The Kenyan Parliament has recently published the Startup Bill 2020 to encourage the creation of new businesses for local and foreign investors.
The bill was published in the Kenya Gazette and is sponsored by the Nairobi County Senator, Johnson Sakaja.
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With the Startup Bill, the Kenyan government has provided modern provisions including incentives for startups and the protection of one’s intellectual property. Kenya is the third East African country that has worked on a Startup Act. The first two countries were Rwanda and Ethiopia.
This StartUp bill is unique in that it has proposed laws specifically for startups. Before this, none of Africa’s economic and tech hubs such as Egypt and Nigeria had done this.
The Start Up Bill has just been published after months of engagements with the tech community. Thanks to all who contributed thus far esp @AgollaVictor for coordinating. Deeper public participation for the wider start up community coming up @afromusing @serahgaitho @jorammwinamo
— Sakaja Arthur Johnson (@SakajaJohnson) September 23, 2020
How startups can benefit
For startups to benefit from the Act, it has to be a registered company based in Kenya. The focus of Kenyan ownership is a distinctive part of the Startup Bill in that it focuses on local entrepreneurs. The startups need to be majority-owned by at least one Kenyan citizen.
Fifteen percent of the startup’s expenses need to consist of research and development activities. The startup founder also needs to be the licensed holder of a patent.
Benefits for startups
The proposed Act has included several benefits for startups that are registered. The Startup Bill plans to promote the foundations of registered startups. Under the Act, startups will be given support in terms of research and development.
Other support will include fiscal and non-fiscal support for startups that will be a part of the incubation programs that fall under the Startup Bill.
Startup Growth programs
The Startup Bill also aims to create growth programs for startups at a provincial and national level through partnering with local and international business incubators.
The Public Service Commission of Kenya will recruit a registrar for registering startups. The Kenya National Innovation Agency will appoint a registrar.
Local and national governments will also work to promote a link between the business community and universities and research institutions.
Protection of intellectual property
Intellectual property rights have always been a concern for entrepreneurs. With the Startup Bill, the Kenyan government aims to provide IP protection specifically for startups and help with the registration of international patents.
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