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The IT sector in Kenya

Multipliers for Employment Creation: The IT Sector in Kenya

This research project is investigating the determinants of success and failure of IT companies in Kenya and the contribution of so-called incubators that give entrepreneurs access to training, contacts, capital and office space. The research project is focusing on how and under which conditions small IT firms, which typically start in the informal sector, take off, generate organizational growth and become formal-sector employers of women and youth. These businesses will then be able to compete with transnational IT businesses that dominated the market.

The research project is adopting a multi-method approach. The starting point is a single longitudinal case study that uses ethnographic research to study organizational learning, (industry) leadership, social networks, and other enablers and barriers to productive employment. This approach is broadened to cover three failure cases and three success stories within Kenya and the findings will be compared with similar studies in South Africa and Bangladesh. The project also aims to build up a large database with information about all relevant Kenyan IT enterprises that will allow long-term study of organizational innovation and productive employment in Kenya.

Three stakeholder workshops and two policy papers for the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Kenyan Communications Ministry will ensure knowledge sharing. Importantly, the consortium will develop a course for IT enterprises and incubators to be delivered through ASHOKA and iHub, and a BA/MBA course that will contain on-site student projects.

Watch a video pitch of the research group:

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  • Africa Creative Hub
  • East Africa Social Enterprise Network (EASEN)
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • iHub Research
  • London School of Economics
  • Strathmore Business School

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