KeNIA CEO: For the Country to improve on innovation, we must start from the grassroots

Lawrence Otieno - Communications & Marketing | 18 November, 2021

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Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) Chief Executive Officer Dr. Tonny Omwansa has said that the agency will work with partners to scout for innovations at the grassroots levels.

While addressing students, faculty and innovators today Nov 18, 2021 at the 11th Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Tech Expo, Dr. Omwansa stated that the agency aims to consolidate grassroots innovation efforts to showcase the best innovations in the annual national innovation forum dubbed, Kenya Innovation Week.

“As a Country, we succeed in athletics because we have grassroots efforts that culminate in a national event. We also want to consolidate grassroots efforts in innovation such as this tech expo to showcase the best in our annual innovation forum otherwise known as Kenya Innovation Week,” said Dr. Omwansa.

The former don however challenged the University to be the primary consumers of the innovations by students adding that the institution should also introduce a common unit on Intellectual Property management and exploitation.

“It is good that the institution is supporting and showcasing these ideas. The University is itself an incubator and should also be the primary consumers of some of these innovations I have seen around. Our interest is how they actually move to market and scale,” he said.

The varsity’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Victoria Ngumi noted that the institution has made strides to enhance innovation by helping students organize such innovation forums, and has moreover introduced a compulsory Entrepreneurship unit to inculcate entrepreneurial culture in the students.

The yearly tech expo is organized and run by the JKUAT undergraduate students and exhibits ideas and prototypes that are yearning for support to scale up. Dr. Omwansa however says the expo should be scaled to be a regional innovation event where other Universities can also exhibit their innovations.