Prof. Peter Mbithi, the University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, is among the brains behind C4DLab’s Start-up Incubation/Acceleration Strategy
By March 7 this year, C4DLab had solidly decided to make a smart move in entrepreneurship innovation.
The decision was unanimously reached after it crafted and launched the start-up Incubation/Acceleration Strategy which, other than spelling out key growth measures, it is mandating stakeholders to achieve key milestones by certain short periods.
Hence, to implement its research function, the innovation hub, by end year, should have reviewed the University of Nairobi Ph.D programs to ensure most research projects produce incubate-able prototypes.
In addition, research into the development and implementation of product development /promotional criteria, product recognition schemes, and start-up creation criteria will have commenced before the year ends.
Connected with the above are studies into the “Lean Methodology” management, before being introduced to faculty; review of the UoN Computing program, allowing compulsory 4th year practical project/star-up internships at the C4D Center, and comprehensive review of Msc.programs, ensuring proper alignment with tangible product development. This process should be accomplished by 2019.
On branding and positioning, everything should have fallen into place also by 2019. The action steps will entail C4DLab developing an effective marketing strategy, subscribing to the global indices such as UBI index, upscaling content marketing (blogging, social media, and so on), implementing mechanisms increasing back links to C4Dlab websites, and developing a unique branding strategy and guidelines.
Moreover, the funding of activities at the lab should be able to provide appropriate and adequate capital for start-ups, produce a self-sustaining C4DLab with state-of-the-art facilities, and so on. As a result, work on the following will begin and continue indefinitely:
The acquisition of operational funding from University budget, implementation of an in-house investment fund followed by investment in start-ups through UNES; implementation of an alumni fund-raising and corporate and private partnership programs, government support acquisition, and establishment of a technical training program. By the time an R&D team is established and working, it will be 2019. Also, C4DLab will have forged working relationships with angel investors as well as venture capitalists.
From left is the DVC Research Production and Extension Prof. Lucy Irungu, Vice Chancellor Prof. Peter Mbithi, and Chancellor Dr. Vijoo Rattansi of University of Nairobi at the Incubation Strategy forum held in Naivasha from March 5 to 7 this year.
When the Innovation and enterprise acceleration center is put up, the following should be realized: scalable enterprises nurtured through the pre-incubation, early-stage and growth-stage acceleration programs. To that end, the pre-incubation program will be initiated this year alongside call for applications and growth-stage acceleration program.
Partnerships between the private sector, Government and innovation ecosystem partners should be able to yield productive MoUs, joint projects, as well as funds.
About the writer
Moses Omusolo is the Social Media Manager, C4DLab.