The Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA) initiative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has announced that it will be expanding into Kenya. NINJA is JICA’s startup accelerator program that aims at enabling Japan’s foreign relations, especially with African countries.
The program is going to be a partnership with the Deloitte Tohmatsu consortium and Kenyan accelerator, GrowthAfrica, and is expected to start in April.
NINJA in Kenya will be JICA’s first fully-fledged accelerator program in an initiative that is set to last for three years. The aim of NINJA is to broaden JICA’s global engagement while boosting its “Business Plan Competition in Response to COVID-19” program started in Ethiopia last year.
The initiative in Kenya is an expansion of the Ethiopia program . It is going to kick off with five carefully selected Kenyan startups that will participate in a uniquely tailored 3 month training program. Participants will be awarded 15,000 USD as part of the welcome package and the chance to take part at a Tokyo Business event.
JICA’s Ethiopian program was conducted alongside the Federal Small and Medium Manufacturing Industrial Promotion Authority, and the Federal Urban Job Creation and Food Security Agency launched the NINJA Business Plan Competition for businesses that have emerged after the COVID-19 outbreak. The program targeted startups and organizations drawn from all sectors with a key focus on emerging COVID-19 created businesses.
The agency has also recently called for those interested to apply for a scholarship to the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST). The scholarship is intended to serve the university’s goal of expanding the number of African nations represented in its programs.
E-JUST, which is located in Egypt, is part of the ‘Yokohama Plans of Action 2019’ and aims to cultivate science and innovation as part of Africa’s development goals.