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The National Environment Trust Fund signed a five year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Kenya National Innovation Agency (KENIA) to support NETFUND Green Innovations. MoU saw KENIA award NETFUND Ksh 27 Million towards nurturing Innovators to be able to develop and commercialize their products through NETFUND incubation Centre.
KENIA is a statutory body established under the Science, Technology, and Innovation Act, No. 28 of 2013. The Agency is mandated to develop and manage the National Innovation System whereas its roles include the management of the national innovation system for commercialization of innovations through the establishment of effective linkages between academia, research, government, industry, and society. The agency also oversees efficiency in management on national intellectual assets.
In line with NETFUNDs vision of sustainable financing for environmental management in Kenya, the Green Innovations Award program was initiated in 2012 with the aim of promoting green growth through recognition and adoption of innovations that reduce the effects of climate change. The program has been supporting innovators through research, capacity building as well as financing.
The Green Innovations Award aims at encouraging Kenyans to embrace and instill amongst themselves, a culture of self-regulation in environmental management and envisions a future where, all citizens can take personal and community responsibility for the management of the environment. The Award focuses on agribusiness, water, energy and resource based waste management.
On the other hand, KENIA supports National Innovation Award Competition as a strategy to motivate and recognize outstanding innovators in Kenya. The objective of the competition is to encourage innovation in all national priority areas and thus strengthen national innovative capacity. The awards focus on key priority areas of the economy, namely: Agriculture and Natural resources; Energy and Manufacturing; Health, Water and Sanitation; and Information Communication Technology.
Therefore, NETFUND and KENIA committed to enhance cooperation in activities that are of mutual benefit in nurturing innovators and supporting commercialization of innovations for socio-economic transformation. The key areas ofsupport will be to enhance NETFUND incubation of Innovators, Capacity building of Innovators, Innovation grant support for product development and commercialization of innovations, Innovation grant administration and to support the overall goal of strengthening the national Green innovations award as a great avenue to generate interest from Kenyans towards sustainably managing their environment.
NETFUND successfully linked six innovation projects for the KENIA awarded grant of Ksh. 27 million for commercialization. KENIA disbursed the grant to NETFUND as the legally recognized Grant Administrative Authority for the innovations. The grants will be disbursed to the innovators in tranches as per agreed criteria.
The projects will be under NETFUND incubation centre. 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 endeavors to strengthen them to survive the intense competition locally and globally, improving their products to the international standards. The linked projects include:
- Trace Eco Solutions
Trace Eco Solutions manufactures roofing tiles from plastic waste. The company has developed a unique formula that makes building materials from recycled plastic and sand. The premier building product is Eco tiles which is a roofing material. Trace’s mission is to eliminate environmental pollution caused by plastic waste in Kenya as well as solve the souring costs of building materials by recycling this waste in to aesthetically appealing, durable and affordable building products for housing consumers locally. The products are manufactured to the highest quality with local materials and offer an alternative to highly priced imported building products.
- Centre for Innovations Science and Technology in Africa (CIST Africa)
The Innovation is located in Yala, Gem Sub-county, Siaya County began as a school-based initiative in 2009. It is a registered self-help group (SHG) established by Mudhiero Secondary School. The enterprise which has been in operation for 2.5 years (2017-2019) deals with the manufacture and sale of bioethanol fuel from either water hyacinth (WH) or molasses.
The initiative is mitigating climate change through the removal of water hyacinth from the lake hence the restoration of a stable ecosystem for fish productivity. The business is a capital intensive requiring expensive machinery and banks could not provide a loan for their purchase due to lack of collateral.
- Biofit feeds
The innovation is involved in the manufacture of livestock and fish feeds based on water hyacinth. The product of the initiative is Biofit feed which was still at the demonstration stage. Biofit feed is produced by cleaning and drying the harvested leaves and stems of WH, homogenizing, melting, chelating (binding ions and molecules), cooling, branding, and packaging. The processing method ensures that the product is safe for use and maintains the nutrient content (protein, minerals, and vitamins) as was in the original parts of the plant. The product is used as an alternative protein source to soya meal and sunflower seed cake which are quite expensive in the country.
- Simatech Integrated Solutions Limited
The innovation focuses on producing a liquid vending machine for efficient utilization bridging the access to water and other basic liquids for the residents of African countries.
The product is called SAVE machine totally metallic in nature bearing the brand name Simatech with a large label written “Drinking Water ATM. The innovation targets water vendors mainly around Nairobi but with a long term plan to partner with county governments, Non-governmental organizations and other social entities to supply the product to other parts of the country.
The innovation and its products are unique and therefore, more research is required to be undertaken especially on the products markets.
- Safi Organics Limited
Safi Organics Limited produces and sells organic fertilizer. Safi organics fertilizers increases farmers yield while reducing the soil acidity. Their product has shown to be suitable for a variety of agriculture and horticulture including: maize, rice, wheat, beans, peas, vegetables, fruits, flowers, and grasses.
The initiative uses technology to downsize and decentralize fertilizer production, making it feasible to implement on a village-level basis using locally available resources and labor. There carbon reach fertilizer also curbs the particulate emissions from traditional open-field crop residue burning by more than 95%.
Their product also delivers an improved yield of as high as 30% to farmers. The innovation has improved agriculture without waste and empowering the farmer through increasing their income and restoring them to become the economy movers.
The business needs to invest in soil kit testing technology so that they can generate quality data when collecting soil samples that will inform the quality of fertilizers produced. They also need investment in training of their personal so as to increase their potential in ensuring quality fertilizers are produced. They need to train farmers also on the importance of using organics fertilizers so that they can increase their income.
- Tumaini Innovation Centre
The centre is a registered a community centre as an innovation hub and it has developed two working prototypes of a locally manufactured farmer utility vehicle. The centre requires metal work equipment to assist in precision cutting, drilling and welding. It also requires funds to assist in development of further prototypes so as to improve on the utility vehicle especially in steering and chassis build.