Digital Entrepreneurship in Kenya 2014

Studying the evolution of the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem in Kenya
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This paper studies Kenya's emerging digital entrepreneurship ecosystem, with a unique perspective on entrepreneurs developing mobile enabled services. It highlights the challenges that startups are currently facing and the opportunities for collaboration among stakeholders, in particular opportunities for engagement with the mobile industry. The analysis was based on research which included over 300 in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs, mobile and information and communication technology (ICT) industry corporates, investors, tech incubators and accelerators, and other support organizations. The paper focuses on:

  • Emergence of a digital entrepreneurship ecosystem in Kenya;
  • Need for deeper engagement between mobile operators and startups: opportunity for the information communications and technology (ICT) and mobile industry to engage, collaborate, and partner with entrepreneurs to build a thriving digital entrepreneurship ecosystem in Kenya for mutual benefit;
  • Competing narrative between lack of capital and lack of deal flow: analyze in depth whether there really is a gap and if there is, then at which stages of startup development;
  • Funding shortfalls at all stages affect team composition and focus: lack of venture capital at early stages and lack of confidence in teams at later stages results in most startups 'bootstrapping' and running side businesses in parallel.

About this Publication

By GSMA, iHub Research, UKaid, and Omidyar Network