The startup mentoring journey continues, with my trip to Africa into the unknown world of entrepreneurship in Kenya. I decided, to have no expectations, to be open-minded and happy to get this opportunity; that is how my journey to Africa started. Beforehand I made some research, about the startup ecosystem in Kenya.

A booming ecosystem with a great intense to growth. Places like Nairobi Garage (Co-working space and innovation HUB), iHUB founded in 2010 (launched as many as 170 !! startups). In other Kenyan cities, such as Mombasa (SwahiliBox), Kisumu (LakeHub), Eldoret (Dlab Hub), Voi (Sote Hub) and Machakos (Ubunifu), co-working spaces and innovation Hub’s supporting young future entrepreneurs to become the next superheros.

For years, Nairobi has been the cradle of technological innovation in Kenya, and the center of countries thriving tech ecosystem, famously known as Silicon Savannah. Nairobi is still an expensive city to live, but its community and logistical advantages, support young entrepreneurs.


First time at the south part of the equator

Friendly faces and beautiful colors

Being the first time at the south part of the equator is bringing you into a complete unexpected world. The nature, environment and people are so beautiful and exciting. When I arrived at the airport, I stepped out into a world full of colors and a very welcoming culture. I got picked up by my driver named David, a local taxi-driver, who is also organizing safaris. He was patiently waiting for me at the airport, as it took me almost two hours after arriving to get my ”first entrance visa” and all the security checks. After almost 16h on the road, I though I will be tired, but I was too excited and curious of what I will see. My first wonderful moment was to see close by the airport, at the Nairobi National Park a giraffe standing. My journey could not have been starting any better.

A bus in Nairobi – MATATU

The traffic and the transport in Nairobi is one of a kind, like in any other African city. Matatu are buses and BODABODA are two-wheel transportation (maybe not to recommend, but a great experience still). UBER is working perfectly in Nairobi, locals advice you to use UBER instead of normal taxis, and the transportation costs are between 200 to 2000 Kenyan Shillings. If you find a great driver, he will explain you local attractions and hot spots. The traffic itself in Nairobi (approx. 3.5 million citizens) is challenging, as there are no rules, traffic-light is existing but ignored, roundabout traffic is regulated by the police. It could take a while during traffic hours to arrive at your final destination. If you are traveling to Africa, not only Nairobi – Kenya, leave your being punctual, stress or worries at home, cause everything is Hakuna Matata (=no worries).


Meeting our startups and seeing their progress

Since August lot of things happened to all of them; the startup environment is not always an easy one, struggles are daily challenges. This has nothing to do, if you are in Africa or Europe. All of the teams are working on their promising future and it is great to see them and their success. I met during my stay, for example Wanjugu from The Textile Loft (a premium quality fabric outlet); she previously in September moved her company to Nairobi – Westlands and has now a bigger space. She has now more room to receive bigger quantity orders, and also have more employees to work for her. They are producing wonderful high quality clothes. Her mentor Songya Kesler, ordered a whole collection from Wanjugu, it will be wonderful to see the result.

Wanjugu from The Textile Loft

I also was visiting Esther Mukami from Elegant Touch Wellness Clinic; I could experience one of her treatments, you can feel and experience the passion she has for her profession. I enjoyed an one hour treatment, a cupping session, light foot reflex massage and a very much need back massage. A wonderful feeling to be so relaxed and centered.

My next visit was my own startup Tracey from Funke Science, she should me around in her lovely premises of Funke Science. The location is beautiful and full of potential and ready to welcome lot of kids to experience science projects. Now we will focus on producing valuable science videos, as we got funding for it, which is a great success. After we will have couple of videos, ready to publish, we will share it in the beginning around Nairobi area and then expand to a more wider target audience.


Fascination of Africa´s nature and the Nairobi National Park

Giraffe in the morning

Beside working in Nairobi, there was also some time for enjoying the natural environment. With three other mentors, Songya and Alex, we decided to join a short Safari, which David is organizing. We left from the hotel at 6.00 a.m. in the morning, it was raining, but still nice warm. The national park is right beside the city. The paradox on it is, that you see those wonderful free living animals and behind them the skyline of Nairobi, which has something very spectacular. We were very lucky, cause we could see almost all kind of animals, rhinos, white and black ones, giraffes, lions, gazelles and buffalo’s. The safari took us four hours, and at the end our drivers car had a broken wheel. Africa an all its colors, wonderful people, friendly and kind left a very big impression on me. My stay was just for one week, but I am glad to have the opportunity to go again in February this year to Nairobi, and once again meet all the great people there. I am grateful for this opportunity.

Mr. Buffalo says HELLO


What is doing

In Africa, they support entrepreneurship among all fields, it is outstanding and a good example of making positive impact. During this year over 100 startups applied for their startup-mentoring program, the wide awareness they build including the network is very promising for the future. Even the rate of failure in the startup environment is high, still no reason for not trying. is giving each and every startup the opportunity to explore their possibilities and introducing them into a new way of thinking; plus to guide them into the right entrepreneurial direction. Their mentors are coming from different fields, and each of them have valuable input to bring, it is of pure pleasure to talk to each and everybody. I am grateful to be one of the mentors and value my participation highly, opportunity seeking is always my curiosity goal. I am looking forward to meet all those great people behind this organization again, each of them is highly to praise for their unconditional effort and drive, rarely you find committed people with such a similar goal. Not only to travel and enjoy life, also to give something back, our social responsibility duties to the society.


Next stop – February 2019 Nairobi

Sabine Suorsa
Project Manager – Projektipäällikkö
RDI Creative Industry – TKI Luovat alat
International Coordinator – KV-koordinaattori
XAMK international affairs