Innovators in Residence FAQs



A media innovator is an individual with a brilliant, novel idea within the media industry.

Incubation is the process of nurturing an idea into a successful self-sustaining business. Our incubation offers you a no-strings attached grant of $20,000 and a one-year residency in our exclusive innovators-in-residence program. We do NOT take equity in your start-up.

Our acceleration process takes your already existing start up to the next level of growth. Through training, coaching and mentorship, we equip you with the skills and competencies you require to help your media start up grow. Usually, our acceleration process takes the same time as the incubation process which is 12 months. This means you can join our innovators-in-residence program either as an existing start-up or with an idea and we tailor your training, coaching and mentorship depending on your needs.

It is a one of a kind in East Africa 12-month media incubation or/and acceleration program packed with exciting activities including training, mentorship and coaching. Every year, we select at least three teams of media innovators to join our exclusive program. The innovators also benefit from a shared working space in their home country (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) and access equipment, technology and software to allow you to work on your ideas.

Situated at the Aga Khan University in Nairobi, Kenya, the Media Innovation Center supports media start-ups and large media organisations in various ways. For start-ups, we provide you with a comprehensive and integrated range of support that includes: incubator space, business support services, grant funding and networking opportunities. For large media organisations, we work with them in different capacities to help them achieve their goals and organisational vision.

  1. Visit www.aku.edu/gsmc
  2. Click on the pop-up banner
  3. Read through the application guides. Once done, click on “…apply here”
  4. Fill in the Google form to submit your application

No. We will provide a shared office space in your home country to avoid coming all the way to Nairobi. We also have some innovators-in-residence working on their ideas from home with constant communication and iteration with their coaches and mentors.

This is a 12-month program usually starting from early December to late November (the next year).

Pre-formed teams of journalists, storytellers, visual artists, data analytics specialists, photographers, videographers, graphic designers, cartoonists, illustrators, coders, programmers and/or animators.

Once you join our program, you will sit with our grants administrator who will guide you on developing a work plan and a budget. The grant will be spent in accordance with your work plan, which must be signed off by the Innovation Centre’s staff.

The deadline is October 12, 2020.

The winners will be announced during a kick-off event hosted at the Media Innovation Centre at a later date and additionally on our website.

The Media Innovation Centre together with our partners Media Challenge Initiative, Tanzania Media Foundation and DW-Akademie, will constitute a committee of industry experts from Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya with backgrounds ranging from community journalism to business development and serious techies, who will apply comprehensive selection criteria from screening to the final evaluation and verdict.

The Media Innovation Centre will reach out to the team representatives via email and/or phone call. Applicants that make it to the next stage will be contacted. All applicants will automatically get an opportunity to join our world class East African community and all the benefits that apply.

You can reach us via email at [email protected] or phone: +254 710 923 425 or on all social media channels: @AKUMediaFutures or visit our facility on 06 Peponi Road.

The Innovators-in-Residence program is free to apply; you SHOULD NOT pay anything.

Unfortunately for now we are only accepting applications from applicants within the boundaries of these three East African countries: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The ideal is that you make it a full time residency. However, your time investments, training schedules and a time with coaches and mentors can be tailored to your needs.

Generally, we look for ideas that are novel, scalable and viable. We have a more detailed process that the judges use to select the teams.