Berlin to Nairobi: The Team Helping Kenya’s Startups

By Toni Ellis |

A team of experts from the Berlin startup scene will head for Nairobi this Friday to help mentor some of Kenya’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The tech ambassadors will be taking part in the African country’s first-ever Startup Weekend, and are hoping to forge strong links between the two scenes.

Among them is Kenyan-born Wilken Bruns, COO of the Entrepreneurs Club Berlin, who told Silicon Allee: “We want to help the startups with some of the things we have learned here in Berlin about lean startup methods and bootstrapping, although I think the Kenyans already know a lot about bootstrapping!”

Wilken also sees the event as an opportunity for Berlin’s startup community to improve networks and connections with Nairobi by bringing attention to Kenya’s Startup Bootcamp. Kenya’s startup scene, while still only in its early stages, has been producing various companies and events that mainly aim to improve day-to-day life for citizens.

Most Kenyan startups are mobile phone based, but as Wilken explained, they are not aimed at “smartphones like we know them, but basic mobile phones that are really widely spread, and they’re doing really cool things with them.” One such service is medAfrica, a medical reference and real-time public health tool that enables users to check their symptoms by phone and contact a health professional.

However, Wilken is realistic of the challenges young Kenyan startups experience. “I think the biggest problem we’ll face will be to find investors that will take the risk of investing in a developing country that doesn’t have the infrastructure needed yet. I think it will start slowly, but there are so many real pains that people have, and that is what real entrepreneurs are looking at, the solution to solve a real pain. So I think that makes Kenya very attractive to potential investors.”

Wilken is also asking for help to raise additional prize money for the winner of Startup Weekend Nairobi. And he has made donating interesting – offering what he calls “a touch of gamification,” where, you can purchase various packages. They range from the Premium Package – where in return for donating the cost of his flights, you will be an official donor of the event – to the Revolting Package, where Wilken will eat something revolting of your choice – video included.

He is hoping to raise a total of €2,000 – €650 for his flights, and the remaining €1,350 for the winner of the competition.

Donate here!