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What We Do
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At NETFUND, we recognize the enormous funding gap experienced in the sector.  We are dedicated to improving our fundraising efforts to finance environmental initiatives in Kenya. We aim to build synergies with like-minded institutions and to develop innovative resource mobilisation and allocation mechanisms to ensure financial sustainability for the sector.

We believe that no one wants to destroy the environment wilfully; we can pursue development in a sustainable way while respecting the environment; and that everyone deserves an equal opportunity for business growth despite their economic status.

It is this belief system that informs our focus on Sustainable Livelihoods and Greening the Economy. We achieve this by stimulating solutions for and by the bottom of the pyramid in order to tackle environmental degradation, climate change and poverty while enhancing inclusive economic growth.

 

Our focus areas

NETFUND is currently the only national institution in Kenya working primarily to finance the environment sub-sector. Therefore, we invest in the following key areas intended to deal with environmental challenges:

 

Environmental Awards

Environmental awards are a great avenue to motivate citizens to manage their environment more sustainably. The NETFUND Green Innovations Award (NETFUND GIA) identifies, recognizes and rewards innovative projects and ideas in environmental management.

The GIA award process is unique. It comprises a comprehensive awareness program that reaches all levels of the society with particular focus on persons at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP). We work to get all citizens to take part in the “people’s award” through our launch and call for entries. We host the selection process from 1st level judging through field visits and 2nd level judging that culminates in an awards ceremony. The most promising initiatives are upscaled for greater social impact or incubated before being released for the market. All our beneficiaries comprise the NETFUND alumni, and it is in this area that they find space for more growth and networking.

A number of outstanding individuals, groups and organizations who have innovated and/or adopted environmentally-responsible and sustainable initiatives in Kenya have received awards from NETFUND. Our Incubation Services support green enterprises to realise their full market potential through business, technical and financial support. Some of the viable green businesses, however, do not receive incubation services. Instead, they receive some financial support to enable them upscale their best practices in environmental management.

Read more on environmental awards…

 

Research and publications

NETFUND is actively involved in research aimed at promoting evidence-based programming and policy development for environmental management in Kenya. The organization not only applies research findings to design innovative projects that support environmental management but also disseminates research findings and best practices to policymakers, project developers and other researchers in the country.

The overall objective of the Research programme is to promote evidence-based programming and policy development in environmental management.

The Research Programme’s objectives are to:

  1. Increase research for green growth in Kenya.
  2. Increase dissemination of green growth knowledge and innovation.

Research projects conducted include:

  1. Factors influencing household adoption of renewable energy technologies in rural Kenya.
  2. The potential of Biofuel from water hyacinth as an alternative household cooking energy: Case of Yiro West Sub-location.
  3. Determining the effect of solar and biomass drying technologies on the physical and chemical stability of mango powder during storage time.  
  4. Enhancing climate resilience and nutrition uptake through fortification of corn flour with locally produced high nutrition value crops in Kitui County.
  5. Recycling of rice husks into locally-made water-resistant particle boards.
  6. Production of Bio Ethanol from cellulosic agro waste biomass.

NETFUND works closely with various research partners including Africa Research Consortium, Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Africa Centre for Technology Studies (ACTs), Tangaza University, among others.

Read more on our Research Projects

Access our research publications here

 

 

Capacity building

NETFUND identifies and builds capacity of institutions, businesses, individuals and civil society organisations involved in environmental conservation. The capacity building initiatives equip beneficiaries with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage the environment.

NETFUND is committed to developing and strengthening the skills, abilities, processes and resources for SMEs, communities, institutions and individuals to better manage the environment. NETFUND’s capacity building extends to:

  • Provision of business support services for green start-ups to realize their full potential – includes technical, business and financial support. NETFUND’s incubation programme has  
  • Providing support to national and county government ministries, departments and agencies in the areas of planning, monitoring, evaluation, reporting, resource mobilisation and funding, to deliver on their environmental management programmes.
  • Supporting and strengthening the development of green processes within institutions/organizations through process audits, capacity strengthening and continuous follow-up activities.
  • Environmental education and awareness to increase the public’s knowledge and awareness about the environment and its challenges, develop the necessary skills and expertise to address the challenges, and encourage positive attitudes and behaviors.

Read more about NETFUND’s capacity building initiatives

 

NETFUND GIA Incubation

NETFUND Incubation Program runs for 2 – 4 years delivered in three phases. It provides an array of business support services for green start-ups to realize their full market potential. The projects are identified through the NETFUND Green Innovations Awards (NETFUND GIA).

The incubation program grows green businesses by providing them with technical, business and financial support. This holistic provision of support endeavours to strengthen them to survive the intense competition locally and globally. Additionally, NETFUND has established a fully functional incubation centre with office and meeting facilities for use by beneficiaries. The centre also hosts a physical and online resource centre that contains useful information resources.

