Close the Gap attends Leap² Swahili-tech launch and visits tech ecosystem in Kenya
Posted on May 6, 2019 6:58 AM by
From 12-17 April, Close the Gap’s Founder & CEO Olivier Vanden Eynde and Project Manager Bram Over were in Kenya. They were accompanied by social venture philanthropist Alison Lawton of Mindset Foundation. The trip included the launch event of the LEAP² Swahili-tech: Women Innovation Challenge, a visit to Close the Gap’s B-Corp labelled Circular Economy Hub and the WEEE Centre in Embakasi, Nairobi, a lunch meeting at the Belgian embassy, and a discussion on e-waste with the Director General of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
On Saturday, 13th April, the LEAP² Swahili-tech: Women Innovation Challenge was kicked off in Mombasa, Kenya. This Innovation Challenge focuses on either women entrepreneurs in the Mombasa area, or on tech businesses that aim to improve the lives of women.
Leap² is part of the new strategy of Close the Gap. This program supports young African entrepreneurs developing and scaling digital solutions for societal issues. Concretely, Close the Gap organises innovation challenges with GoodUp. For more information about these Innovation Challenges and the results of the previous editions, click here.
During the launch event, 9 start-ups, of which 8 are founded by women, pitched their innovation to a crowd including different stakeholders from the Mombasa tech-scene. After an introduction to their ideas, a crowdfunding campaign was launched as well. Special guest Alison Lawton, a Canadian social venture philanthropist, of Mindset Venture Group, gave an inspiring keynote to the participants.
More information about the participants can be found on leap-2.com, where they can also be supported to reach the target amount of the crowdfunding. If they succeed, this amount will be doubled by Leap².
The next stop was Close the Gap’s B-Corp labelled Circular Economy Hub and the WEEE Centre in Nairobi. The Circular Economy Hub (CEH) is a re-manufacturing plant that will refurbish donated ICT equipment in order to provide purpose-driven projects with affordable and qualitative material. Secondly, the plant will also recycle e-waste afterwards, effectively entering the circular economic model.
Special guests from Mindset Foundation, Alison Lawton and Laura Schoenmakers were generously invited by the Belgian Ambassador Nicolas Nihon at the Belgian embassy for a lunch discussion. Together with the Canadian Deputy Ambassador Joanne Minns, they talked about e-waste and the ICT sector in Kenya.
A last milestone of the trip in Kenya was a discussion with the Director General of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). During the discussion, the Director General hinted at an impending implementation of the long-awaited e-waste bill in parliament. This bill will be instrumental in fighting the growing e-waste garbage pile with a ‘user-pays principle’.
For more general information about Close the Gap’s plans in Kenya, click here.