Kenya: Sh100 Million seed funding to Advance ICT services

Computing

The government has given Family Bank $1.3 million (Sh110.7 million) for onward lending to IT entrepreneurs in a bid to scale up Internet access and online services in rural Kenya.

In this first round of the revolving fund, 37 applicants from 37 constituencies were chosen to benefit under the government's project to roll out and set up digital villages.

Kenya Information and Communication Technology Board (Kenya ICT Board) on Wednesday said the 37 approved applicants demonstrated various business ideas ranging from youth training, electronic library services, website development, software development to teacher training and KCPE/KCSE online registrations.

Eight applicants will each receive between Sh2 million and Sh3 million, 16 applicants will each get between Sh1 million and under Sh2 million while the rest will each get less than Sh1 million.

Family Bank will disburse the revolving fund as a loan repayable over three years but with a three-month grace period.

The advance has a flexible repayment period and interest of up to a maximum of 10.5 per cent.

Beneficiaries will be required to finance at least 10 per cent of business while the revolving fund will bridge the gap.

Family Bank managing director Peter Kinyanjui said the bank supports the quest for an information-based society as it is one of the main priorities towards realisation of national development goals and objectives for wealth and employment creation.

Kenya ICT Board chief executive Paul Kukubo said the loans will enable prospective entrepreneurs get access to start up capital.

"This project falls under the Kenya ICT Board's digital inclusion pillar which aims to increase access to information and communication technologies by Kenyans," he said during ceremony to present Family Bank with the cheque in Nairobi. "It complements the other Kenya ICT Board agenda to stimulate job and wealth creation in information and communication through entrepreneurship."

Information and Communication minister Samuel Poghisio asked Kenya ICT Board to ensure Internet and other online services are available in all parts of the country.

In a separate news, Equity Bank announced that it  has partnered with Waterloo University of Canada to create an incubation and innovation centre for software and computer application developers as it seeks to grow its debt financing portfolio by tapping venture capitalists targeting this market segment.

ames Mwangi, the Equity Bank CEO, said the number of software application developers in Kenya was growing but most of them are not able to commercialise their ideas due to lack of funding while venture capitalists are also looking for local and international financial institutions that can give loans to fund some of the viable ideas.