Our team just wrapped up a series of events in Kenya. The week started with a series of innovator site visits and workshops for all the innovators in the third Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) cohort from the lakeside city of Kisumu to Nairobi, these discussions focused on many of the strategic issues our entrepreneurs are facing.
With support from the Pfizer Foundation, we held an impact investing workshop which brought together innovators and investors and featured an in-depth discussion around accessing finance in the East African context. We also hosted a networking reception bringing innovators in our network and organizations placing capital in East Africa. Most of our innovators appreciated the opportunity to interact with these funders in an informal context, meet new funders and share their work.
Next up was an interesting policy roundtable that brought together early stage organizations and the public sector in Kenya (with representation from the national and county level). Each discussant shared their learning on how to achieve meaningful partnerships. We then had a facilitated discussion where other participants (counties, private sector, innovator support organizations and academia) contributed. One key takeaway is the need for a framework and resources to improve the public/private engagement at the county level and allow new counties to learn. We co-hosted this event with Africa Capacity Alliance (ACA) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) that have been working on this topic and the discussion built on their work.
Finally, we organized the first ever SEAD Health Hackathon which ran from the afternoon of Friday 18th September to Sunday, the 20th. Sponsored by BD, Merck, Philips, Google Launchpad, Amsterdam Health and Technology Institute (ahti), Strathmore University, iLab Africa, iBiz Africa, and iHub, we had over 100 participants who formed 22 teams and presented 20 innovative ideas. Check out some of the tweets from the event here: https://storify.com/mtotowajirani/kenya-health-hackathon-2015
We’d like to thank all of our corporate sponsors for these events as well as USAID for their support of SEAD. Amazing stories flowed through these events on the power of collaboration to enhance innovation and the latent opportunity when innovation clusters come together. We will be sharing these stories as we write more about each of these events in the coming weeks.
The SEAD accelerator program is a USAID-funded lab working to scale innovations in global health, particularly in East Africa and India.