Six startups steal show at Nairobi Innovation Challenge

Benard Chiira
Association of Startup and SME Enablers of Kenya(ASSEK) chairman Benard Chiira participating in a discussion during the launch of Nairobi Innovation week 2019 at Intercontinental hotel in Nairobi on April 16,2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG 

Six startups are set to receive an entrepreneurship training scholarship after they were selected as the most promising enterprises in the country.

Arinifu, Bentos Energy, Bioafriq Energy, Green Pavers, Kencoco and Sulmak Agencies were part of the 30 startups that pitched at the Nairobi Innovation Challenge.

Judges were impressed by the innovativeness of the six startups, all in the early and growth stages of business.

They are now set to pitch to investors, potential partners and celebrity judges during the Innovation Summit slated for June 13 to 14 at the University of Nairobi.

The summit is a culmination of the Nairobi Innovation Week 2019 an event to support and accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region.


Aside from the training scholarship, the six startups will receive complimentary passes to the Innovation Summit and get a free exhibition booth exhibition, among other prizes.

Tech firm Arinifu provides the ‘Smart Brooder,’ an environmental control device which ensures that the conditions in the brooding space are kept within optimal levels.

Bentos Energy recycles waste biomass into affordable smokeless charcoal briquettes and organic fertiliser.

Bioafriq Energy fabricates pellet-fired dehydrators for drying farm produce and smokeless pellet-fired cook stoves.

Social enterprise Green Pavers addresses affordable housing social challenge through use of waste materials generated from households and industries.

Kencoco makes and sells charcoal briquettes from recycled agricultural coconut waste and charcoal dust.

Silmak Agencies manufactures end-to-end menstrual hygiene products from cotton sanitary pads, adult pampers to sanitary pad vending/dispensing machines and sanitary pad incinerators.

The six startups will be the face of Nairobi Innovation Week 2019.