Calling all African “Innovatorpreneurs”

Point blank, Innovation Baraza seeks to promote the commercialization of ideas that can change the material conditions of Africans. The seed has been planted in Harare, but is expected to grow and cover East, Central, and Southern Africa in the years to come.  While researchers in the industrialized countries are landing vehicles on Mars in the advancement of science, many African men and women struggle to feed their families, access minimum water quantities, light their homes, and live in adequate structures.  As for our transportation and communication, many parts of our continent are where the rest of the world was a century ago.  

Innovation Baraza was founded by Mungai Lenneiye, the Director of Udugu Institute, and is co-convener and facilitator of Udugu Nexus with Prof. Mandi Rukuni.

Innovation Baraza was established to support all who dream to make africa better.

There are 3 components to Innovation Baraza:

  1. The Mentorship. Our partners have put together a fantastic program for the approximately 40 teams who will be selected for the 10 July Fair. This program will feature a "crash course" in a variety of entrepreneurial topics to help teams fine-tune their presentations, pitch skills, and business objectives. Sound interesting? Apply today!

  2. The Fair. This exhibition for “Innovatorpreneurs” will showcase local science, innovation, and entrepreneurial ideas.  Selected exhibitors will be provided space to present their ideas in a public and widely publicized forum (and given a stipend to cover their costs). Additionally, our program is full of inspirational presentations by business leaders and successful entrepreneurs.  If you haven't already, please take a look at our schedule.

  3. The Simba Savannah.  From the Fair, a handful of the most promising Innovatorpreneurs will be selected during the "Innovators' Hunt" by our panel of distinguished judges to continue on to the Simba Savannah; whose participants will have access to mentorship from business and innovation leaders who will work with the teams following the July fair to further refine their ideas for presentation to a select group of investors in October 2015. Innovation Baraza is dedicated to helping as many Innovatorpreneurs walk their innovations from idea to market.

Side note:

Originally, Innovation Baraza Fair was planned for November, but has been moved forward to July to take advantage of the gathering momentum for the July 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi led by President Obama of the United States of America.  The US Government is a great supporter of innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa, and already supports a number of Innovation Hubs in Zimbabwe.  Innovation Baraza also supports the mission of these Hubs and provides them an opportunity to meet the general public, researchers, students, private sector actors, government officials, and others in an effort to explain what they are doing and to prepare for the Nairobi July Summit. The US Embassy in Harare has teamed up with Udugu Institute to launch Innovation Baraza Fair on 10 July 2015.

The Founders

Prof. Manduvanba (Mandu) Rukuni and Dr Nginya Mungai Lenneiye are co-convenors and facilitators of UduguNexus, a planned series of Talks to inspire Innovation and Leadership for the Advancement of African Society.

Nginya Mungai Lenneiye

Mungai’s career started 35 years ago and has been dominated by working during periods of transition in East, Central and Southern Africa – at first working during transitions associated with decolonization: In Zimbabwe (1981), Namibia (1991), and South Africa (1996); and secondly, with transitions from single party rule to multi-party democracy in Zambia (1993) and Malawi (1995), followed by the Zimbabwe (2009) transition.  Between 2000 and 2006, he worked with the World Bank in Washington DC as a Senior Social Protection Specialist, and as World Bank Country Manager in Zimbabwe during 2007-2014.  He has authored several books, including: Case Studies on Public Sector Leadership Development in (2000); and a monograph on Ushe’s Mission in Zimbabwe (2015): Leadership Lessons on Change Leadership. Dr. Lenneiye is founder of Udugu Institute whose goal is to promote innovative operational research for Africa's development in – and Innovation Baraza is an initiative in pursuit of this goal..


Mandivamba (Mandi) Rukuni

Mandi’s career started 35 years ago, worked as an academic for 20 years with the University of Zimbabwe where he served as Professor and Dean of Agriculture.  He worked with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for a further 11 years as Director for Africa Programs.  He has policy and strategic expertise in agriculture, business, finance, government, and education.  He also leads the BEAT Doctoral Academy as Professor Extraordinaire, University of Africa, and Zambia; and as adjunct Professor at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He has received several honours and awards, and has published 15 books and more than 100 articles.