YAKWETU™ Online Limited, a Kenyan entertainment technology start-up, has been recognized as one of the seven winners of the 2023 WIPO Global Awards at the 64th General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization. This esteemed accolade, now in its second year, celebrates small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) worldwide that have demonstrated exceptional success in commercializing their IP-backed innovations while making a positive impact on society.
YAKWETU™ emerged victorious from a pool of 548 submissions and 25 finalists representing 16 countries and various industries, including creative, food, green technology, and health, among others. The company’s unique name, derived from the Swahili word meaning “Of Us” and “For Us,” aptly reflects its mission to provide digital entertainment and educational content created by Africans for Africans. YAKWETU™ also places a strong emphasis on safeguarding this content from piracy while ensuring equitable monetization for the creators.
Mike Strano, Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer of YAKWETU™, expressed profound gratitude for the recognition. He stated, “YAKWETU™ is deeply honored to be the first African company and the first from the global creative industry to receive this prestigious award from WIPO. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to our thousands of customers on our platform MyMovies.Africa™ in Africa and the diaspora, our content creators, partners, dedicated staff, board of advisors, directors, and my co-founder, Trushna Buddhdev-Patel. Ubuntu – We are, because you are. Asanteni sana.”
This recent accomplishment follows YAKWETU™’s previous recognition in October 2021 when it was selected as one of five participants (out of over 200 applicants) for the second cohort of the Next INnovation with JApan (NINJA) Accelerator in Kenya. The program concluded with a successful fundraising launch in January 2022.
As winners of the WIPO Global Awards, YAKWETU™ and other recipients will receive a tailored 1:1 mentoring package to enhance their intellectual property strategies, including assistance with funding, partnership opportunities, and publicity support.
YAKWETU™ Online Limited continues to make strides in the entertainment technology sector, providing a platform that not only promotes African creativity but also protects the rights of content creators and fosters their economic growth. With this distinguished recognition from WIPO, YAKWETU™ reaffirms its commitment to innovation, sustainability, and empowerment within the African creative industry.