On Friday 7 October 2022, The Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi), opened new offices in East Africa and announced a collaboration with the Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy’s (AGGP) Jasiri Talent Investor program and the Jasiri Accelerator.
CiTi is a not-for-profit impact organisation and Africa’s oldest and most experienced technology incubator, supporting African entrepreneurs for 23 years. Over the last eight years alone, CiTi has intensively supported entrepreneurs from 11 African countries through its specialised entrepreneurial development programs and through both Injini, Africa’s Education Technology Accelerator and BioCiTi Labs, Biotech Incubator. The recent collaboration with AAGP’s Jasiri Talent Investor program and the Jasiri Accelerator has enabled CiTi to combine its experience with that of AGGP Jasiri in East Africa, to support high potential individuals become high impact responsible entrepreneurs.
Ian Merrington CEO of CiTi cutting the ribbon to CiTi’s new East Africa office at Norrsken House Kigali.
From left to right: Che Rupari Norrsken foundation, Dr Roselyn Marandu-Kareithi, Country Lead Kenya, Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies (AGGP), Michal Szymanski Program Lead CiTi, Aline Kabanda, Rwanda country director AGGP, Ian Merrington CEO of CiTi, Michelle Umurungi, Business Development & Partnerships Manager for Norrsken East Africa, Lara Rosmarin Head of Entrepreneur Development and Incubation at CiTi, Anthony Farr head of Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies East Africa.
CiTi has chosen Norrsken House Kigali as its new base for its East Africa expansion. Norrsken East Africa is part of the Norrsken Foundation, a non-profit foundation built on the belief that entrepreneurs building rapidly scalable businesses can help solve some of the greatest challenges facing our world today, which aligns strongly with CiTi’s inclusive impact vision for Africa.
Ian Merrington CEO of CiTi said “We have entrepreneurial and skills development hubs in Cape Town, Khayelitsha and Johannesburg. We are privileged to now be able to open an office in Kigali, Rwanda. Our collaboration with the Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies Jasiri talent investor program over the last three months has enabled us to deploy dedicated staff on the ground in Rwanda to support entrepreneurs in East Africa. The impact of our support and ongoing collaboration with AGGP, have justified us investing in a full-time office in Rwanda to further our reach and impact in East Africa. I believe that we will be able to add value and impact, not only in traditional entrepreneurial development support but in more specialised areas such as the Bioeconomy, EdTech ecosystem and the acceleration of digital skills. We are also delighted to be able to collaborate with the members of Norrsken House Kigali and base ourselves in the middle of a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in East Africa.”
Anthony Farr, head of Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy East Africa, said “Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies’ vision is to see an empowered, prosperous, productively engaged African citizenry thriving in ethical societies with dignity and hope, which aligns well with CiTi’s vision of a future-fit, inclusive society. I have been delighted to see the increased impact of combining the experience of our two organisations’ entrepreneurial support interventions. We believe that strong entrepreneurial teams are at the heart of successful new venture creation, so by starting with a focus on the individual, we aim to build a brilliant, diverse, and equally ambitious community of co-founders.”
Michelle Umurungi, the Business Development & Partnerships Manager for Norrsken East Africa said “Norrsken Foundation has just launched Africa’s largest entrepreneurship hub, the Norrsken Kigali House, which will host more than one thousand entrepreneurs and innovators. We have been running our entrepreneurship hub in Kigali since 2021, with the aim to provide a collaborative environment where education, innovation and entrepreneurship join to generate scalable growth and development both in Kigali and beyond. We are delighted to host The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) East African office at Norrsken House; I am excited by the future collaboration opportunities that this creates for all of us”
Merrington said: “We are looking forward to seeding further ecosystem collaborations and partnerships that will contribute to making a positive impact in East Africa. Employment and economic prosperity cannot be driven by corporations and big business alone. Much of Africa’s economic growth will evolve from small business and entrepreneurs. CiTi’s specialised clustering, incubation and acceleration interventions are designed to unlock the potential of the vast stores of talent amongst the innovative and resilient individuals on the continent”
From left to right: Che Rupari Norrsken foundation, Aline Kabanda, Rwanda country director AGGP, Lara Rosmarin Head of Entrepreneur Development and Incubation at CiTi, Dr Roselyn Marandu-Kareithi, Country Lead Kenya, Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies (AGGP), Anthony Farr head of Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies East Africa, Michelle Umurungi, Business Development & Partnerships Manager for Norrsken East Africa Ian Merrington CEO of CiTi, Michal Szymanski Program Lead CiTi.