Kenyans are a lot of things and not with exception, innovators. It is a fact that most Kenyan universities and research institutions are full of brilliant innovations but actually very few are able to scale. To bridge this gap, the Kenya National Innovation agency in collaboration with Kenyatta University unveiled the Research 2 Commercialisation Program by holding the R2C boot camp on 28th February and 1st March at the Safari Park Hotel.
Attended by members of the research community from universities, technical colleges and research institutions as well as individuals, the R2C boot camp marked the introduction of the 5 month training program that will train innovators and researchers on how to ensure they commercialise the innovations that they put so much effort to develop.
KeNIA CEO, Dr. Tonny Omwansa, notified the attendees that the boot camp was intended as a teaser of the main R2C program, which is among the many, brilliant plans that KeNIA has planned for the innovation ecosystem. He further urged researchers to keep an open mind when de-learning about innovations.
“As a researcher or innovator you cannot be the judge of whether your innovation is good. It is up to the consumer.”
KeNIA CEO - Dr. Tonny Omwansa
The boot camp addressed among other topics; how to successfully turn research-projects into businesses, generating market driven research projects, De-learning what was believed in launching business and the critical techniques to commercialise research projects.
The boot camp facilitator, Ahmed Abdulwahab, CEO, Next Arabia, challenged the researchers that the reason why most of their innovations were not scaling is because of their researcher mindset. He urged researchers to either develop an entrepreneurial mindset or bring on board business people or entrepreneurs to help them package their innovations into scalable businesses.
He further outlined that understanding the critical difference between research and business is the key to having more scalable innovations. He argued that simple issues such as the language gap between investors and researchers, conducting a simple market fit, understanding the real value of innovations and design thinking could change the state of commercialisation that is why he continued to urge innovators and researchers to be part of the firsts R2C cohort.
“The key to commercializing innovations is developing innovations that begin from what people want, because people will buy what they need then the innovators can proceed to feasibility and finally to business viability”
Ahmed Adulwahab - CEO, Next Arabia
The Research to Commercialisation (R2C) once rolled out will have two sessions per week over five months. The weekly sessions will also include customer validations. The R2C program will offer innovators and researchers the opportunity to develop their individual business models customised for their innovations and in-depth learning sessions on commercialising innovations.