The Nairobi Innovation Challenge

Come join, connect, learn from mentors, coaches and peers alongside being discovered by potential investors, partners and customers in the network of Kenya's Most Promising Startups


The Nairobi Innovation Challenge debut was in 2017 as NIWStartups. Then came 2018 where 353 Startups applied, 100 were selected and pitched at NIW. Out of the pitching startups 15 were recognised as the Most Promising Startups of 2018.
A majority of them have scaled to new growth levels and are now telling their success stories. Meet Adan of Ecodudu telling it as it is.


TOP 100

The Top 100 startups will be filtered from all applications. They will be trained and then pitch to a panel of judges. In addition they will get:

  1. Training, coaching and mentorship
  2. A Free Pass to the NIW Ideation to Commercialisation Seminar 2019 (11-12 June)
  3. One year subscription to Afribusiness LLP's Online Digital Planner
  4. Free Publicity

TOP 30

The Top 30 startups will be filtered from the Top 100 startups. They will be trained and then pitch to a panel of judges. In addition they will get:

  1. Training, coaching and mentorship
  2. A 2-Day Free Pass to NIW Innovation Summit 2019 (13-14 June)
  3. A meeting with potential investors
  4. Free Publicity


Most Promising Startups
The 6 Most Promising startups will be filtered from the Top 30 startups and get to pitch at the NIW Innovation Summit. In addition they will get:

  1. Training, coaching and mentorship
  2. To be the face of Nairobi Innovation Week
  3. An entrepreneurship training scholarship from a leading training institution in Kenya
  4. Complementary pass to NIW Innovation Summit
  5. A free exhibition booth
  6. Media Publicity

Plus more prizes
for you to win


Early Stage Startups

 Between 100 - 10,000

 Between 10 - 1,000

Annual Revenue
 Between $1,000 - $100,000

 2+ Full-Time Team

 Company Incorporated

Growth Stage Startups

 Between 10,000 - 100,000

 Between 1,000 - 10,000

Annual Revenue
 Between $100,000 - $1000,000



  1. Applications Open

    March 5th, 2019

    Create and update your profile on the Nairobi Innovation Challenge platform.
    As an applicant, you will be expected to fill in the application form.

  2. Applications Close

    April 5th, 2019

    Call for applications closes.
    You will no longer be able to update your startup profile nor will you be able to create a new startup. You will however be able to continue upating and curating your personal profile.

  3. The 100: Selection

    April 6th - 12th, 2019

    First filtering and selection of applications down to 100 start-ups.
    The selection of your startup will depend on the completeness of the startup's profile, alignment to the eligibility criteria, your team composition and the completeness of your team members' profiles.

  4. The 100: Training

    April 16th - 7th, 2019

    Training is provided for the 100 start-ups.
    The 100 start-ups will attend sessions with mentors and trainers.

  5. The 100: Pitching

    April 19th - 20th, 2019

    The 100 start-ups will pitch to a panel of judges made up of industry experts.
    One start-up pitch will take 15 minutes total (5 minutes for pitching & 10 minutes for Q&A). The pitching will be filmed, edited and uploaded on Nairobi Innovation Week YouTube Channel.

  6. The 100: Evaluation

    April 22nd - 30th, 2019

    Assessment is done of the 100 start-ups by the judges.

  7. The 30

    May 2nd, 2019

    Top 30 start-ups (15 Early Stage and 15 Growth Stage) are announced.

  8. The 30: Training

    May 3rd, 2019

    Training seminar done for the 30 most promising start-ups.

  9. The 30: Pitching

    May 9th - 10th, 2019

    Pitching done by 30 start-ups and filtered to 6.

  10. 6

    May 20th, 2019

    Announcement of the 6 most promising start-ups.

  11. 6

    May 21st - June 10th, 2019

    Publicity done for NIW with the 6 most promising start-ups.

  12. Startups Day

    June 14th, 2019

    6 most promising Start-ups pitch.
    Allan Gill Gray Entrepreneurship competition finalists will pitch alongside the 6 most promising.

Nairobi Innovation Challenge Partners