CUK Innovation Week (CUKiW2021)

/CUK Innovation Week (CUKiW2021)


Prof. Kamau Ngamau Vice Chancellor at The Co-operative University of Kenya

There is a clear link between innovation and development. The more innovative we get, the richer we will become because innovations lead to new products and services; new startups companies; new jobs and employment opportunities and finally newer greater wealth and consequently reduction of poverty. Our aspirations as CUK, recognizes Innovation as the engine that drives entrepreneurship which then opens up opportunities for our young people and creates jobs that sustain and reward them as well. Against this backdrop, we need to establish strong and sustainable links and collaborations between CUK and the industry, where students and staff will always plays a critical role. The Co-operative University of Kenya, has set aside resources and is taking chance on innovation and new ideas that could become tomorrow’s national, regional, or global conglomerates. Our teaching and application of education in Science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship has continued to improve the national human capital.



Prof Isaac Nyamongo -Deputy Vice Chancellor, Co-operative Development, Research and Innovation (CDRI)

The Co-operative University of Kenya through the Division of Co-operative Development, Research and Innovation is organizing a flagship forum, dubbed CUK Innovation Week (CUKIW), for innovators and entrepreneurs in line with the mandate of the University. Our desire at CDRI is to support development and management of Innovation system at CUK, and therefore to see innovators and entrepreneurs are top ranked in the national innovation index; a one sure indicator of progress as a University. Working with partners, and the co-operative movement, we aim to grow the CUK Innovation Week into a national Innovation forum for the Co-operative movement in Kenya, with relevant outcomes.

Professor Isaac Nyamongo,

DVC – CDRI & Patron – CUK Innovation Week




We aspire to use CUK Innovation Week forum to strengthen the CUK innovation ecosystem, that include students, staff, cooperative sector practitioners and regulators, and hence the national innovation system that facilitates taking research and ideas to the market. This year’s event will be an inaugural of a series of such annual events that will be held back-to-back during CUK Annual Conference. In line with the CUK’s mission, this year’s event will focus on four priority areas: Skills for innovation, Research Commercialization, 4th Industrial Revolution, and the Start-ups movement. It is our hope that the forum will help us make progress on innovation matters in a manner that we can track and celebrate. Each year, we shall assess the progress made, and commit ourselves to certain aspirations for subsequent year. Certainly, we all have a role to play and can participate in the ways, at individual or institutional level.

Silas Maiyo,

Event, Coordinator & Coordinator – Research & Innovation


The Co-operative University of Kenya (CUK) is a premier Chartered Public University, a Center of Excellence in co-operative training, research, and consultancy for cooperative development. In line with its vision (A leading University in Co-operative Training, Education, Research and Innovation) and mission (To provide education, training, research and consultancy in order to produce leaders and human capital in the fields of co-operatives, community development, rural transformation, business, applied sciences, information and communication technology for development), CUK is playing a critical transformational role in key sectors of development in Kenya including cooperatives, agriculture and food security. The University is strategically positioned in the Cooperative Movement through which it influences policy development needed to transform the cooperative sector. Benefiting from its national reach, CUK is often called upon to provide expert advice to the agricultural and cooperative sector throughout the country and African region. The University is championing adoption of cooperatives as drivers of socio-economic transformation and financial inclusion in the parts of Kenya where communities have been marginalized by development policies adopted over the years and socio-cultural and economic circumstances that have adversely affected development in communities. Towards this end CUK maintains unique partnership and collaborative model for working with the National Government, County Governments and development partners based on mutual corporate understanding. The University established Division of Co-operative Development, Research and Innovation (CDRI), through which innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization is developed and managed. CDRI has grown and its unique approach to Outreach, Research & Innovation, CUK has won key grants and funding to implement unique transformation projects in agriculture, cooperatives, technology and disaster risk reduction. These include a grant by Africa Development Bank to implement the Kenya Rural Transformation Centers Digital Platform; a grant by US Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) to undertake a study on cooperative resilience to Covid-19 and similar shocks triggered by disasters. The university is committed to supporting development of innovators and entrepreneurs.


