Kenya Hires UK Experts To Coach And Mentor Innovators

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives has hired a team of certified coaches from UK-based Vault Global to coach innovators.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives has hired a team of certified coaches from UK-based Vault Global to coach innovators.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives has hired a team of certified coaches from UK-based Vault Global to coach innovators.

The Ministry’s Enterprise Development Director, Jane Arang’a said coaching is necessary to model and scale up the techies’ ideas for commercialisation. The coaching will be continuous and next year they will show where they have reached, she said.

“We are going to train and provide mentorship to 30 groups of innovators who pitched their ideas last week. The team will help the startups get access to the right networks, finances and markets,” said Ms Arang’a.

She was speaking at the just concluded Nairobi Innovation Week at the University of Nairobi.

The first batch of 30 startups were picked from various institutions that support innovations.

These include Strathmore Business School, the University of Nairobi, National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation, Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute, Kenya Industrial Property Institute, Kenya Bureau of Standards.

The Vault Global Kenyan team consists of International Coaching Federation (ICF) certified business coaches and human capacity specialists. The firm also has operations in Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

Gap in scaling up SMEs

Timothy Oriedo, the co-founder and director of Vault Global, said there was a gap in scaling up small and medium-sized enterprises as well as micro enterprises in Kenya and the region.

Mr Oriedo says the gap becomes noticeable when one studies the time and investment that SMEs spend in order to scale up their businesses from one category to another.

“The other noticeable deficiency is access to capital where existing options available for SMEs are bank loan facilities which pose a challenge owing to the competitive nature of the interest rates regulatory environment,” he said.

Through the coaches, the Kenyan government aims to provide startups with access to knowledge about the changing business landscape and what entrepreneurs should do to adapt and succeed. SMEs which are registered with the Ministry of Industry will be tracked and their experiences over the next six months documented.

The coaching that this initial group of entrepreneurs receives, and the successes, will provide a model to inform future interventions that will be replicated across other sectors.

“Vault coaches started training these entrepreneurs even before they pitched tent to showcase at the Innovation week,” said Redempta Oyeyo, the deputy director for Enterprise Development at the ministry.

“We are interested in job and wealth creation. We are bringing the coaches on board to support the entrepreneurs to commercialise their ideas.”

Coaches stand as accountability partners to motivate and push SMEs to market points, said David Odhiambo, Vault Global’s director. He explained that entrepreneurs’ daily goals will be reviewed every evening to point out challenges, learnings, and success stories.

– Business Daily