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Israel lessons on how to fund profitable start-ups

Arnon Abel
Israeli embassy head of economic mission Arnon Abel. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

An Israeli diplomat has advised Kenya to provide seed capital to startups to ignite a culture of innovation.

Speaking in Nairobi, Israel Embassy head of economic mission, Arnon Abel said Kenya must generate internal funds that startups can draw from in order to thrive.

“In the nineties, the Israeli government injected Sh100 billion which helped many startups implement their ideas. In some cases, the government suffered losses but in other projects that succeeded, the government got back its money,” he said.

He told a Startup Ecosystem Forum held in Nairobi that emergence of a vibrant startups ecosystem attracted multinational players that established research and development centres across Israel, which serve as incubation hubs for startups.

Israeli is closely working with Kenya to formulate a partnership deal that will see Kenyan and Israeli companies collaborate in trade.


“In Israel, the military, government, private businesses, academia and multinationals among other entities actively fund startups as a way of seeking new strategies to improve their businesses and be ahead of the pack.

“The research and development centres (Cyberhubs) enjoy funding from global multinationals keen on learning firsthand how to improve their products or service delivery channels,” he said.

Finland ambassador for innovations, Jarmo Sareva said failure of startup projects should not lead to despair in funding new enterprises.

“Governments and companies must support startup forums to spur networking among innovators. Companies use the forums to present problems that startups spend time seeking commercial solutions,” he said.