Creative DNA Kenya

2020 Cohort

Creative DNA Kenya


Creative DNA is a British Council programme funded by the Foreign Commonwealth Office designed to support fashion businesses in Kenya develop skills, knowledge and networks in Kenya and the UK.

This programme is focused on promoting alternative and innovative approaches to the global fashion system with the ambition of demonstrating that the fashion sector in Kenya is a professional choice for young people and a valuable contributor to the creative economy.

Through strategic partnerships in Kenya and the UK the programme explores three areas of work namely; research & insight, policy and advocacy and business support. Through the focus on research and insight the British Council will publish a needs analysis report for the Kenyan fashion sector produced by Collective RW and independent UK researcher Jan Miller; a case study on one of Kenya’s oldest markets, Uhuru Markets in partnership with HEVA Fund; as well as an analysis of the potential use for alternative fibres and raw materials in Kenya led by the Kenyan chapter of Fashion Revolutionaries.

The in-depth insight from these reports will inform future fashion programming for the British Council and executive summaries and recommendations will be published and presented to relevant stakeholders in the fashion sector in Kenya to support the policy and advocacy needs of the sector.

The British Council’s Head of Arts Kenya and East Africa – Millicent Mugabi said “The Creative DNA programme offers dynamic ways for young people in Kenya to strengthen their skills and networks and make connections with their peers in the UK. We are excited about the partnerships this programme is supporting and look forward to seeing the reach and impact the research will have on Kenya’s’ fashion sector.”

We are excited about the partnerships this programme is supporting and look forward to seeing the reach and impact the research will have on Kenya’s’ fashion sector.

Lastly, this programmes’ business support offer will be twofold; a Creative Enterprise Programme for sixty early-stage creative and social entrepreneurs and a six-week Bootcamp for 11 fashion businesses run in partnership with Mettā Nairobi and Fashion Scout UK. Developed in partnership with NESTA, the Creative Enterprise Programme is a three-day capacity building workshop for creative entrepreneurs. In two workshops over ten days, sixty fashion businesses with a focus in textiles, clothing, footwear, accessories, costumes, millinery, beauty, styling, fashion photography and film engaged in interactive exercises and

peer-led activities that encouraged reflection on their ideas, their customers and their business. The six-week Bootcamp will support 11 entrepreneurs’ ambitions to grow their businesses by tackling growth-stage challenges such as attracting the right customers, scaling to new markets, finding partners and securing investment.

As part of the bootcamp, the cohort will have the opportunity to access and interact with a global network of fashion experts, mentors, corporate clients, and partners as well as explore the high-growth markets of London, through a one-week study tour.

Throughout the program the fashion businesses will be assessed on their progress and potential and at the end of the six weeks, five entrepreneurs will each be awarded KES 655,000 () in seed grant funding. All the fashion businesses will have additional business support from Mettā & Nest Ventures team and our UK partners. The bootcamp will conclude in a fashion showcase in April where the entrepreneurs will present their brand collections to potential partners and the five grantees will be announced.

Maurice Otieno, General Manager Mettā Nairobi, said “The Creative DNA program has the potential to redefine the creative industry in Kenya as we know it – the impact will be immense, both for Kenya and the region. We are bringing together all the industry experts, coaches, and facilitators from both the public & private sector to address and support the Fashion businesses by tackling growth-stage challenges such as attracting the right customers, scaling to new markets, finding partners and securing investment. We are proud to be the implementing partner for this Fashion Incubator in fostering growth and scale within the creative sector, beginning with the Kenyan Fashion Industry.”

Notes to Editors:

Sub-Saharan Africa Arts is a British Council programme creating connections between creatives from: Ethiopia; Kenya; Rwanda; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe; Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Botswana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, South Africa and the UK.

Sub-Saharan Africa Arts believes in: making new art happen; showcasing new art to audiences; sharing skills and forging networks between the creative sectors of the UK and SSA.

Creative Enterprise: the British Council offers individuals and organisations training in business and digital skills, networking events, access to new markets and connections to resources. You can read about the Creative Enterprise programme here

Our work in Fashion in Kenya: in addition to the Creative Enterprise training outlined above, the British Council has supported research in the fashion sector.

Have a look through the resources below

new Art new Audiences (nAnA): An annual open call grant for 18 – 35-year-old SSA and British artists, arts organisations, and arts collectives, to create new art together and to showcase this art to audiences in the UK and SSA.

Skills and networking; we partner with arts organisations to deliver programmes which: forge networks within and across SSA and the UK; and share technical, business and digital skills of 18 – 35-year-old creatives.

Mobility; through our collaboration with the Prince Claus Mobility Fund we support the mobility of creatives across and between the SSA countries we work in and to all countries on the DAC List; allowing; new art to be made; new skills to be shared; new networks to be created. We therefore run two travel grants sparking the movement of artists: across SSA and from the UK to SSA.

Creative DNA Partners:

Policy and Advocacy

Fashion Revolution (UK/KE) is a not-for-profit global movement with teams in over 100 countries around the world. Fashion Revolution campaigns for systemic reform of the fashion industry with a focus on the need for greater transparency in the fashion supply chain.


HEVA Fund (KE): Africa’s first dedicated finance, business support and knowledge facility for creative industries. HEVA are the lead partner on the Uhuru Markets project outlined below.

Jan Miller (UK) has been offering specialist consultancy services with an excellent track record for over 20 years. Jan’s areas of expertise include strategic business planning and finance management, and as well as being an expert in fashion business models developing within the UK. Jan Miller is a partner on the Needs Analysis report for the Kenyan fashion sector.

Collective RW (RW) is a collective of Rwandan designers who have come together to promote the finest national and regional fashion and to encourage collaboration throughout Africa. Collective RW are partners on the Needs Analysis report for the Kenyan fashion sector.

Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy (UK) are the leading international consultancy for culture and the creative economy. They offer research, strategy and policy leadership across the creative, cultural and arts sectors and are supporting the streamlining of all reports that are developed as part of the CNDA programme.

Business Support

Fashion Scout (UK): Fashion Scout, the international showcase for fashion pioneers, is the UK’s largest independent showcase for emerging and established design talent during London Fashion Week. Fashion Scout is renowned for championing, nurturing and showcasing creative design talent from around the globe.

Mettā Nairobi, dubbed the “Hub of Content” in East Africa, has been the centre of passionate innovators and entrepreneurs since its inception in 2015, with its members shaping the narrative of African innovation across all sectors. It has fostered a passionate community of 500+ start-ups in the region and runs East Africa’s first Fashion incubator, Fashion Product Lab ( FPL )

NESTA (UK) is an innovation foundation based in the UK. The organisation acts through a combination of programmes, investment, policy and research, and the formation of partnerships to promote innovation across a broad range of sectors.

Metta Nairobi Bootcamp

The 2020 cohort comprises of

Ohana Family Wear, We Are NBO, Gordon Luchini, Epic African Jewellery, Favoloso by Nanu, Sevaria, Enda Athletic Ltd., The Nisisi Factory, StyleTech by Teshie, Vintara Collections and Genteel Kenya.