Starting out in business in Kenya, as in most places, is hard. Most aspiring entrepreneurs start out with an idea and a belief that their idea will turn into a game changing business. Actualization of this idea needs certain catalysts and the most important among them is money, a good business model, mentorship and a good understanding of the market.

What are some of the things that an entrepreneur can do to access these essentials?

1. Save up towards this venture then borrow from friends and family.
2. Launch their business blindly hoping the market will respond positively.
3. Carry out market analysis to the best of their abilities.

There are success stories of people who have made it this way but it is not without its difficulty and there is no guarantee that one will succeed. There is a structured way to do it to ensure better chances of success.

This is through

1. Incubation
2. Business training
3. Professional mentorship
4. Market analysis

These things are not easy to come by in Kenya because the spaces that offer these kind of services in one location are few and most of them are based in Nairobi.

So what’s an entrepreneur to do?

They will either struggle to start their business anyway or hold on to their idea until such a time they can be able to get some assistance.

There is a shortcut though and this is through competitions. There are competitions that invite up and coming entrepreneurs to come and present their ideas to them and the best ones are supported.

The Next Big Thing is one such of kind of a competition. It is an initiative by business newspaper, Business Daily, which is now in its 4th edition. The Next Big Thing helps help entrepreneurs make their business ideas come to life through support, funding and mentorship. 10 entrepreneurs are picked by a panel of experts who then guide them on how to present their idea to investors.

To enter the competition, entrepreneurs are required to have an original idea that solves an existing problem which is commercially viable and had the potential to change lives. They are then required to go to the competition website and create a profile with their bio and contact details. They should also include their idea in the category it belongs. The panel of experts will later evaluate all the ideas and come up with the best 10.


10 entrepreneurs will be chosen as finalists and they will get the chance to pitch their ideas to investors for mentorship, support and investment.

In addition to that

  1. The winner in the Media and Entertainment category will get USD 3,000 from the Business Daily.
  2. All finalists will be offered advisory services through business forums by Business Daily.
  3. All finalists and their ideas will be showcased in a special pullout in the Business Daily and on a Tv show on NTV.
  4. The winners in the Agribusiness, Renewable Energy, and Water & Sanitation categories will also receive (where necessary) a proof of concept grant of USD 25,000 from the Kenya Climate Innovation Center.
  5. Business incubator Nailab will provide incubation for the top two finalists in the ICT category.
  6. Kenyatta University will provide business incubation at the Chandaria Business Innovation and Incubation Centre to the top three entrepreneurs of their choosing.

So if you have a business idea that you think can be developed into an awesome business kindly apply to The Next Big Thing by going to The deadline for submissions is February 5th 2015.