Nairobi Innovation

Frequently Asked Questions


The Nairobi Innovation Challenge portal applies privacy and confidentiality rules on the data you populate in your profile as follows :-

  1. Private Data
    This data includes email addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth added under individual profiles are treated. Such data is accessible to only the individual who owns the profile, portal’s administrators for purpose of the competition and managing the portal.

  2. Protected Data
    This is data found under three sections of a startup profile namely:-
    1. Idea & Product.
    2. Scalability & Impact.
    3. Traction & Next steps.
    This data is by default accessible to the startup’s designated team members, the portal administrator, designated evaluators (judges) and the challenge organizers. The startup may through the portal’s user interface grant access to protected data sections to other members of the portal. These people may be investors, mentors, advisors or other people of interest that persuade the startup to give them access.

  3. Publicly Accessible Data
    This relates to both individual and startup profiles. It is all that is not specified as private data and is not specified as protected data. This data includes individual members’ specialities, educational background and working experience. Publicly accessible data also includes also includes that data filled out in the general section of the startup profile such as tagline, description, year of founding and categories chosen.

The short answer is NOTHING!
However, we have factored in the fears of many people by classifying certain startup profile details as “protected” in our privacy and confidentiality policy. This gives you control as to who can access those details other than your team members, designated evaluators, and Nairobi Innovation Challenge organizers.
The long answer is that it is very hard for people to steal the essence of your idea. See this article on the Business Insider for more on this perspective.
We believe ideas are everywhere with many people and the difference comes only through execution. An idea by itself is not protectable by Kenyan Intellectual Property (IP) Laws. However, if founders believe their startup can demonstrate patentability tests of novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability, we recommend that they begin the steps to pursue legal IP protection before joining the challenge.
Protecting your IP comprises the process of applying to be granted IP rights as well as processes required to defend your IP against infringement. Application to be granted IP rights, and legal defence of IP rights against infringement often has to be jurisdiction specific as countries tend to have varying IP law regimes.
A noteworthy trend is that most ideas reflected among startups the world over are not protectable by IP laws. The time and money spent on attempting to protect an idea only to potentially discover that it is not protectable could be redirected to the kind of execution that fends off competition. It is also worth noting that in the rapidly evolving global technological landscape, ideas and products become common-place rather fast and become obsolete rapidly.
A very fine balance exists between the advantages and disadvantages of disclosing your startup’s details to other people. It can be argued that for an idea to progress into a business model that works, it needs to be shared with other people for feedback and refinement. The opportunity cost of keeping details of your idea / product away from your potential customers, coaches, advisors can be high.