Five Kenyan startups Selected to take part in JICA’s NINJA Accelerator
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has selected five Kenyan startups to take part in The NINJA Accelerator that offers startups access to a tailored program and the chance to scale internationally.
JICA is an organization that coordinates official development assistance for the Japanese government in developing countries; the organization expanded its NINJA Accelerator to Kenya in partnership with the Double Feather Partners (DFP), the Deloitte Tohmatsu consortium, and GrowthAfrica in February 2021 after an initial launch in Ethiopia.
The program was kicked off with a virtual event hosted in Nairobi; it was highlighted that the five startups will take part in an international experience that incorporates Nairobi, Tokyo, and Silicon Valley.
The five selected startups were chosen from a pool of 178 applicants. The selected startups are e-commerce and logistics platform Sokowatch, savings startup Kwara, agri-tech platform Cinch Markets, trucking marketplace Amitruck, and feminine hygiene product manufacturer Zana Africa.
Keiji Katai, senior director of the Private Sector Development Group at JICA speaking on the partnership said that JICA was pleased with the quality of the startups that applied for the cohort. In his words, Katai said “We were extremely impressed by the quality of the applicants for this first cohort”, said “While we were only able to select five, it is exciting to see what young entrepreneurs in Kenya, and undoubtedly Africa, have to offer. We hope to demonstrate to Japanese corporates and investors that there is a serious case to be made when engaging with startups in Africa, which are the future drivers of African economies”.
The five selected startups will be offered a blend of local, Japanese, and international mentoring, expertise, coaching, and investor relations, all customized to meet the needs of each venture.
By 2022, ventures from cohorts one and two will be considered for a chance to take part in a “Global Road Show” where DFP and Deloitte will take founders on a business trip to Tokyo.