Read more about our incubation beneficiaries here

 

Scholarships and Grants

NETFUND is also mandated to give scholarships and grants to enhance knowledge within scholarships are given to students pursuing Masters and PhD programs that align to NETFUND thematic areas of Agribusiness, Energy, Water and Resource Based Waste Management.

Invitations for applications will be made to the public when funds are available. Currently, there are no available funds for this initiative

Key Achievements of the Programmes & Projects Implemented

1. National response to GIA

Since the programme inception, there has been increased countrywide participation in the GIA programme. To date  more than 13,027 entries were received during the call for entries. The Rift Valley region accounted for the highest level of participation at 19%, while the lowest being North Eastern region with 5% level of participation. Nearly half of all the entries 49% were from the agri-business thematic area with the energy category having the lowest level 15% of participation.

 

       

 

In terms of gender representation, women led initiatives accounted for 33% while male led initiatives were at 67% of the total entries.

Awarded winners were drawn from schools, civil society organizations, individuals, women groups, small, micro and medium enterprises.

The First Lady H.E Margaret Kenyatta awards one of the winners during an awards gala.

2. Incubation of Viable Green Enterprises

Viable green MSMEs have taken through the NETFUND incubation programme where they have been provided with technical and business support services to refine their innovations. Based on the analysis of gaps and challenges encountered by green start-ups, NETFUND incubation model was designed to enhance the success of early stage start-ups by providing the necessary support during the pre-incubation, incubation and post incubation stages.

The diagram below shows the phases of NETFUND incubation programme.

Some of the key challenges that the model addresses include: inadequate technical support for prototyping, technology and product refinement; limited access to early stage financing for proof of concept, testing and piloting of business models; inadequate business management capacity for the innovators to enable them run the enterprises and set up key processes and structures; and low market penetration due to lack of information on existing local and international market opportunities and consumer needs.

 

3. Incubation Services

Based on the above challenges, the incubation centre was designed around eight major services identified as being essential for successfully supporting green innovations to be sustainable companies.

The following diagram shows a summary of the key services offered by the Department.

 

4. Financing and Market Opportunities

During and after incubation, green enterprises that demonstrated potential for growth received seed capital in terms of grants, market and investor linkages to commercialize their products. To date more than 100 projects have been supported through technical and business development to refine and scale their initiatives. Additionally, the incubation centre has organized annual investors’ forums and exhibitions to showcase the innovations to potential financiers, customers and strategic partners.  

The pie chart below shows forms of financial support that the innovators have received through the programme.

The organisation is developing a sustainable financing mechanism to support its projects and beneficiaries. The organisation has been providing financial support to its projects through a grant making mechanism and with more than 100 projects having received funding from the organization.

5. Partnerships

The programme has attracted partnerships from public, private and civil society sectors and has more than 21 partners. The portfolio of partners includes financing, implementing and sponsoring partners. The partners have supported various components of the programme leading to improved programme delivery and greater impact.

Key partners of the Green Innovations Award Programme

Financing Partners

  • Embassy of Sweden
  • United States International Development Agency
  • Worldwide Fund for Nature
  • Hivos
  • Japanese International Cooperation Agency
  • SLOVAK Aid
  • African Climage Change Fund
  • African Development Bank

Implementing Partners

  • National Environment Management Authority
  • Kenya Forest Service
  • Kenya Wildlife Service
  • Postal Corporation of Kenya
  • Daystar University
  • Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization
  • Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute

sponsors

  • Bamburi Cement
  • Kenya Commercial Bank
  • Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Jomo Kenyatta Foundation
  • Pollination Fund

 

6. Awards and Recognition

NETFUND participated in the University Business Incubator (UBI) 2017 Global Ranking. The UBI Global identifies and gives recognition to the best incubators and accelerators who then leverages the ranking to grow, gain funding and increase visibility. During the 2017 ranking, the NETFUND incubation programme was awarded the Top Challenger Award for Africa. This is in recognition of the impact and performance of the programme in comparison to its peers regionally. The award is a vindication of the hard work and diligence of NETFUND in delivering value to budding Kenyan entrepreneurs.

 

A snapshot of NETFUND’s regional position in Africa

As a result of the support, NETFUND provides to its beneficiaries, some of them have been recognized and awarded with grants in various programmes as shown below;

Examples of awards won by NETFUND beneficiaries

  1. Magiro Hydro Electricity Challenge Winner of the Seed Award 2015
  2. ICOSEED Enteprises Challenge winner of the SEED award 2016
  3. Straus Energy named 1776 “People’s Choice” Winner 2015
  4. Sweet N Dried Kaves Received funding for their Solar Dryer Through the Kenya Value Chains Enterprises
  5. Stawi Food Industries was raked among Top 30 under 30 Enterpreneur who is making a great impact across Africa by Forbes Africa Magazine 2014
  6. Envibuzz Consule Ltd won grant of $5000 from the Tony Elumelu Foundation 2017
  7. Sweet N Dried recognised as African Development Bank (AfDB) High 5 Promising startups – Feed Africa Category with a grant of USD 1500