Cisco aims to empower SMMEs in Kenya by aligning with ‘Big 4 Agenda’

Cisco has launched a KES 69 million Incubation HUB in Kenya.

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David Bunei, General Manager (GM) for Cisco East Africa and IOI explains how the Cisco EDGE Hub works to Dr. Katherine Getao, CEO ICT Authority. Photo by Arthur Kuwashima.

Cisco has announced the launch of an incubation Centre that will impart business knowledge and speed up access to market for Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s) in Kenya’s ICT space, intern helping the government in providing job opportunities which is one of the priorities in the ‘Big 4 Agenda’.

The centre, known as the ‘Cisco EDGE Incubation Centre, will be hosted at The University of Nairobi. The hub is aimed at providing a platform for SMMEs to collaborate with Cisco’s experts across the globe to enable the small businesses to bring customers into the centre to experience Cisco solutions.

“Cisco Edge is Cisco’s innovation into Kenya that allows us to align some of our strategies with some of the priorities for the country, Big 4 Agenda, one of which is job creation. The launch is a bit of an expansion of what we are starting to do around Africa, which is basically to enable young people to be able to use technology to innovate solutions relevant to their localities,” said General Manager (GM) for Cisco East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, David Bunei, during an interview with CIO East Africa.

Bunei added that Cisco’s partnership with Kenya’s Ministry of ICT is geared towards helping young Kenyan’s in securing working opportunities, “Our partnership with the Ministry of ICT, when they launched WhiteBox Learning last year, was understanding how to support the initiative and luckily Cisco putting up this lab in Kenya we were able to put together a MoU to support WhiteBox to be able to expand beyond the number of innovations that they are targeting in the Big 4 area,”

Each cohort will have about 30 SMMEs at the incubation hub. Whitebox the Government initiative through the Ministry of ICT and the ICT Authority will provide some SMMEs to undergo training at the Centre.

The hub offers complete business facilities including workspaces with high-speed broadband connectivity, video conferencing and collaboration platforms, as well as boardroom and training facilities. In addition, SMMEs will be able to connect with global Cisco experts, who can help them develop business ideas and concepts in a digital world.

Some of the SMMEs already in the Cisco Edge Incubation Centre include:

Tujenge Pay

A software as a service payments solutions platform that enables organizations to integrate, receive and analyze digital payments efficiently.

Botlab  

A software accelerator startup based in Nairobi, Kenya that conducts training to professionals in Artificial intelligence, machine learning and Business intelligence.

NetAcad graduates to benefit

The Vice Chancellor of The University of Nairobi during the launch said, “The University of Nairobi supports of innovation and creativity among the youth providing them various platforms like our C4D Lab.  We are happy to extend our support further by hosting the Cisco EDGE Incubation Centre. We congratulate Cisco on opening of this centre that will benefit many young people and entrepreneurs.”

NetAcad gives students hands-on digital skills training to prepare them for in-demand careers and the digital economy. With more than 7 million graduates to date, NetAcad is the world’s largest classroom.

“C4DLab is at the forefront of promoting Innovation within the University of Nairobi and beyond. With the realization that promoting innovation is a collaborative effort, the Innovation Hub keenly pursues partnerships with stakeholders who have common interest. CISCO is one such partner and we look forward to promoting innovation through CISCO-EDGE,” said Tonny Omwansa, Director of C4D Innovation Lab.

This centre will provide the opportunity for SMMEs to employ graduates from the NetAcad program and give them with workplace experience, and in turn the SMMEs will leverage the graduates’ skills from The University of Nairobi.

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