National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) and Strathmore University’s @iBizAfrica Incubation Centre have partnered in the airline’s s Fahari Innovation Challenge that seeks to create opportunities for the youth and use tech innovations to resolve specific problems that affect businesses.

The two organisations will provide technical guidance on accuracy of innovation and entrepreneurial information. KQ will provide internship opportunities to both undergraduate and post graduate students at Strathmore and collaborate in research projects as well as co-creation with startups and SMEs within the Centre.

KQ and Strathmore say the opportunity comes at a time African economies have been under increasing socioeconomic pressure due to diminishing resources, unemployment, changing demographic trends, rising demand for goods and services, and emerging sustainability and security concerns. 

African governments, industry players and education institutions have been exploring research and innovation as an engine for stimulating growth in line with Sustainable Development Goal 9, which underscores the importance of fostering innovation and investment in Research and Development to address these challenges.

 “Our partnership with KQ for the second time is an indication of our dedication towards supporting the youth and businesses. As a Centre that will soon be celebrating a decade of existence, we look forward to assist KQ in identifying local and regional talent that may exist within the broader youth community and Start Up ecosystem. This partnership will aid young entrepreneurs better understand the aviation industry and bring about creative ideas or solve problems that businesses may experience,” Said Dr. Joseph Sevilla, director @iBizAfrica Incubation Centre during the MoU signing ceremony.  

The initiative is geared towards giving startups an opportunity to contribute to economic growth and address the challenge of unemployment.

“As an airline collaboration is in the heart of what we do and this partnership with @iBizAfrica in the education sector is a great step towards making an impact in the ecosystem. Academic organisations and institutions are critical when it comes to developing talent,” said Julius Thairu, acting chief commercial and customer officer at Kenya Airways.

 “We have to be innovative and do things differently because customer needs and wants are constantly shifting and changing and institutions are constantly providing us with different views of doing things differently.”
He added: “As we progress we look forward to partner in developing students capacity in areas such as design challenge as well as in skills and leadership areas that will benefit both organisations.”

@iBizAfrica incubation Centre is known for its nurturing environment that builds on the potential of the youth to develop innovative solutions and businesses’ that work for the common good in society. The Incubation Centre has over the years provided over 400 startup companies with training, advisory, mentorship, coaching, networking opportunities, access to seed capital and investors.

Audiences for the KQ Innovation Challenge are innovative individuals or companies that can create solutions that can interface with the aviation industry from the identified angles of the organisational spectrum. Eligibility is open to all, including individuals, partnerships and corporations that serve or would like to serve the aviation enterprise or industry.

KQ’s Fahari Innovation Hub has been billed is a springboard for new ideas and innovation that will help “Kenya Airways and our society face our current and future challenges, to the benefit of both the national carrier and country.”