What a day it was!
What a crowd!
Punches, counter-punches. Questions, answers. Enter angry, come out happy, smiling and limp. Satisfied. Hehehe.
It was no secret that the Kenyans were Angry about how the Tandaa Grant process was done. Is was no secret that the ICT Board lead by Bwana @pkukubo [PK] was willing to sit in a forum and address all the issues.
I was no secret where the meeting was held. At Nailab. The directions, googleMaps, Matatu Numbers and Taxi fare was all made public. I even offered to pay for a cab for anyone who wanted to attend but has, as usual, no fare. So there was no reason for any blogger worth his/her weight in salt not to attend. None at all.
So, the main issues were addressed:
- Why are multi-million dollar companies like VirtualCity winning grants? – It was made clear that Tandaa Grants were not for Start-ups of small companies or anything of that sort. The grants were for the BEST IDEAS and best laid-out business plans. Simple as. if Safaricom or Barclays applied for the next Tandaa Grant, and their proposal was solid, they would win. Tandaa is not HELB. The ICT board is not the UN. Mpesa is here because Safaricom/Voda got a grant to develop it. And it is not even Kenyan. But it helps Kenya. Move on.
- Why are foreign companies winning grants? This issue was not raised here on this blog. But some Xenophobic blogger will inferiority complex made this an issue and created an uproar from the idlers who read his half-baked content. Tandaa grants are for 2 kinds of applicants. Individuals who are Kenyans AND Companies that are registered in Kenya. Simple as. If Mr Popodupolous from Greece and Mr Stoichkov from Serbia come to Kenya and register a company that will have a GOOD idea, they will win the grant. So, measure up and COMPETE with the world’s best!
- So, what about the start-ups? The grant has had the unfortunate and the undesirable side-effect of creating a dependency culture. Most start-ups now have a grant or winning an IT competition as part of the business plan. Right there next to a very weak revenue model. Well, shock on you. You will never win a grant.
- Anything else? The Tandaa Grants give preference to ideas that can never get financing anywhere else. If you idea looks/feels like one that can get funding from a Bank or a any other loan avenues, then it will be second in preference to one whose survival depends on the grant only.
It was everyone’s wish, including PK, that some of these so-called big bloggers could man-up and attend these meetings. Come to the forum and ask questions to the REAL stakeholders. The report them in your blog AS-IS. Not to cook up facts and get all bitchy trying to solicit for readers.
Waibochi was there. In person. PK was there, plus about 8 of his staff. That is how seriously they took this. @Kaboro, @Kahenya, @roomthinker, @mbuguanjihia, @bankelele @watuwenginekama50. So, basically, ANYONE who mattered and had valid and genuine concerns was there.
All in all, it was a nice meetup.
All questions were asked and all were answered.
Back to code. Ama leo ni pool?