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Cisco opens Sh69m innovation hub for SMEs at the University of Nairobi

David Bunei, General Manager (GM) for Cisco East Africa and IOI explains how the Cisco EDGE Hub works to Dr. Katherine Getao, CEO ICT Authority.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 5 – Cisco has announced the launch of a Sh69 million Incubation HUB in Kenya to be hosted at the University of Nairobi.

This Incubation Centre, which is a first for Cisco in East Africa and the second in Africa, having launched a Hub in South Africa last year, aims to impart business knowledge and speed up access to market for Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s) in the ICT space.

This Hub known as the ‘Cisco EDGE Incubation Centre,’ is aimed at providing a platform for SMMEs to collaborate with Cisco’s experts across the globe to enable the small businesses to bring customers into the centre to experience Cisco solutions.

The name of the centre stands for the competitiveness that most of these small businesses lack to establish and sustain successful enterprises. The SMMEs will gain EDGE: Experience, Design, GTM (Go to Market) and Earn.

Each cohort will have about 30 SMMEs at the incubation hub. Whitebox the Government initiative through the Ministry of ICT and the ICT Authority will provide some SMMEs to undergo training at the Centre.

The hub offers complete business facilities including workspaces with high-speed broadband connectivity, video conferencing and collaboration platforms, as well as boardroom and training facilities.

In addition, SMMEs will be able to connect with global Cisco experts, who can help them develop business ideas and concepts in a digital world.

“We are proud to be part of the Kenyan economic growth through the creation of jobs and creating a business environment where entrepreneurs can thrive. The centre is targeting to enable small-medium business to accelerate their growth through access technologies that are globally competitive,” said General Manager (GM) for Cisco East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, David Bunei.

“Cisco recognizes that Kenya’s Big Four Agenda and one of the drivers of this is technology as the country accelerates towards achieving vision 2030. We want to contribute to the country’s job creation efforts via support to small medium businesses,” added Bunei.

Cisco continues to work closely with universities and technical college’s upskilling students and graduates, among them unemployed youth through the Cisco Networking Academy. (NetAcad). NetAcad has been in existence for over 20 years, across the world and has committed to training over 1 million Africans over the next 5 years.

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NetAcad gives students hands-on digital skills training to prepare them for in-demand careers and the digital economy. With more than 7 million graduates to date, NetAcad is the world’s largest classroom.

“C4DLab is at the forefront of promoting Innovation within the University of Nairobi and beyond. With the realization that promoting innovation is a collaborative effort, the Innovation Hub keenly pursues partnerships with stakeholders who have common interest. CISCO is one such partner and we look forward to promoting innovation through CISCO-EDGE,” said Tonny Omwansa, Director of C4D Innovation Lab.

Bunei added that some SMMEs namely Tujenge Pay and Botlab have signed up and are already getting training at the Cisco Edge Incubation Centre.

This centre will provide the opportunity for SMMEs to employ graduates from the NetAcad program and give them with workplace experience, and in turn the SMMEs will leverage the graduates’ skills from The University of Nairobi.

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