Kenya Airways launches incubator for new ideas, data-driven innovations

KQ rehires laid-off employees on higher ticket demand

National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has launched the Fahari Innovation Hub, a centre for innovation that acts as an incubator for new ideas and data-driven innovations.

The Fahari Innovation Hub is part of KQ’s strategy in contributing to the sustainable development of Africa by empowering, local start-ups and Small-Medium Enterprises.

Speaking during the launch, Information Communications Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru underscored the need to embrace innovations as a response to the changing times.

“There is need to invent new ways for the future and especially for our Youth to be able to respond as flexibly as possible to changing times and diverse opportunities. 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 & environmental friendly business models beyond flying to shape our tomorrow.

The airline’s chief executive Allan Kilavuka said the airline is positioning itself as a resilient, forward-looking and sustainable company.

“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,” he added.

Fahari Innovation Hub has operated virtually for about one year. With the setting of a physical workspace.

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It will provide a centre for strategic innovation management offering opportunities for co-creation, collaboration, networking, research, and learning.

 The Fahari Innovation Hub curated a virtual workshop for entrepreneurs dubbed the ‘KQ Aviation 101 Workshop’ past week where the Fahari Innovation Challenge was launched.

The workshop served to apprise start-ups and SMEs on the opportunities available to access markets within the entire value chain of the aviation sector which includes airports, the food industry, tourism, and digitization including Boeing Horizon X, IATA, Kenya Tourism Board, Nas Airport Services, General Electric, Hivos East Africa, and Funkidz Limited.

The airline has been facing financial turmoil in the recent past, and the latest move is keen to see the once “Pride of Africa” mitigate the challenges it has been facing.

Bloomberg News last year listed KQ as one of the airlines that risked running into bankruptcy unless they got government intervention

In February, National Treasury offered KQ Ksh.10 billion in a secret bailout to avoid collapse amid the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

A supplementary budget tabled in Parliament and revealed Kenya Airways received Ksh.8 billion directly from the Treasury and Ksh.2 billion from the Transport Ministry to ease the effects of the virus that has obliterated global demand for travel.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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