Insights from the Local Content (Tandaa) Grant Application Process

Today morning the Kenya ICT Board through its Tandaa Kenya newsletter shared the results of a survey it administered on its grants application process. The survey was administered to applicants of the Local digital Content Grant a day after the proposal application deadline expired. Some highlights of the results were shared through the newsletter and also mentioned in Moses Kemibaro's blog including the following :-
  • Barely 15% of lead contacts for applicants were female < Affirmative action needed? 
  • 77.9% of those who participated were satisfied with the grant application process (more than half of these were very satisfied) < Confirmation of sentiments in my earlier post
  • 20% of those who participated had attended a Tandaa Symposium  < More effort might be required to interest more professionals and entrepreneurs in the Kenya ICT Board activities
  • 369 (55%) of the 667 completed applications were made on the last day. < Explanation attempted in my earlier post
Since data analysis is a daily routine for me, I shall attempt a closer look at other statistics from the survey for some more insights. Hopefully this helps for those of us with some curious minds

1) The main channels through which applicants learnt about the grant were the newspaper advertisement (40.3%) and the ICT board website (24.7%).  

The mainstream print media seems to remain the most effective way to mobilize participation of the local Tech. fraternity. The apparent popularity of the ICT board's website is welcome as the board grows its reliability and relevance to the Kenyan knowledge economy. The rather dismal performance of the morning shows in this aspect (Nation TV - 4.3% and Citizen TV - 2.1%)  appears to indicate the low effectiveness of TV shows aired during 'odd' morning hours.

2) Only 677 (31%) of the attempted 2,154 applications were completed. Further 139 (a meager 9%) of the those  who did not complete the application process participated in the evaluation survey.  Most of the 139 survey participants stated that they were unable to complete their applications because they did not have supporting documents (43.2%) or they simply run out of time (42.0%) 
    It appears that time constraints were a significant factor contributing to the the low rate of completed applications. It might have been interesting to see if those who were unable to complete their applications for lack of supporting documents would have gone ahead to complete their applications - given more time to 'secure' the documents. This is also not to say that our last minute culture mentioned in my earlier post would not defeat the purpose us such a deadline extension.
      3) Of the 456 participating respondents, 413(90.5%) welcomed the offer by the ICT board to share their proposal information with venture capitalists and other funding agencies. However when further asked to state which specific aspects of their proposals they were free to share, a much lesser portion of  34.4% was willing to have their bugdets shared.  Further, slightly less than a third 33.2% of the respondents were free to have their proposed work plans shared. Participants were otherwise generally free to have their proposal title - 70.2%, contact information - 85.7% and overall goals and objectives  - 70.7% shared.
        This is indicative of changing attitudes among Kenyan 'TechPreneurs'. There appears to be changing perceptions to on the idea of innovation and intellectual property rights. indeed it appears the Kenyan ICT fraternity is  moving away from a tendency to sit on their unshared, unimplemented ideas for lack of resources to implement them while fearing that 'someone will steal their idea'. The results also appear to indicate that would be Kenyan innovators are generally trusting of the ICT board. 

        The fact that few respondents were willing to have their work plans shared is indicative of how confident the applicants were with the finer detail's on their proposals. The applicants might have thought they had more room for improvement to their budgets and work plans hence the hesitation to allow sharing with potential financiers before further tweaking and customization. It is also likely that the applicants simply wished to more easily retain their options for increasing their scope of activities and budgets beyond the Tandaa grant limitations.