Funding of innovations: What is the solution?
Lack of funding for innovations has been one of the major reasons innovations have not scaled up into big enterprises. Innovations have not attracted funding from investors or financial institutions as they have shied away from early stage company investment and lending. A law, the Movable Property Security Act 2016, passed in May this year will allow innovators to secure funding through Intellectual Property once this has been acquired. There is still need to develop an institutional framework that will be fundamental in the implementation of the law and therefore this may not be an immediate win for the innovators.
For an economy like Kenya that has a relatively young population there is an expectation that the levels and numbers of innovations will be high. The challenge then is the support of the innovations to scale and commercialize. This is an effort that needs the muscle of the government and other stakeholders to support the innovative ideas that may be solutions to some of the societal challenges that a growing economy faces.
Kenya Climate Innovation Centre offers an opportunity to early stage business innovations in the climate change space through offering of an infrastructure that will give the enterprises an opportunity to grow and commercialize. KCIC is just one institution and in a very specialized area. There is need for the government to create systems geared towards supporting the growth of innovations in the country in an effort to grow the economy. KCIC is not even able to accommodate all the businesses that apply to be incubated which means there is a huge gap in the innovation space that other players could fill.
Ban of plastics in Kenya: Are we ready?
The ban on plastics in Kenya was one of the boldest moves that Kenya has taken in response to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially goal 13,14 and 15 that focus on the protection of oceans, biodiversity conservation and climate action. Kenya has in the past tried to ban plastics but this was not successful due to the challenges that the government was faced with, which largely was resistance from the plastic manufacturers in the private sector.
Research has showed that plastic bottles are dominating oceans more than the aquatic life that should be thriving in the water bodies. Even after the ministry declared plastic bags were going to be banned as from September this year, the private sector is resisting this move and terming it illegal. The private sector has argued that they were not involved when the government reached the decision and they feel the ban may have far reaching effects on the private sector that the government has not considered. Kenya cannot run away from the ban of plastics. This is a progressive move that the government and other stakeholders need to view as so to ensure the country makes the much needed progressive move towards the burning of plastics and also makes steps towards implementation of the Paris Agreement. Climate Change has to be dealt with through the creation of awareness and to all stakeholders on what their contribution towards the mitigation and adaptation of climate change should be. One thing that is clear is the private sector is not ready yet for the disruption that will come with the adaptation and mitigation against climate change. The government has a task to sensitize the private sector and come up with a way forward which will be agreeable to all stakeholders as the stakeholders cannot be ignored in policy changes especially now that public participation is anchored under the Constitution.