Mozilla Corporation and the Nairobi City County Government (NCCG) recently hosted the inaugural Mozilla Africa Mradi Innovation Challenge at the Arboretum Park in Nairobi. The event aimed to identify and support African tech entrepreneurs and students who can benefit from an acceleration program, grants, and market access for their innovative products.
Following an intensive pitching and selection process, three tech startups (Getpayd, Deaf Elimu, and Hali Halisi) and three student innovators (Classify Me, Audred, and Mama Pesa) emerged as winners. They were awarded grants totaling Ksh. 13 million and will receive technical assistance to further develop their products and establish a strong market presence.
The Mozilla Africa Mradi Innovation Challenge is part of an initiative to promote innovation rooted in the unique needs of African users. It provides a platform for tech start-ups and innovators to access grants and venture capital investments locally and globally. H.E Sakaja A. Johnson, speaking during the opening ceremony, emphasized the Nairobi City County Government’s commitment to supporting tech entrepreneurs and fostering access to funding opportunities.
The event also highlighted the establishment of an incubation hub at the Eastlands Library in Maringo Hamza Ward, providing support to over 20 startups in investor readiness and coding programs for children aged 7-13.
From 2015 Mozilla has distributed over $20 million through fellowships and awards to support individual and collective actions that nurture unique innovations that benefit communities.Mitchell Baker, CEO and Chairwoman, Mozilla Corporation
The 2022 Kenya Start-Up Ecosystem Report by Disrupt Africa revealed that Kenya is home to 308 active tech start-ups, employing over 11,000 individuals. However, only 50% of these start-ups, mainly in the Fintech sector, have undergone acceleration or incubation programs.
John Omo, Secretary-General of the African Telecommunication Union (ATU), emphasized the importance of advancing Africa’s digital economy. ATU works to establish harmonized digital economies in the African region through standardized policy and regulatory frameworks. Kenya, known for its access to digital infrastructure, is expected to witness a significant reliance on digital skills, with an estimated 55% of jobs relying on such skills by 2030, according to the Digital Economy Blueprint.
The Mozilla Africa Mradi Innovation Challenge represents a step forward in supporting African tech innovators and fostering the growth of the digital economy on the continent.