  The judges were:

  1. Gloria Muhoro – Gender, Technology and Innovation expert AfDB
  2. Amrote Abdella –  Regional Director for Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative
  3. Winnie Odhiambo – a seasoned Finance & Investment Professional with an average of 12 years’ experience in diverse disciplines in Finance including but not limited to Private Equity, Investment Banking, Corporate Finance and Impact Investing. She is currently the Associate Director & Partner for Africa at I-DEV International, where she heads the Africa team based in the Nairobi office.
  4. John Kieti – NIW.Startups coordinator.

The winning startups needed to address one of the AfDB High 5 priorities to stand a chance in winning and to demonstrate impact and evidence of sustainability. Below is the tabulation for the 5 thematic areas against the number of startups that applied.

Category Number of Startup Applicants
Across East Africa region
Light up Africa 22
Integrate Africa 26
Industrialize Africa 33
Feed Africa 85
Improve Life Quality 109
Total Applications 275

Here are the winning startups and Congratulations to them.

Category Winner per category based on
independent evaluation by experts
Light up Africa Solargent Technologies
Integrate Africa Flare
Industrialize Africa Eco-act
Feed Africa Sweet and Dried
Improve Life Quality Bento Energy

 The winning startups were awarded USD 1000 from AFDB in support of their innovation. They were also awarded a placard in recognition of their innovation in addition to being facilitated to attend the Nairobi Innovation Week 2018 for winning startups outside Kenya.We look forward to growing this partnership in subsequent years starting with NIW2019 where AFDB High 5’s challenge will be bigger and a mainstream event during the innovation week.Look out for more posts on NIW2018 and remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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