NAIROBI, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Global technology giant Google will scale up mentorship programs targeting Kenyan innovators to enable them to grow their technology start-ups into formidable enterprises, executives said on Friday.
John Kimani, Google's Head of Developer Ecosystem in East and Francophone Africa, said that mentorship is key to enabling young techpreneurs to acquire skills needed in the expansion of their businesses.
"This country has an abundant pool of talented web and mobile based application developers who require a supportive ecosystem to make their businesses thrive," said Kimani.
He noted that a combination of raw talent, funding, access to infrastructure and markets alongside basic financial literacy are key to stimulating growth of technology based enterprises.
Kenyan techpreneurs have benefited from Google's Launchpad, a mentorship program targeting start-ups in the emerging markets that was launched four years ago.
Kimani noted that innovators who have enlisted in this mentorship program have gained expertise on how to refine their early stage businesses and attract investors.
"We identify outstanding start-ups, mentor their founders and share best practices across the ecosystem to help build them into successful businesses," Kimani said.
He noted that boot camps organized by Google and key partners have provided Kenyan techpreneurs with expertise that is critical to growing their businesses.
"Our boot camps for early stage startups focus on problem solving. They enable developers to come up with a sound strategy to grow their businesses," said Kimani.
He added that Google's flagship mentorship program for techpreneurs has boosted their knowledge of regulatory issues, intellectual property and marketing.
Kenya is yet to actualize its dream of becoming a silicon savannah despite abundance of innovators and friendly policies.
Kimani noted that majority of technology based start-ups are collapsing in the early stages due to their inability to attract angel investors.
"Building a successful technology business in this market is hampered by many obstacles. Currently, only 20 percent of Kenyan start-ups survive to the next stage," said Kimani.
He added that Kenya has the potential to attract investors in the technology space if the country prioritized regulatory reforms and skills development.