The Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) unveiled their new Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Tonny Omwansa and showcased their ambitious four year roadmap (2020-2024) in an event held at Park Inn, Nairobi.
The agency whose core mandate is to develop and manage the National Innovation System and responsible for co-ordination and promotion of the National Innovation Ecosystem has been without a substantive CEO since its establishment under the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Act, No. 28 of 2013 under the Ministry of Education.
Tonny Omwansa who has a PhD in Information Systems joins the agency with a great wealth of experience in the innovation space, having founded Nairobi Innovation Week (NIW), C4DLab Innovation Hub, authored MPesa book – Money Real Quick and boasts of over 10 years University experience as a faculty member.
The agency’s roadmap will comprise two key pillars; Research Commercialization Support and Startup Ecosystem Support, aiming to sustainably support commercialization of over 1000 innovations from individuals, TVETs, Universities and Research Centers by attracting and nurturing appropriate partnerships, in addition to identifying and transforming 10,000 idea stage, 1,000 growth stage, and 100 high impact startups.
New Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) CEO Dr. Tonny Omwansa, speaking during the unveiling of the Agency's roadmap at Park Inn by Radisson, Nairobi.
On Commercialization, Dr. Omwansa said that “Working with partners, KeNIA is building a digital innovation bridge to support linking research outputs to industry partners.” The former don added that the digital platform will link innovations and research to market, partners, funders, and consumers to accelerate commercialization. He further urged the government to create policies to explicitly link science, technology, and innovation with economic & employment growth.
Dr. Omwansa who founded the Nairobi Innovation Week, indicated that KeNIA will work with a number of partners to roll out Kenya Innovation Week that will climax the innovation activities on an annual basis.
Speaking during the same event, Education CAS, Hon. Zack Kinuthia said the state wants KeNIA to support the dissemination of research findings to the community beneficiaries, adding that the propositions to establish incubation and innovation hubs in universities, TVETs and research centers, is a valuable way to catalyze commercialization of research.
Education CAS, Hon. Zack Kinuthia speaking during the unveiling of KeNIA's new CEO.
The CAS however recognized the financial and human resource deficiencies facing the agency assuring the ecosystem players that the government will address the situation.
“At these initial stages, KeNIA has a small budget and a very lean staff. We are going to support KeNIA to ensure that it has the financial and human resources necessary to execute on its mandate”, he said.