Kisumu ranked among 1000 most innovative cities in world

Kisumu City. Photo by Fredrick Odiero

Kisumu has been ranked among the top 1,000 cities that have impressive innovation business startup ecosystems in the world, beating cities in many industrialized countries.

In a new report by Startup Blink –a global economy research platform – Kisumu’s good ranking has also helped Kenya to reserve its position as third Best County for start-ups in Africa.

In the Global Startup Ecosystem Index Report 2024, Startup Blink says Kisumu now joins the global family of top cities with innovation and start up ecosystems.

It is ranked at number 985 with a score of 0.12 with Nairobi coming at position 120 with a score of 6.64 while Mombasa had a score of 0.08.

“Kisumu joins the global top 1000 cities as a new entrant, helping Kenya to maintain its place as one of the top performers,” says the report released this week.

The Index announces the rankings for 1,000 cities and 100 countries every year.

In the past five years, Kisumu has been involved in innovative technology-based investments to create jobs and opportunities for startups.

Through the initiative of the Governor Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Kisumu started a business incubation and innovation centre for the youth seeking entrepreneurship.

The county also recently launched the Zone 01 Kisumu- a programme that offers tuition –free training and employment opportunities for the youth on the tech industry.

Besides empowering the youth with skills to access employment opportunitiesthe programme will offer the youths the opportunities to network and engage with establishment firms, among other benefits.

Startup Blink is a global innovation economy research platform, that provides public sector ecosystem developers, corporate startup programmes, multilateral organizations, and researchers with the knowledge and tools to map, brand, and accelerate innovation.

“We provide two sets of rankings. The first is for entire countries and the second is for individual city ecosystems within those countries. Our Index report caps the number of countries at 100 and the number of cities at 1,000, although more locations appear on the Startup Blink, ” says the report.

It adds: “Our global startup ecosystem map has hundreds of thousands of registered startups, co-working spaces, and accelerators creating a robust sample of innovation worldwide,” Startup Blink says in its website where it published the 2024 rankings.

The annual reports and ranking tables are used by hundreds of thousands of readers to inform decisions on relocation, investment, and research.

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The report that gives detailed analysis on the updates of startups in each of the participating countries including Kenya, says the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel are the big three in Startups in the world.

Canada and Singapore are ranked fourth and fifth respectively.

On cities, San Francisco, New York and London grab the top three positions.  Los Angeles, Boston, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangalore, Tel Aviv and Paris, make the top ten in that order.

Startup Blink further says in its website that it provides up-to-date research findings on startup innovations as well as

Continentally, the report says Kenya known as one of the most advanced economies in Africa, has emerged as a leading tech hub on the continent, particularly in the realm of mobile payment solutions.

“Despite its relatively small population compared to countries like Nigeria, Kenya has established itself as a pioneer in the fintech industry. M-pesa, a popular mobile banking solution in Kenya and Africa as a whole, allows individuals to conveniently send and receive money through their mobile phones,” it says.

The report explains that with a mature economy and a burgeoning culture of entrepreneurship, Kenya serves as a prime English-speaking gateway to the African market.

“In terms of attracting funding for Startups, Kenya has historically been a top choice for investors in Africa, alongside countries like Nigeria, Egypt, and South Africa.”

Notable success stories include M-Kopa and Wasoko, both of which are vying to become Kenya’s first unicorn startups. The country’s public sector has played a pivotal role in fostering the startup ecosystem, with initiatives such as the launch of Konza Technopolis in 2013 and the establishment of the Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA).

Nairobi hosts regional offices of global tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Intel, making it an attractive destination for tech startups.

The report notes that while the ecosystem faces challenges like a limited number of mentorship programs, infrastructure issues, and constraints on funding and markets, there are abundant opportunities for growth and success.

The rankings focused on the following areas- Environmental Sustainability, Inclusive Economic growth Diversified Emerging Technologies and Innovation and Cross Border Collaboration.

Reacting on the rankings, Kisumu County Executive Committee Member for Trade, Tourism and Marketing, Ms Farida Salim said: “We are proud of our county. The rankings are signs of better things to come. The future is bright.”

She said Kisumu has in the past five years improved its business and investment environment and is now a hot favorite for local and international investors.

By Fredrick Odiero

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