Rome, 15 May 2023 - In recent days, Eni promoted the “Seeds for sustainable energy” bootcamp in Kenya, a joint open innovation initiative involving Joule, Eni's Business School and the company's Tech Open Innovation and agroenergy areas.
The project concerned the innovation of the agribusiness chain and agricultural ecosystem in Kenya, with the support of BeEntrepreneurs. The aim was to identify and select start-up founders, local innovators and young talents who want to develop high-potential products and services for agribusiness initiatives.
The bootcamp, held in Nairobi at the E4Impact Entrepreneurship Centre, featured 3 international start-ups from among the more than 300 analysed and 10 local early-stage solutions from among the more than 200 applications received at the start of the initiative last January.
During the bootcamp, local start-ups had the opportunity to participate in an entrepreneurial skills development programme with the participation of Eni representatives in Kenya as well as local and Italian institutions in the area.
With the 3 international start-ups, the technological aspects of the solutions were examined in depth, identifying potential use cases.
The initiative ended with the awarding of a grant worth 10,000 euros in services to support growth to three local start-ups considered among the most promising:
- FamerLifeLine Technologies: monitoring of cultivation progress and accelerated detection of pests and diseases
- Farm IT: digital services for farmers to improve their livelihoods
- Koch Food Waste Management Champions: collection and processing of waste into compost, fertilisers, briquettes and oil.
At the same time, the company's Tech Open Innovation and agroenergy areas have identified three possible use cases with global start-ups that will focus primarily on optimising agricultural yields using advanced sensors, land surveys with satellite images and predictive models to optimise crop cycles and reduce the impact on the environment.
The bootcamp's purpose was twofold: to generate a concrete impact on the area's economic fabric by actively supporting local innovation initiatives, and to identify possible synergies with agri-feedstock activities in Kenya starting in the second half of this year. The approach to open innovation will be instrumental in accelerating agribusiness activities in the country and in particular the Agri Hub in Makueni, where vegetable oil, bio-fertilisers and animal feed are produced without competing with the food chain.
Eni's agricultural development project is at an advanced stage and offers income opportunities and market access to tens of thousands of farmers, also thanks to the support of the country's Agriculture Ministry. Agriculture plays a significant role in Kenya in terms of both GDP and employment, but about 80% of the land suffers from degradation and desertification (Arid and Semi Arid Land, ASAL).
Eni's first agrihub inaugurated in Kenya becomes part of the vertical bio-refining supply chain. Through training and acceleration programmes, the "Seeds for Sustainable Energy" initiative will generate local innovation inputs for the sustainable development of new agricultural supply chains, as well as integrating innovative solutions along the existing agribusiness supply chain.