“For a successful entrepreneurial eco-system, we need, a trusting social system, inter-connectivity and collaboration amongst ourselves”– David Cheboryot- ASSEK Chairperson

The Ministry of Investments Trade and Industry (MITI) in partnership with ASSEK on the Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP), government initiative funded by World Bank brought together 100+ CEOs, Founders of ESOs and Ecosystem Leader for the Inaugural  Ecosystem Enabler Forum on the 8th of February 2024.  We engaged in a focused dialogue to align our collective efforts towards advancing the interests of ESOs within the ASSEK network and nationally. To successfully, empower and enhance the leaders we, identified and explored emerging opportunities and challenges affecting the ESOs and champion various areas for collaboration and growth within the ecosystem.

Our first Roundtable Discussion on “Reflection of the Innovation Ecosystem Journey” served as a platform for collective reflection, celebration and inspiration. We had the Inaugural ASSEK Board shared the formation of ASSEK.  One of the pointers that critically came out was a quote from Mercy Kimalat- ASSEK CEO The Ecosystem Enablers Forum is a convergence of visionaries—Ecosystem leaders, CEOs, and Founders from Entrepreneur Support Organizations. Together, we are forging a path of focused dialogue, identifying challenges, aligning our collective efforts to advance the interests of ESOs.

This was closely followed by the second session on:  “Deep Dive into the emerging topics for the Ecosystem”. We had leadership Roundtable Discussion contemplating on the innovation trends, delving into the critical topics, presentations, and discussions that aimed to uncover practical solutions.

According to the ESOs present, for the Ecosystem to grow and have a great impact, then it is time, they re-define and ask themselves “What does a sustainable ESO look like and how can ASSEK- as an Association of ESOs, tap in and elevate them? Some of the ESOs went ahead and shared the Expectations as CEOs , founders and leaders of Enablers, referring to ASSEK’s five key pillars- Policy and Advocacy, Collaboration, Empowerment, Internationalization and Capacity Building in 5 years to come.

We successfully concluded the forum by bringing in the Government lens into perspective, we were joined by The Kenya Industrial Entrepreneurship Project – represented by Cecilia Mwangi– Innovation Ecosystem Manager, KIEP-  State department of MITI, who strategically pointed out the need for collaboration as opposed to competition. Anne LawiASSEK Vice chairperson – urged  and encouraged every Entrepreneur Support Organizations: Co-working space, a community space, a maker space, or industry outfit,  to plug into the ASSEK Network  as we champion for the right policies, regulations to ensure that we have a conducive and an enabling environment to support the Start, Growth and scaleup of Entrepreneur Support Organization.

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