Kenyan youth enablement organisation The Arena has launched My Nairobi, an initiative that aims to give young people with unconventional ideas the opportunity to share their innovations in front of an audience, network and win money at regular “Pitch It” events.
“Pitch It” will be open to all, and gives audience members a chance to network, listen to the ideas and vote for the winning idea.
Founder Tessy Maritim told Disrupt Africa the goal was to support unconventional ideas through providing a platform for young entrepreneurs to access funding in a democratic way while also working with organisations to offer robust support in the initial stages of actualizing ideas.
“My Nairobi fills the gap that is left when incubation centers and funding platforms primarily support business ideas. Ideas that are social or political fall in this bracket,” she said.
The Arena team believes the growth of enterprise and innovation in Kenya in the past few years has been “monumental”, and a key driver of the country’s economic growth. Yet despite an increase in rhetoric on entrepreneurship, there are still a significant number of young people who lack financial and structural support to implement their ideas.
My Nairobi is designed to fill this gap, with Maritim saying the platform is unique because, unlike funding provided by large-scale investors, it gives a diverse audience the power to decide which ideas they believe should be funded.
“We believe a democratic decision-making process ensures that a broader range of interests are represented,” she said.
By Tom Jackson