Nairobi Innovation Challenge 2021 for Early Stage Startups

Nairobi Innovation Challenge 2021 for Early Stage Startups

Deadline: December 31, 2020

Applications are open for the Nairobi Innovation Challenge 2021. The challenge provides the opportunity for early stage startups to get recognition and be rewarded as the Most Promising Startups of 2021.

The Nairobi Innovation Challenge 2021 will be divided into five categories:

  • Manufacturing: This category focuses on any startups involved in the any aspect of the manufacturing sector from carrying out manufacturing activities to providing support to manufacturing enterprises
  • Food Security: This category seeks startups involved anywhere along the value chain from farm to plate. These could especially focus on post-harvest losses, improved production, access to cheaper inputs, better storage facilities, and so on.
  • Affordable Housing: Participation in this category is limited only by your imagination. Housing ranges from the brick and mortar aspects, to financing models of construction and for ownership.
  • Health: Are you a startup involved in any part of the health sector? If so this is your category. This includes software applications, health care products, health services, training in health, among others.
  • Cross-cutting: The last category is looking for all other startups that do not belong in any of the above categories, but are cross-cutting in that they could be in support all. These could include startups involved in FinTech, transport, the environment, energy, and so on.


Winning startups will receive:

  • Solutions Oriented Needs Assessment (SONA) + follow up workshop, courtesy of Afribusiness LLP (Value Ksh 250,000);
  • One-Day pitching training, courtesy ABSA Bank;
  • Two-Day Capacity Building Training, courtesy University of Nairobi and Partners;
  • Solutions Oriented Needs Assessment (SONA) Courtesy of Afribusiness LLP (Value Ksh 50,000);
  • 70% Discount on the cost to Exhibit at the NIW Innovation Exhibition (March 10-12, 2021);
  • Digital Business Planner, courtesy of Afribusiness LLP (Value Ksh 10,000).


  • Open to early stage startups in Kenya;
  • All startups must be legally registered businesses with an annual revenue not exceeding Kshs. 30 million;
  • Previous NIW Startup Pitch Winners are not eligible.


Applications Open for Early Stage Startup Registration. This will involve completing an application form as well as preparing and uploading a 1 minute video pitch of your startup, emphasizing what is innovative about your product or service and why you think it will achieve traction in the market. 

Click here to apply

For more information, visit Nairobi Innovation Challenge.