Startup Savanna

Frequently Asked


KIEP (Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project) is a US$50 million World Bank and Government of Kenya funded project implemented by the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development (MoITED). KIEP aims to increase innovation and productivity in select private sector firms by strengthening the private sector.

KIEP consists of 3 components:
1. Strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem
2. SME linkages and upgrading
3. Outreach, M&E and project implementation support

The International Acceleration Process, known as Startup Savanna, is a sub-component under component 1 of The Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project funded by the World Bank Group and implemented by the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development (MoITED). Led by GrowthAfrica, in partnership with Nairobi Garage and ANDE as the implementing consulting firm.

Startup Savanna aims to connect the Kenyan ecosystem to international experts, investment, and support infrastructure, contributing to job creation, GDP growth, digital transformation, and sustainability.
Startup Savanna seeks to expose 1000 Kenyan startups through international events and conferences, and to match 175 Kenyan startups to mentors, investors, international accelerators, and corporates by:

1. Strengthening access to international resources for Kenyan startups
2. Developing a network of potential beneficiaries; and
3. Designing and implementing an ecosystem brand image

KIEP Startup Savanna will run for four (4) years – from 2020 to 2024.

Startup Savanna is open for all Kenyan businesses ready for international exposure to scale their businesses globally.

a) Early-stage Startups
These included innovative and pre-revenue companies with business models exhibiting either of the following characteristics: Disruptive in nature, Incremental in value and Transformative within its sector.

b) Growth-stage Startups
Includes Post revenue companies with scalable products/ solutions. Can be both tech and non-tech.

c) Mature ventures
Companies that have either operated profitably for two years and successfully raised a Series A investment round and are looking at international expansion.

Enterprises/ventures meeting the following criteria shall be considered. 
1. Duly incorporated enterprises in Kenya
2. Is the business unique, does it have a clear competitive advantage?
3. Is the business scalable in the target market?
4. Having a core team of at least 4 members with relevant and diverse skills 

1. Access to international events and conferences for knowledge sharing and networking opportunities pitching opportunities, access to global markets and benchmarking.
2. Linkage to international experts and mentors to support innovation, technical and business improvement.
3. Access to international accelerators and incubators for business development support, financing, and networks
4. Access to international investors as sources of growth capital for Kenyan startups and matchmaking
5. Access to international corporates, startup associations, and research institutions for partnerships and market expansion opportunities

Yes, KIEP Startup Savanna wants to include women-owned or women-led businesses in the project over the next four years.

All applications will be submitted through the KIEP Startup Savanna online portal under the registration button on https://startupsavanna.com/registration-process/
1. Applicants must complete and submit the registration form available on the website portal.
2. Applications that do not comply with these terms and conditions are invalid and will not be accepted.

Step 1: Call for registration of Kenyan startups
Prepare communication pack for call for registration for startups: registration form (link) and process published on the Startup Savanna website. Encourage local ecosystem and Entrepreneur Support Organisation (ESOs) to share the call for registration with their communities/database of startups they support. Prepare and deploy bi-annual registration calls.

Step 2: Registration by startups
To enable prospective enterprises, register to join the process and build a Kenyan startup database for various international acceleration process support.

The startups registering for the Startup Savanna suite of activities must fill the (ESSF) Form at the registration stage to screen for environmental and social compliance.

Startups must accept and or agree to the Startup Savanna terms and conditions linked to the registration form to participate in any of the suites of activities offered.

Step 3: Automated screening of application
This step ensures that applications have met the mandatory requirements (i.e. registration certificate, tax compliance, business plan and/or pitch deck) for participation in the process. The system shall prompt the applicant during the application phase on the missing data or documents with no human intervention. The system will also enable saving the application form and provide contacts should an applicant need clarification.

Step 4: Filtering applications into categories
Applications that do not meet mandatory requirements will be referred to the Entrepreneur support organisations for additional preparation and can reapply Startup Savanna suite of activities.

Filtering the applicants into the three (3) categories of enterprises, i.e., Early-stage, growth stage, and mature stage, will follow an automated process.

Each Call for registration will run on a bi-annual basis with rolling registration to the Startup Savanna Suite of activities being encouraged throughout the year, over the four-year project period. The bi-annual calls will follow a regular period constituting a campaign window of two months and any changes to this would be communicated well in advance of a call.

Startup Savanna collaboratively creates platforms and channels for Kenyan startups and entrepreneurial ecosystem to access knowledge sharing, networking, partnerships, technical business improvement support, growth capital, and market expansion opportunities.

Startup Savanna enhances greater visibility of the Kenyan entrepreneurial ecosystem and Global recognition of Kenyan innovations through collaborative partnerships with international startup support individuals, institutions, and organisations.

Startup Savanna is the international gateway to the Kenyan entrepreneurial ecosystem for innovative, disruptive, incremental and transformative ventures. Startup Savanna offers the following benefits to our international partners:

1. Access to a pipeline of startups at various stages of growth
2. Linkage with local ecosystem builders and startups
3. Valuable insight into the Kenyan innovation and business environment
4. Experience supporting a developing entrepreneurial ecosystem

International partners will be considered for participation in process activities based on demands by process beneficiaries.

The deadline for registration will be indicated on the KIEP Startup Savanna website home page and registration page.

To participate in Startup Savanna Suite of Activities, you need to register your interest by reaching out to the Startup Savanna team by writing an email to info@startupsavanna.com

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