The Nai Lab initiatives aiming to give entrepreneurs the same chance those in the city have to get their innovations exposure and seen by the right people and investors.
Josephine Mwangi, the organisation’s public relations and branding liaison, said the programme is designed to equip people with the tools needed to grow a business within certain parameters.
“A business that has gone through business incubation has a higher chance of succeeding compared to one that has not been incubated because you will get mentors, coaching and be trained in addition to getting the tools that are needed to grow the business within certain parameters,” said Mwangi.
She added that the virtual programme was the best way to go, citing huge expenses as the reason why they did not opt to have a physical presence in the areas they are going to present the programme.
Additionally, the entrepreneurs have a higher chance of succeeding in the counties as opposed to all of them travelling to Nairobi where the market is saturated.
The first phase of the virtual incubation programme will start as a pilot project that will take three months and will held at universities in towns including Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu and Nakuru.
“We are partnering with local universities for the programme as they already have the infrastructure and this is a programme that will really help in developing the counties,” she added.
“Some of the universities we have approached include Mombasa Technical University, Maseno University Inoorero University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).”
Techpreneurs can get into the programme by applying to one of Nailab’s incubators, ideasafrica.com by July 31, where they will be vetted by a panel.
Successful applicants will be eligible for the programme which will start in mid August.
Once they are chosen, the participants will work from the universities and a dedicated trainer will be assigned to them offer training, support market research and teach marketing skills.
Nai Lab will also visit the towns once a month where they will have hackathons and check on the progress of the participants. This is because while virtual incubation makes everything simpler, there is a need for some physical presence.
The virtual incubator is free thanks to a KSh140 million (US$1.6 million) sponsorship from the government that was meant to facilitate the growth of startups across the country.
Already there has been 60 companies apply.
Once the program is done there will be a follow-up to gauge the progress of the participants. If the pilot programme is successful the Nai Lab will be looking into coming up with similar programmes in future.