The Media Innovation Centre (MiC) has today begun sifting through the 250 applications submitted for the 2020/2021 Innovators-In-Residence (IiR) program advertised early September. The 250 applications, the highest number submitted since the start of the program, will go through four stages of evaluation to determine which three teams from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania will join the one-year long residency.
“We are very excited to kick start our second phase of the application process. Today we are initiating the first stage, which is the screening stage. This will be handled by a pre-selected committee who will apply agreed upon criteria to determine who will proceed to the second stage,” said Njoki Chege, MiC Director. “At this stage, the committee will be looking out for basic requirements like is the team from East Africa, is the idea media related, are the applicants 18 years and above among other requirements,” added Njoki.
Njoki likewise assured the applicants of the quality of the committee members stating that it was comprised of professionals with experience in media innovation.
“The committee will be led by Ms. Sheilah Birgen, a ecosystem builder, startup and SMEs growth enabler, innovation and Strategy Specialist with over 11 years of experience in entrepreneurship, innovation and technology in Africa. Together with her team, we are confident, through their combined expertise and keen eyes, will help us find three great ideas that we can help develop and grow in to strong start-ups.”
The number of applications received was also ground breaking demonstrating the need for funding for media entrepreneurs in East Africa.
“We are also very delighted to see this years’ submission surpassing last years’ by a whopping 151 applications. This is evidence that media is evolving in East Africa and the incubation and acceleration services provided by The MiC is not only much needed, but vital to the media innovation eco-system in the region. As a Centre, we are committed to ensuring that media start-ups receive the required training, access to business and journalism coaches, facilities such as working space, tech equipment among other needs,” noted Njoki.
Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) Dean, Professor Lawrence Pintak, emphasized on the need for more support when it comes to media viability and innovation in the region.
“I am happy to see the high interest in media viability, through innovation, within the region. The MiC couldn’t have come at a better time when media is evolving to provide a safe place for experimenting and trying out new things,” said Prof. Pintak. As a school, we are looking forward to enhance our capacity as the premier institution in the region for the development of journalists and media professionals, who can tell the stories of this part of the world and shape the narratives of how these stories interact with the identities and cultures of the people of East Africa,” noted Dean Pintak.
Together with its partners, DW Akademie, Media Challenge Initiative and Tanzania’s Media Foundation, The IiR program looks to support pre-formed teams of journalists, storytellers, visual artists, data analytics specialists, photographers, videographers, graphic designers, cartoonists, illustrators, coders, programmers and/or animators who will benefit from, among other things, a $20,000 grant to grow their media start-ups.