By Victor Shalton
Kenya Airways’ Fahari Innovation Hub Launches
The pioneering Startup and innovation hub from Kenya Airways, Fahari Innovation Hub, launched on July 8, seeking to bring together entrepreneurs and innovators to share their insights and visions for sustainability, engineering and customer experience objectives to accelerate impactful solutions to some of the aviation industry’s business challenges.
The hub is the airline’s – possibly Africa’s – only springboard for data driven innovation, and it is part of Kenya Airways’ strategy in contributing to the sustainable development of Africa by empowering, partnering and co-creating innovative ideas and strategies with local start-ups and the small medium enterprises (SMEs) ecosystem.
Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka said, “At the pace at which change accelerates, especially now in the middle of a global pandemic, we have become increasingly aware of the need to be innovative as we position the business as a resilient, forward-looking and sustainable company with a deliberate inclusive agenda of empowering, partnering and co-creating with the society around us.”
“Enabling an environment that will accelerate innovative ideas, knowledge exchange and impact business operations brought together various think-tanks, industry leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs exemplifies our spirit to charge forward as we seek to innovatively find solutions that address some of our business problems and pain points.”
Attendees for the Fahari Innovation workshop previously held virtually titled ‘KQ Aviation 101 Workshop’ included some first-time participants signed up as Corporate Partners – as well as GE Aviation.
The virtual event also included highly interactive Virtual Innovation Roundtables in which participants were able to engage in virtual room to share ideas, experiences and insights as well as a wild card for innovators and entrepreneurs to think outside the box and put forward a new product and business approach that can position KQ as an innovative company and strengthen the company by tapping into new markets and establishing new innovative products. The wild card must be practical, scalable and able to be commercialized.
“Innovation is shaping how we see the world and how we participate in its development today and into the future,”said Brenda Mbathi, president of GE East Africa, at the launch ceremony.
The physical Fahari Innovation Hub was made possible with collaborative efforts from National Youth Council of Kenya together with colleges as students implemented end to end designs, and worked together with the KQ team to facilitate logistics of the project. This included the construction of the Hub which used 70% recycled materials including desks, interiors, and décor.
“We commend Kenya Airways for partnering with National Youth Council and GE and leveraging and harnessing Youth potential to design the Fahari Innovation Hub in fast-tracking the country’s mission to use new, digital and environmental friendly business models beyond flying to shape our tomorrow,” said Joseph Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs
“Through the hub we hope to see provision of upskilling, employment opportunities, community growth as well as support to local universities, enterprises and SMEs as we contribute to the sustainable development of Africa,” Mucheru continued.