Deadline: December 31, 2020 00:00 (CET)| Apply here
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Eligibility: All startups must be legally registered businesses with annual revenue not exceeding Kshs. 30 million

Nairobi Innovation Challenge 2021

The Nairobi Innovation Challenge provides the opportunity for early-stage startups to get recognition and be rewarded as the Most Promising Startups of 2021.

The focus of the Nairobi Innovation Challenge is to reward startups that have innovative solutions to the problems society faces today.


The Nairobi Innovation Challenge will be divided into five categories. Four startups will be short-listed under each category, with all twenty making 5 minutes pitches at the NIW Startup Summit March 12th 2021.

  • Manufacturing

This category focusses on any startups involved in any aspect of the manufacturing sector from carrying out manufacturing activities to providing support to manufacturing enterprises

  • Food security

This category seeks startups involved anywhere along the value chain from farm to plate. These could especially focus on post-harvest losses, improved production, access to cheaper inputs, better storage facilities, and so on.

  • Affordable housing

Participation in this category is limited only by your imagination. Housing ranges from the brick and mortar aspects to financing models of construction and for ownership.

  • Health

Are you a startup involved in any part of the health sector? If so this is your category. This includes software applications, health care products, health services, training in health, among others.

  • Cross-cutting

The last category is looking for all other startups that do not belong in any of the above categories but are cross-cutting in that they could be in support all. These could include startups involved in FinTech, transport, the environment, energy, and so on.


Judges awards for a top startup in each category:

  • Cash prizes
  • Solutions Oriented Needs Assessment (SONA) + follow up workshop, courtesy of Afribusiness LLP (Value Ksh 250,000)
  • All awards under all applicants and Top 20 startups

Peoples awards for a top startup in each category

  • Cash prizes

Awards for top 20 startups

  • One-Day pitching training, courtesy ABSA Bank
  • Two-Day Capacity Building Training, courtesy University of Nairobi and Partners.
  • Solutions Oriented Needs Assessment (SONA) Courtesy of Afribusiness LLP (Value Ksh 50,000)
  • 70% Discount on the cost to Exhibit at the NIW Innovation Exhibition (March 10-12, 2021)
  • All awards under “All Applicants”

Awards for all applicants

  • Digital Business Planner, courtesy of Afribusiness LLP (Value Ksh 10,000)

Interested in applying for the the Nairobi Innovation Challenge 2021? Register your participation by following the registration link and taking the suggested steps.

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