Kenya is uniquely positioned and well-endowed with promising innovation ecosystem that if well guided and managed can lead to a transformative effect to individuals, in organizations and entire country, tremendously. Under the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Act, No. 28 of 2013, and Universities Act, 2012, local Universities, including CUK are encouraged to spearhead development and nurturing of human capital and promote new skills, knowledge and innovations. Therefore, though CUK’s Vision – A leading University in Co-operative Training, Education, Research and Innovation – we intent to run an annual a forum “CUK Innovation Week” to help build synergies and collaborations in the Innovation ecosystem.

CUKIW 2021 – Objectives

  • To strengthen the research and commercialization practices for greater socio-economic impact
  • To showcase/exhibit and recognize innovations by researchers, startups, students and staff ( and organizations)
  • To promote practical skills necessary to create innovations that truly impact people and societies in a meaningful way
  • To advance the diffusion and uptake of emerging technologies as tools for innovation and societal transformation
  • To champion relevant policy engagement on innovation and commercialization at our institution (and national level)

CUKIW 2021 – Target Audience

  • Faculty – CUK members of staff from senior leadership to faculty from various disciplines (Cooperative development, agribusiness, computing, technology, mathematics, science, community development, disaster management, entrepreneurship, business….etc)
  • Students and learners who wish to enhance their innovation skills and get inspired by innovative solutions in the society.
  • Innovators & Entrepreneurs – those who have developed ideas into products and business and are looking for markets – commercialization
  • Investors – who will be looking for innovations and start-ups in which they can invest
  • Organizations and start-ups – those with innovative products they wish to showcase for markets and visibility
  • Private sector and development partners who wish to promote innovation in their organizations and society and also those who wish to promote start-ups as venture promoters.
  • Academia ranging from University leadership to faculty from various disciplines
  • Policy makers who will focus on innovation, education, research, intellectual property, technology among others

CUKIW 2021 – Expectations, Outcomes, Outputs

  • Strengthen the CUK’s capacity, skills and knowledge necessary for developing user centric innovations. This will be achieved through demonstrations, workshops that would benefit learners and facilitators at different levels along the trajectory of advancing competence-based learning
  • Enhance the success of promoting start-ups, new ideas, from innovators and entrepreneurs, by introducing them to potential investors, development partners and customers. This will be achieved through staging of exhibitions and pitching platforms
  • Advance the diffusion and uptake of fourth industrial revolution technologies as tools for innovation and societal transformation. This will be achieved through exhibitions, bootcamps, hackathons and seminars.
  • Diffuse strategies that will strengthen alternative revenue generation and sustainability, through commercialization of technology and intangible assets of CUK and other research institutions. This would be achieved by sharing best practices and unveiling roadmaps that institution can adopt
  • Influence innovation related policies within CUK and at national level. This will be achieved through a policy engagements, panel discussions, key note speeches and disseminated materials during the innovation week.


Theme: The CUKIW 2021 event will run under the theme “Nurturing Innovators (and entrepreneurs) for Sustainable Co-operative ecosystem”.


Date: 8th – 9th November, 2021. This will be an annual event going into the future.


Venue: The event will take place at CUK Main Campus in Karen, this will be attended both virtually and in-person so as to attract various participation (national outlook). CDRI will set up partnerships and collaborations, including county & national governments, cooperative movement, private sector, development partners, media and civic society to ensure many innovations run relevant activities, in order to capitalize in as much as shared value as possible.

Thematic Areas

Below are the three-fold thematic areas, identified as packages, upon which various partners will work together:

Package 1: Research and Commercialization

This package will focus on strengthening best practices and systems for good research and commercialization. As part of country’s ST&I and CUK mandate on reforms trajectory to exploit research and intangible assets as a substantive alternative source of revenue. This is in line of CDRI mandate of supporting enterprises (especial cooperatives) that emerges from research and ideas.

