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Airbus asks local companies to fund start-ups for better products

Nairobi Innovation Week Startup Ecosystem Forum
Guests follow proceedings at the Nairobi Innovation Week Startup Ecosystem Forum at the University of Nairobi on June 11, 2019. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Planes maker Airbus has said established Kenyan firms must fund startups to create commercial products to help improve own quality of goods.

Speaking at the ongoing Startup Ecosystem Forum in Nairobi, Airbus Bizlab Coach, Soraya Ferahtia, said ignoring startups amounted to setting the stage for disruption, which has seen many once profitable companies go under.

“Do not look at small companies as rivals but give them grants to nurture their idea into products; keep active tabs on their activities and you will generate new momentum that refreshes your thinking hence better products that will outlive your generation,” she said.

The forum, at the University of Nairobi, heard there was a need for establishment of a platform where companies as well as multinationals- engaged startups with a view to choosing the ones they could fund.

The collaboration with startups helps generate new products, business ideas and keep the competition at bay since corporate companies were always alive to strengths of rivals.


Make-IT Africa junior advisor Gideon Berhane, Merck accelerator programme manager Herve Kubwimana and Mobitech Water Solution founder Kelvin Gacheru supported startups-corporates collaboration, saying the firmss would enjoy access to technical expertise as well as access funds essential for fast-tracking actualisation of their project ideas.

The event, that concludes with pitching on Friday, saw six firms win this year’s startup competition.

They included early startups Arinifu Technologies (a digitized chick rearing platform) and Bio-Afriq Energy.