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KCIC Unveils SWIFT Program’s Inaugural Cohort

  • By KCIC Communications
  • May 8, 2024
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  • 920 Views

In a groundbreaking move geared at transitioning Kenya to a circular and inclusive economy, the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) has unveiled the inaugural cohort of the Sustainable Waste Innovation for a Future in Transition (SWIFT) programme.

The cohort of 57 entrepreneurs drawn from across the country, 32 under Incubation and 25 in acceleration, will receive tailored business support for the next 18 months to strengthen their businesses on circularity principles. The support will range from business advisory, mentorship, technical assistance, to financing.

These enterprises, selected after weeks of rigorous evaluation processes, embody a range of innovative solutions positioned to address pressing environmental challenges through sustainable waste management practices.

The SWIFT programme is a joint initiative of KCIC and the IKEA Foundation, with the primary objective of transforming the waste management sector in Kenya through tailored business support to waste enterprises and strengthening of waste management policies in the country.

In his remarks, Joseph Murabula, CEO of KCIC, emphasized the organization’s commitment to supporting climate enterprises towards reaching commercial viability. “What we do at KCIC involves supporting enterprises like yourselves to get to the commercial stage where your business model is well defined,” he stated. “I am confident that in the next 18 months, with the support you’ll receive, you will be stellar success stories of what is possible within this space.”

Jabez Mutune, the Program Manager, echoed this sentiment, expressing his enthusiasm for the program and the potential impact of the cohort. “I am excited to have the 57 of you join us. To be here is a validation that beyond yourselves, we also believe in your business and the innovation that you are coming with.” This affirmation emphasizes KCIC’s dedication to nurturing and championing innovative solutions that address critical environmental challenges.

According to ‘Trends and Opportunities for Green Entrepreneurship in Kenya’ report published by ANDE in 2023, Waste management and the circular economy is a growing sector in Kenya’s green entrepreneurial ecosystem, with an estimated market potential of USD 54 billion. However, most green enterprises lack financing and the enabling policy conditions needed to grow. KCIC and the IKEA Foundation both envision to transform the sector through offering financial access as a key support area and working with both the national and key county governments in policy reforms to create an enabling environment for waste enterprises to thrive.

The SWIFT Programme is positioned to promote green entrepreneurship in the waste management sector and subsequently lead to job creation, improved living conditions for communities, while addressing environmental challenges.

Among the cohort members present during the virtual session was Hannan Mohammed, Founder of Minfadhli Enterprises, who expressed her enthusiasm for joining the program. “This opportunity signifies a pivotal step towards realizing my vision of sustainable waste solutions and job creation,” she shared. “I am eager to collaborate with peers and experts, refine my business strategy, and contribute meaningfully to the circular economy. Together, let’s innovate and create a cleaner, more sustainable future through effective waste management practices.”

Charles Kangere, Founder of Tranbiz Waste & Recycling Solutions, expressed his gratitude for being part of the program. “We are hopeful that this program will elevate our waste management practice into a robust and modern business. Through SWIFT, we aspire to manage waste in Kenya efficiently, profitably, and environmentally friendly, in line with the circular economy model,” he said.

In its three years of implementation, the SWIFT Program targets creating over 2,000 direct jobs, 4,000 indirect jobs, and improving the livelihoods of more than 5,000 households in Kenya. On the policy front, the programme will work with Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, and Uasin Gishu counties to strengthen the waste management policy ecosystem, to create a conducive business environment and incentivize public and private sector involvement in the sector.