Six tech start-ups from Uasin Gichu County have been awarded KES 1 million through the Mozilla Mashinani tech-innovation challenge. The challenge was launched by Mozilla Africa Mradi and the Gladys Boss Foundation (GBF) during a workshop for tech-startups and students held in Eldoret. The startups will receive further training and guidance on how to improve their ideas and products.
The six startups that were selected are Tindo, My Shule, Mche, Mama Fua, Lifeline, and M-Rafiki.
Tindo is a video on demand platform that targets filmmakers from various communities in the region who are producing indigenous films. My Shule is an app that provides a safe and convenient way to transport students to school and back home through a live bus map.
Mche offers a comprehensive solution to smallholder farmers, providing them with advisory services on the best crops to grow in their respective geographical areas. Mama Fua is a mobile application that links households to trained and vetted housekeepers, providing safe and convenient access to cleaning services. Lifeline provides quick access to critical medical information during emergencies and supports individuals with disabilities and those unable to communicate on their own behalf.
M-Rafiki is a platform for people to connect and interact while also being able to access services and businesses that they may need. Gavo Foods, which manufactures gluten-free, keto organic flours that will help break the cycle of poverty and lifestyle diseases and support smallholder farmers, was also recognized.
The Mashinani Initiative aims to democratize Kenya’s technology and innovation ecosystem and level the startup playing field, particularly for youth outside metropolitan cities. The initiative is anchored on the Mozilla Africa Mradi, which seeks to catalyze innovation through developing new and deeper relationships with in-region partners to learn more about the intersection of African product needs and capacity gaps.
“The Gladys Boss Foundation (GBF) is working with Mozilla’s Africa Mradi to ensure that tech innovators outside Nairobi and metropolitan counties have equal opportunities and platforms to showcase their innovations, are exposed to how venture capital investments work, and are trained on startup accelerator opportunities available to them in the continent and globally,” said Hon. Gladys Boss, Deputy Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly and GBF Founder.
The Mashinani Initiative will culminate in the first-of-its-kind Mozilla Africa Mradi innovation challenge to be held in Nairobi in June 2023. The innovation challenge will identify and support tech entrepreneurs/startups and tech students through an acceleration program that will provide technical support, access to grants, and ultimately, market access for their products.
Kenya is the regional ICT hub of East Africa, with the country being a leader in broadband connectivity and general ICT infrastructure and home to more than 300 tech startups. With the rise of digital technology and the internet, many entrepreneurs have leveraged investment opportunities from venture capital institutions that have set up shop in Nairobi. The Mozilla Mashinani tech-innovation challenge provides an opportunity for startups in other regions of the country to access funding, training, and support, and to showcase their innovations.