Close the Gap's team on the ground in Kenya attended the Leap² Innovative Light & Circular Economy meet-up

Posted on Sep 18, 2019 6:51 AM by

On 12 September, our Close the Gap team on the ground in Mombasa, Kenya attended the Leap2 Innovate Light & Circular Economy Challenge meet-up. Debbie Thys (our founder's wife) and Sietske De Graaf (his sister-in-law) were present and Debbie also gave an inspiring keynote on stage.

This meet-up was organized by Close the Gap, GoodUp and Nailab and brought together 40 local Kenyan youngsters eager to know if their innovating ideas would match the Leap² programme.

Being new at the premises of our host, Swahili Pot, Debbie and Sietske first took a look at this vibrant co-working space with nice views on the creek and fort Jesus (Unesco World Heritage). No doubt, the future entrepreneurs working from there will find some inspiration and motivation with such a spectacular view.  

The program of that day kicked off with a breakfast and tea and the welcoming music added some local flavor before the meet-up could really get started.

Robert from Nailab was the perfect MC to host the event. The first thing he told the audience, is that this Leap² challenge is the fourth one in Kenya, focusing this time on sustainable light and circular economy solutions that solve societal issues. The interested youngsters will have to pass three phases:

1) The applying stage, where you can find out if your innovation fits the criteria for a leap2 challenge.

2) The crowd funding part, where you would raise money for your innovation, the amount raised will be matched with a max. of €2000 per campaign.

3) The professional training, in crowd funding and pitching, during the challenge.

The morning also had keynotes of Alice Michira, Projects Manager at Nailab (Nairobi Incubation Lab), Twahir Hussein Kassim (Mombasa County ICT Advisory board) and Debbie Thys (Public Relations Close the Gap). 

"Our goal as Close the Gap is to create a level playing field for anyone regardless of where you were born. We are here to provide opportunities to innovators in Kenya." Debbie Thys.

The most interesting part was for sure the testimonials of former participants of past Leap2 challenges. For example Clemens from Techlens (a mobile tech-school that aims at promoting active and integrative learning through technology) who gave the crowd some advice: “The best thing you can do is tell your story”.

We can’t wait for the second gathering, the actual kick-off of this Leap² challenge on October 3rd, where we will get to know everything about the innovations of the selected participants, who all looking to find the one and only solution for a problem they face. Of course, all with a focus on sustainable light or circular economy solutions, made possible by ICT or technology. To read up on our previous Leap² challenges, click here.


Many thanks to Sietske for sharing her experiences with us in this detailed report of the inspiring Leap² meet-up!