Strengthening the Kenyan Innovation Ecosystem

Caption: Kenya National Innovation ( KeNIA CEO) Dr Tonny Omwansa and ASSEK CEO, Ms Mercy Kimalat display a signed copy of the partnership agreement that aims to strengthen frameworks for the entrepreneurship innovation ecosystem in Kenya.

Press Release

Monday 11th April 2022 

Strengthening the Kenyan Innovation Ecosystem through a partnership framework between the Kenya National Innovation Agency and the Association of Startups and SME Enablers of Kenya

The Kenya National Innovation Agency hereinafter (KeNIA) and the Association of Startups and SME Enablers of Kenya hereinafter (ASSEK) have entered into an agreement to develop and streamline a dynamic national innovation system that facilitates the commercialization of startup innovations through the initiation and implementation of appropriate policies, standards and infrastructure that nurture the startup innovation ecosystem in Kenya.

The collaboration will be addressing the needs-based challenges of startups and entrepreneurs while creating an enabling environment for innovation and innovative practices at the county and national level ahead of the forthcoming annual Kenya Innovation Week, ASSEK Annual Conference and future activities between these two parties.

Speaking during the signing, ASSEK Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Kimalat lauded the partnership terming it as a key milestone in data harnessing which would be instrumental in establishing baseline reports, useful in steering the entrepreneurship innovation ecosystem forward. 

“The strategic partnership with KeNIA comes at an opportune time as ASSEK is currently developing a digital platform that will map out Kenyan Entrepreneur Support Organizations who work with startups and SMEs and provide access to ecosystem resources and facilitate capacity building programs to digitize their operations to enhance service delivery, promote the visibility of their impact – both local and international and facilitate investments in startup innovations.” Stated by Ms Mercy Kimalat.

KeNIA CEO, Dr Tonny Omwansa on his end applauded the initiative stating that it would provide an opportunity for encouraging academia to enhance innovation efforts in their research which would catalyze technologically enabled entrepreneurship ventures. 

He also elaborated that working with ASSEK will certainly strengthen the Government support and coordination of the Entrepreneurship Support Organizations which are very crucial in Kenya’s attaining the vision 2030.

Speaking during the event he said, “This partnership will ensure stronger commercialization of research and ideas, and allow the Agency to support in the identification, recording and protection of innovative ideas, which are all key to a stronger national innovation system.”

KeNIA has begun an effort to develop a 10 year National Innovation Masterplan, national guidelines on commercialization and coordination of innovation hubs, all of which would be released during the Kenya Innovation week later in the year.

About KeNIA

Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) was established by the ST&I Act of parliament of 2013, as a semi-autonomous government agency under the Ministry of Education.  The mission of the agency is ‘to develop and manage a dynamic national innovation system that facilitates taking ideas to the market’. The Vision is to be A key enabler of socio-economic development through innovation. 

Website: httpss://


The Association of Startup and SMEs Enablers of Kenya (ASSEK) is the voice of the startup ecosystem that represents the interests of organizations (Incubators, Accelerators, Maker spaces, Co-working spaces, and Innovation centres) and actors of the Kenyan entrepreneurship ecosystem to advance entrepreneurship as a key driver of economic growth and social development.

Website: httpss://

For Further Press enquiries:

Michelle Njeri – ASSEK