Driving Kenya’s development through startup ecosystems


Kenya’s startup ecosystem remains a competitive destination for VC investment in Africa with a growth projected to grow of  USD 3 billion this year to USD 10 billion in 2022.

To take stock of the growth of the startup ecosystem, the  Association of StartUp and SME Enablers of Kenya ( ASSEK) held its second annual conference at the Crowne Plaza Upperhill Nairobi on the 26th of November 2021.

The event attended by the PS Ministry of East African Community (EAC) Dr Kevit Desai, Nairobi Senator, Johnson Sakaja, ASSEK board and various stakeholders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

This year’s conference theme  “Driving Kenya’s development through startup ecosystems” meant to spur and drive collaborative frameworks among different ecosystem players. With the growth of Kenya’s entrepreneurship innovation, there has been a need to combine efforts between players in the sector to create an enabling environment for growth. This year’s conference will allow participants a chance to understand the role of the Start-Up Bill in establishing a legal policy.

Speaking during the Conference, Senator Sakaja recognised the role of the Start-Up Bill in mainstreaming Kenya’s entrepreneurship innovation sector stating that it would provide a legal framework and assist startups in attracting capital. He also reiterated the need for collaboration among stakeholders, “ My vision is that as a country we need to work together to embrace our people who create opportunities via start-ups,” said Sakaja. 

“ Prioritizing the tech sector in matters economic savvy, the government should intervene to support start-ups. ASSEK can help by playing a facilitating role by measuring data which can help the government know potential areas of investment.”

Also present at the event, was the ASSEK Chairperson Dr Robert Karanja who stated that with the growth in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, there was a need to utilise the startup ecosystem as a vehicle to steer development that would integrate with the Big 4 Agenda. 

Since the inception of the first innovation hub in Kenya, the startup ecosystem has experienced rapid growth since 2007 when there were a few hubs that have since grown into hundreds with ASSEK having 70 plus members within its past two years of existence

ASSEK  being an association of  hubs and Entrepreneurship Support organisations strive to create enabling environments and represent all the actors of the Kenyan startup and SMEs enablers ecosystem and actively promote the networking among its members and become the driving force for an entrepreneurial economic breakthrough of Kenya