Global Alliance Africa collaboration set to strengthen Kenya’s investment pipeline

Posted on: 09/11/2022

Innovate UK KTN's Innovation Canvas was rolled out in South Africa in August 2022. Building on the success of the training, the Global Alliance Africa team worked with the Association of Startup and SMEs Enablers of Kenya (ASSEK) and the Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs in Kenya to deliver training to Kenya companies and this too was a great success!

Kenya is a regional leader in innovation in Eastern Africa, with Nairobi and Mombasa claiming the top spots on the 2022 National Startup ranking. While Mombasa is known for its tourism industry which generates millions of shillings every year, the StartupBlink Global Startup Ecosystem Map has revealed that the county has shown a negative momentum decreasing -135 spots since 2021.

To support increased capital inflows to the region’s wide innovation community in cities and enhance inclusion of innovation communities in secondary and tertiary towns, Global Alliance Africa at Innovate UK KTN recently collaborated with the Association of Startup and SMEs Enablers of Kenya (ASSEK) and the Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs. This was done to train innovation hubs and entrepreneur support organisations (ESOs) on KTN’s Innovation Canvas. The Canvas is designed to help entrepreneurs create value from innovation and identify the changes needed to make their ideas succeed.

Global Alliance Africa’s Country Lead for Kenya, Sheilah Birgen, says:

Our aim for this training was to build the understanding of the investment pipeline for ESOs, as well as their capacity, so that they are able to help provide the right investment knowledge resources to their communities and to  scale entrepreneurs.

Birgen adds that the Innovation Canvas essentially allows initiatives to look at the business holistically and provides a framework for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a specific project, product or service. In doing so, users of the canvas can identify the most urgent challenges to overcome, and prioritise what action to take. Working in collaboration with ASSEK, seven innovation hubs took part  in this initial pilot programme, representing a combination of privately-owned and university-back organisations,.

Working in collaboration with ACWIH, KTN was able to conduct training on the Innovation Canvas for ten regional leads  in Mombasa.  The regional leads came from Lodwar, Garissa, Kitui, Kakamega, Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombasa, Torongo, and Nyeri, to mention just a few. This approach was a deliberate attempt to encourage inclusivity and knowledge transfer. According to Birgen, this training is a first step to creating a localised resource for entrepreneurs, both at the county and national levels, to ensure that Kenya becomes a hub for innovation and ensuring that the investment pipeline is strengthened across the country.

This is the first time that two major associations, ASSEK and Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs have come together to work with one partner – Global Alliance Africa, to ensure that Kenya becomes an innovation hub. This also indicates to us that both associations are in agreement that such hubs are a need for a country like Kenya to grow and support entrepreneurs across the country, Birgen concludes.

Click here to learn more about the Innovation Canvas.

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About Global Alliance Africa

The Global Alliance Africa project is a six-year project funded by UK Aid through Innovate UK (GCRF) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Four project-level interventions were piloted in 2021 in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa with one of the interventions focused on Open Innovation.

For more information about the project, please visit

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