University of Nairobi plans hubs for innovators

University of Nairobi VC Peter Mbithi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
University of Nairobi VC Peter Mbithi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The University of Nairobi (UoN) plans to open incubation hubs across the country to facilitate commercialisation of homegrown innovations.

Vice-chancellor Peter Mbithi sees the project as a sustainable way of solving social challenges.

Inventors of products that are demand-driven will be assisted to commercialise them at the proposed hubs.

During Wednesday’s official opening of this year’s Nairobi Innovation Week, Prof Mbithi urged inventors across all fields to publicise their innovations during such events so as to attract investors who would help them expand their production lines.

“Increased partnerships between universities and external industries build confidence (acceptance) of local products on an international platform where local innovators will enjoy favourable mention in the market,” he said.

Education minister Amina Mohamed pledged to support research in universities, saying the promotion of the knowledge economy unlock new revenue sources and jobs.

“The Kenyan curriculum is being reviewed to nurture and prepare learners into becoming solution providers against the current norm of a consuming public. The time to disrupt processes in manufacturing, business models as well as how we shop is now,” she said.

Prof Mbithi added the Nairobi Innovation Week had created a new launchpad for various products where industry executives and angel investors meet innovators during special sessions to pitch for funding.

“Participation of industries gives universities a forum to showcase their innovations thereby redefining our role in society from purveyors of knowledge to practical influencers of tomorrow’s innovators for new products, services and jobs,” he said.

Barclays Bank #ticker:BBK managing director Jeremy Awori said financial technological innovations could no longer be ignored, adding they were using instant messaging (ChatBots), utilising Facebook’s new artificial intelligence technology and planned to introduce digital self-service corners in all branches.