Package 2: Skills for Innovation and Entrepreneurship: start-ups, incubates, e.t.c

This package will explore sharing and disseminating information on how to promote innovativeness through skills development, especially at University career levels. Therefore, this package will strongly link to new curriculum of CBC efforts as pathway to transformation of societal minds. The focus will also incorporate start-ups and incubates, with an aim of linking promising start-ups to investors and funders.

Package 3: Technology & 4th Industrial Revolution

The package aim to promote the modern intangible technologies such as IoT, ML, Mobile devices, Smart Sensors, Big Data & Analytics, Augmented and virtual reality as enablers of technology.

For successful planning, management and execution of the event (and especially each Package), organizing committee is established. The members of the organizing committee have expertise and interest in these areas. Each package will have key-note presentations, panel discussions sessions, exhibitions, pitches, bootcamps, hackathons, seminars and workshops. Using this model, CDRI endeavours to promote diversity, creativity, and engage as many people as possible.

CUKIW 2021 – Patron

  • Prof. Isaac Nyamongo CUKIW Patron & DVC – CDRI

CUKIW 2021 – Organizing committee

  1. Dr. Shem Mbandu              Event, Chairperson
  2. Silas Maiyo                         Event, Coordinator
  3. Prof. W. Oboka                   Member                     
  4. Dr. L. Kiganane                    Member
  5. Dr. Charles Kamau              Member
  6. Dr. Monica Nderitu             Member
  7. Prof. J. Kihoro                      Member
  8. Dr. L. Mutua                        Member
  9. Victor Wambua                   Member
  10. Dr. Calvince Ouko               Member
  11. Cornelius Mutuku                Member / Technology Support


CDRI will provide leadership, host the primary secretariat attracting specific individual and partners to support the planning and execution. Will also involve other sister divisions (AA and FPA), and private sector and development partners, as much as possible.

CUK through CDRI will engage distinguished leaders in innovation industry to attract prominent key note speakers in order to give the CUKIW 2021 the much needed influence as possible. Reach out to other important private sector players and practitioners in various socio-economic disciplines.

It is expected that there will be exhibitions, seminars, bootcamps, and workshops (hackathons).

CUKIW will be structured to allow activities to start early and build up to the week, as well as after.

CUKIW 2021 – Components

CUKIW 2021 will include, but not limited to, the following important components:

  • Well-designed exhibition setup
  • Fireside round table on innovation
  • A pitching platform for pre-selected start-ups / innovators / entrepreneurs
  • Set of key note presentations
  • Set of parallel panel discussions on sub-themes / thematic areas
  • Pre-qualified set of demo stations on various emerging issues

CUKIW 2021 – Funding and Sponsorship

CUK through CDRI aim to work with as many partners and collaborators as much as possible to mobilize resources to run the event.

CDRI will develop sponsorship packages with options, that partners would be invited to adopt.

CUKIW 2021 – Key Highlights

  • Annual Innovation Report
  • CUK Innovation Award – culminating sponsorship to participate in the National Innovation Week run by KeNIA
  • Top 5 promising start-ups ( commercialization, link to angel investors/markets)
  • Launch CUK Platform for Digital Innovation Hub






The organizing committee will develop guidelines for managing and executing the CUKIW 2021 with success.

The pre-event will involve, but not limited to, identification of innovators and entrepreneurs who will present in the main event; design of event program, and identify and contact potential partners.

Side – Events

CUKIW 2021 will host side events alongside the main event, this will include youth forums and cooperative movement leaders.

The Main Event

The CUKIW 2021 main event will run from 8th – 9th November, 2021 and will cut across the key packages, which include:

  1. Official Opening:

The CUKIW 2021 main event will officially be opened on 8th November, 2021 followed by a series of activities: Key note presentations; Innovation challenge announcements; fireside round tables. Official invited guests will also participate in the exhibitions.

