Impact Week, run in July this year, was a week-long event which was hosted by Africa Nazarene University in Nairobi, Kenya. The event created a space in which entrepreneurs met with experts from around the world, as well as providing a launching ground for start-up incubators. Of the 17 ideas developed at the event, 8 received seed funding as well as scholarships to the university’s incubator. The event was supported and organised by a wide range of organisations, including two consulting firms, Scenarium Group and BearingPoint.
To help young and enthusiastic entrepreneurs from all walks of life, several partners in Kenya earlier this year joined forces to organise ‘Impact Week’. The week-long event allows a group of people from around to world to unite under the goal of developing sustainable business models using different innovation techniques. This year was the first Impact Week, with the projects long term goal the development of a rich start-up scene for the local economy. This year’s event was held late July at Africa Nazarene University (ANU) in Nairobi, Kenya.
As part of this year’s event, the conference was also used to develop a start-up incubator at the university. The event saw 17 concepts for start-ups developed with the support of alumni of the ANU and the team of 20 innovation experts from Germany. Of the 17 concepts, 8 were selected by a jury of experts to receive seed funding as well as one-year scholarship to the newly founded ANU Incubation Centre which provides among others, mentoring support.
The event was supported by a number of (global) organisations, with main participants coming from Germany and Kenya. These include McCann Worldgroup, Hans Sauer Stiftung, Meal Mates, Profilwerkstatt and Inju as well as consulting firms Scenarium Group (a Berlin-based advisory founded in 2012) and BearingPoint. As co-organiser of the event, BearingPoint was active throughout and its team of advisors will accompany the Kenyan entrepreneurs as well as the operation of the incubator over the next year through a range of follow-up events in 2015 and 2016.
Reflecting on the event, Kiumars Hamidian, Partner at BearingPoint says: “Entrepreneurship and innovation are an integral part of our DNA. We operate an innovation platform and an incubator at BearingPoint, within which we promote ideas, concepts and methods for creating start-ups and the optimal environment for entrepreneurship. Our aim is to pass on the lessons we’ve learned from these projects to those who urgently need them and to provide start-up structures that provide opportunities.”
Lukas Bosch, co-organiser of the Impact Week, remarks: “In Africa, as in Europe, that sparkle in the eyes when an idea suddenly becomes tangible seems to be a constant. The team is always the most important. Only if everyone pulls together can an idea be turned into a true innovation. It’s necessary to work together and to accept right from the beginning that it’s only possible if everyone sees eye to eye.”