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JICA expands its startup NINJA accelerator program to Kenya


The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is expanding its startup accelerator program (NINJA Accelerator) to Kenya. NINJA Accelerator is part of JICA’s Next Innovation with Japan project (Project NINJA) and is scheduled to take place in Nairobi on April 7th, 2021.

The programme will be done in partnership with the Double Feather Partners (DFP) / Deloitte Tohmatsu consortium, and GrowthAfrica.

JICA says the “NINJA Accelerator in Kenya” is the first of a series of NINJA Accelerators that it plans to launch in Africa over the next three years, further broadening its engagement with African startups. JICA says it is building upon its “NINJA Business Plan Competition in Response to COVID-19”, whose Grand Finale will be streamed live from Tokyo on February 26th, 2021. 

The first cohort of five Kenyan startups will be selected to take part in a three-month, tailored, intensive program, offering a unique blend of Japanese and African expertise, local knowledge, and access to a pool of Japanese, African and global mentors and investors. Each selected startup will be offered a symbolic US$ 15,000 Welcome Award from Double Feather Partners, as well as a chance to participate in a business event in Tokyo courtesy of JICA.  

The NINJA Business Plan Competition was launched in July 2020.. 10 finalists were selected out of over 2,700 African startups from 19 countries. The startups stand a chance to sign a work contract with JICA, win an equity/debt-free sum of up to US$ 30,000, and take part in a pitch event in the Grand Finale, that will be hosted in Tokyo.

The 10 Finalists are Agrinfo (Tanzania), And Africa LLC (South Africa), Appy People (Angola), Emergency Response Africa (Nigeria), Lifestores Healthcare (Nigeria), MajestEYE (Tunisia), Mobile Scan Solutions (Uganda), Moja Ride (Côte d’Ivoire), TranSoniCa (Ghana), and Upepo Technology (Kenya). 

Applications to the NINJA Accelerator in Kenya are now open until February 22, 2021. More information can be found on the program’s website.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I write about tech, business and African startups. Founder and Editor For TechTrendsKE. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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