The Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry, in collaboration with the Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship project (KIEP), has launched a new platform called iTATU (ideate, innovate, and implement).

This platform is designed to be student-centric and aims to foster collaboration between academia and industry. The goal of iTATU is to encourage students to ideate, innovate, and implement their ideas, facilitating the development of entrepreneurial skills and promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Kenya.

Through iTATU, colleges and universities can partner with companies to work on specific product development initiatives. The goal is to provide students with real-world experience and exposure to industry needs while offering companies access to fresh ideas and innovative solutions from young talents.

The Ministry of Investment has partnered with the Maastricht School of Management to help innovators get access to network mentorships to enable them to become new entrepreneurs and intellectual property protection for co-benefit sharing.

State Department for Industry Principal Secretary Juma Mukhwana said the Universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges have a mandate to conduct research while pointing out that the majority of the research is not commercialized.

The PS spoke Tuesday in a speech read on his behalf by the State Department for Industry’s Secretary of Administration Karanja Njora, during the launch of the iTATU platform held at Nairobi Garage Promenade in Westlands.

Dr Mukhwana said there is a need to develop a model that can have a self-sustaining industry for an academic platform.

“This will drive open innovations models where the industries are able to post their challenges and invite the students to innovate, as well as set them on a path of creating sustainable entrepreneurship pathways,” stated Dr Mukhwana.

The Permanent Secretary highlighted Kenya’s ambition to achieve global competitiveness by adopting a bottom-up economic transformation agenda. He pointed out that the partnership between academia and industry will be a driving force behind innovations, the development of new products, and enhanced industrial competitiveness.

“The world is at the point of a significant shift in how economies are organised and driven by two key megatrends, which is, the drive for sustainability through adopting green manufacturing known as Green and the 4th industrial revolution (industry 4.0) that advances the use of artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and genetic engineering.”

World Bank representative Sameer Goyaal said that the World Bank started the project in 2019 but was slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The country is still recovering from the pandemic that paralysed this initiative that we started long ago but is now gaining momentum,” said Goyaal.

He said students have fertile ideas that can transform into technology that will in turn and make them innovators and entrepreneurs in this competitive world of business.

Goyaal added, “These innovative ideas develop how changes lead to sustainable development thereby making the students and innovators futuristic in nature.”