Empowering Innovators: Launch of Phase 2 for the Research to Commercialization Accelerator

The Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) is pleased to announce the launch of phase 2 for the Research to Commercialization (R2C) Accelerator Programme, with support from the RISA Fund. This initiative is conducted in collaboration with ViKtoria Ventures, with funding from the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office through the Research and Innovation Systems for Africa (RISA) Fund. The R2C Accelerator is designed to fortify the commercialisation process within Kenyan universities and research centres, with an aim of enhancing researchers’ capacity and institutional capability in taking research outputs to market.

In Phase 1 of the R2C program, 11 training sessions were successfully concluded, totalling 312 hours of training. Notably, 38 Trainers of Trainers (TOT) were trained from 21 institutions, extending the program’s reach to over 400 participants through a cascaded training module. Additionally, over 20 funding opportunities were facilitated for innovators, resulting in a significant fundraising achievement of 43 million Kenyan Shillings. Furthermore, 13 webinars were hosted to disseminate knowledge and foster engagement in research commercialization. Importantly, 30% of the supported innovators were women, reflecting the program’s commitment to gender diversity and inclusion in the innovation landscape.

The R2C Program phase 2 will offer a holistic approach to support research commercialisation, featuring a 6-month Accelerator Program providing intensive training to researchers on matters such as business formation, intellectual property, and go-to-market strategies alongside mentorship and commercialisation support. The program will also include institutional support, which includes training of Trainers of Trainers (Tot’s) from various institutions, capacity building of Vice Chancellors, and Policy and funding support. All the efforts are topped by marketing and communication efforts to help showcase the innovators and transformative measures that institutions take to promoting research commercialization.

Dr. Tonny Omwansa, the CEO of KeNIA, emphasized the organization’s commitment to utilizing innovation for job and wealth creation. He highlighted KeNIA’s dedication to cultivating an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Kenya. “Initiatives such as the R2C Accelerator aim to connect research with market success, unlocking the complete potential of the country’s intellectual capital.” Said Dr. Omwansa. He expressed anticipation for the positive impact that phase 2 of the program will have on driving growth through innovation and fostering job creation.

Speaking on the importance of the R2C program, Stephen Gugu, Founder of ViKtoria Ventures, expressed, “ViKtoria Ventures upholds the belief in the transformative potential of innovation for economic growth and societal advancement. The R2C Accelerator Programme is a pivotal initiative in actualizing this belief, as it empowers researchers to transform their ground-breaking ideas into viable businesses. Our enthusiasm is high as we look forward to collaborating with KeNIA and RISA in nurturing the upcoming generation of innovators in Kenya.”

Phase 2 of the R2C program represents an elite group of innovators poised to revolutionize industries and drive positive change. Selected for their ground-breaking ideas and diverse expertise, these innovators will undergo rigorous training, workshops, and mentorship sessions facilitated by industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs.

The R2C Accelerator Program is committed to empowering innovators to stimulate economic growth, generate employment opportunities, and make a lasting impact on society.

For more information about the Research to Commercialization Accelerator Program, please visit r2c.innovationagency.go.ke/.

About Viktoria Ventures

ViKtoria Ventures is a consulting and fund management firm, with a focus on entrepreneurial finance in East Africa. Our service offering includes Valuation, Deal Structuring, Fund Management as well as Negotiation and Structuring Transaction Agreements. Since 2011, the ViKtoria team has been actively supporting the growth of entrepreneurial ecosystems in various sectors in East Africa.

About KeNIA

The Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) is a State Corporation established under the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Act, No. 28 of 2013. With the vision of being a key enabler of socio-economic development through innovation, KeNIA’s mandate is to develop and manage the national innovation system that facilitates the knowledge economy to create jobs, enterprises, and wealth.