  1. The Three Packages:

The THREE Packages (Package 1: Research and Commercialization; Package 2: Skills for Innovation and Entrepreneurship: start-ups, incubates, e.t.c; and, Package 3: Technology & 4th Industrial Revolution) will run concurrently from 8th – 9th November, 2021. The sessions will involve the following important activities:

  • Keynote speeches – Case studies presentations
  • Panel Discussions – Workshops
  • Bootcamps – Fireside Round table discussions – café
  • Special Announcements – Launch of products e.g. platforms, reports, policies
  • Pitches – Policy Announcements
  • Exhibitions
  1. Exhibitions:

The display of innovations, solutions, start-ups on 8th – 9th November, 2021. The exhibition setup would be organized along the various event packages.

  1. Official Closing:

The ceremony will be closed on the afternoon of 9th November, 2021 where activities such as innovation awards, top 5 start-ups announcement, strategic goals, and dates for CUKIW 2022 and the themes for CUKIW 2022 will be unveiled.




Proposed Schedule of Events

Date Activity
8th November, 2021 –       Official Opening Ceremony (A.M)

–       Key note speech

–       Round table discussion – café  

–       Exclusive Exhibitions

9th November, 2021 –       Parallel Package breakout sessions

–       Fireside round table discussion

–       Exhibitions

–       Official Closing


Deadline for application: 20th October, 2021

Dear Innovator, Community member(s),


CUK Innovation Challenge: Call for Innovative Solutions in Cooperative Tech Space and related subsectors


Are you an innovator driven to solve challenges in the co-operative and related economies? Are you, or anyone in your network, eager to meet leading industry players and scientific experts? Can you demonstrate how to transform SDGs through the use and conservation of technology & diversity? If your answer is YES, submit your application to the CUK Innovation Challenge committee!

The CUK Innovation Challenge is seeking innovators, entrepreneurs driven by a passion for solving challenges in the cooperative sector and associated economies by utilizing or conserving technology & diversity.

As part of the CUK’s annual development strategies, Innovation Challenge will recognize new products, services, and best practices that can help faculty, students, researchers, farmers, consumers, and private sector increase production effectiveness, competitiveness, and resilience while conserving innovation and diversity.

In an open innovation approach, the Innovation Challenge aims to:

  • Connect different actors motivated to improve global and community-based solutionss
  • Attract and support innovators, entrepreneurs to scale up their solutions through a long-term research and development collaboration with CUK and its partners
  • Identify innovators who could help advance research by sharing ideas and solutions

Disruptive innovators will have an opportunity to pitch their solutions to transform communities through the use and conservation of innovation & diversity and to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The challenge will highlight leading innovations that are helping to use, conserve, and consume technologies & innovation in ways that are better for people and for the environment.


Solutions should have the potential to:

  • Boost research production, commercialization, and sustainable development
  • Promote youth-led engagement, innovation, entrepreneurship,
  • Promote Public-Private-Partnerships to link formal and informal sectors for sustainable intensification leading to livelihood and environmental benefits
  • Accelerate adoption using technological applications that boost nature-based solutions to improve sustainability, profits for producers, and consumer health
  • Leverage technological innovations with diversity-sensitive potential for producers, their communities, and consumers
  • Attractive to potential angle investors and international forums


Prizes and benefits:

 In addition to increased visibility, recognition, and networking opportunities with leading industry players, investors, and scientific experts, 5 shortlisted candidates will receive a place on the CUK website and an invitation to participate in the National Innovation Week in December, 2021.

Selected winners will be awarded cash prizes, mentoring and training, partnerships, scientific and technology guidance program.

The competition is open to CUK staff, CUK students, individual from cooperative movement, and students from other institutions.

Deadline for applications/ registration: 22nd October, 2021.


Actual Innovation Week will take place on 8th – 9th November, 2021




For further information, please contact

The CUK Innovation Challenge is an initiative organized with the support of the partners.


Contact Details

Division of Co-operative Development

The Co-operative University of Kenya

P.O Box 24814 – 00502, Along Ushirika Road, Karen. NAIROBI. KENYA.



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