WOMEN IN TECH 2020 INTAKE OPEN

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The Search for Women led businesses is back! @iBizAfrica-Strathmore University in Partnership with Standard Chartered Bank Kenya is excited to Launch the Fourth Cohort of the Women in Tech 2020 program. The call for applicants is now open for women led small and medium businesses leveraging on technology and new business models to drive change and grow communities.

Globally, studies show that sub-Saharan Africa boasts the world’s highest rates of women entrepreneurs, at 27%. But female-led tech startups still have some of the lowest numbers across the continent, despite technology firms led by women experiencing a 35% higher return on investment.

The program theme for this year, “Accelerating the Digital Economy through Women Owned Businesses” reinforces the importance of scaling the gains of female focused entrepreneurial programs and expanding their mandate in bridging financing and industry gaps for early stage ventures. 

The Top five participants will win Kes 1 million in seed funding. The teams will be taken through a 12week incubation mentorship and training through the Bank’s Employee Volunteering program. Through the incubation, all the entrepreneurs are offered expert training in the areas of idea conceptualization, strategy formulation and marketing which is key in moving the businesses from incubation to sustainable ventures.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The business must be based in Kenya i.e. be aligned with the needs of Kenyans and operating in Kenya
  2. The company must be a tech-enabled and/or leveraging on emerging technologies, including but not limited to; Internet of Things (IoT); Artificial Intelligence; Robotics; Augmented & Virtual Reality; 3D & 4D Printing; Cloud Computing; Big Data; Blockchain; Drone Technology and Biometrics.
  3. The company must be founded or cofounded by a woman with an equal or majority stake.
  4. The founder or co founder must be over 18 years old and Kenyan 
  5. Business models must have a clear focus on sustainability and alignment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  6. 3 months to less than 2 years of operations.
  7. Seeking support for proof of concept, customer, product and business model development.
  8. Pre-revenue with early traction (users).
  9. Post revenue is an added advantage, with the creation of a new business module.

Program Thematic Areas

Companies solving for any of the 17 SDGs with operations within, but not limited to the following sectors are eligible to apply for the programme;

  1. Agriculture
  2. Healthcare
  3. Education
  4. Manufacturing
  5. Information Technology
  6. Financial Services
  7. Logistics

Programme Benefits

  1. 12 weeks of an immersive learning experience
  2. Access to a leading network of coaching experts
  3. Access to B2B networking opportunities
  4. Personalized mentorship sessions to address your unique business needs
  5. Opportunity to join a supportive Women in Tech Alumni Network
  6. KES 1,000,000 equity-free grant seed funding for the top five finalists
  7. 9 months ongoing support from Standard Chartered and @iBizAfrica to assist with the go-to market and scale for the top five finalists.

The Women in Technology Incubator program is Africa’s leading women in tech incubator, that supports local tech businesses and calls for more diversity in the Information technology landscape by providing opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial skills and leadership excellence. 

To register Click here

Know more about the program Click >> https://www.womenintech.co.ke/

Cisco IoT Fundamentals and Beyond

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Cisco IoT Fundamentals and Beyond Program

Introduction

The 2020 training of Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) Fundamentals is going BEYOND! This course has been tailored to fit current existing situations around us cutting across the different verticals ranging from agriculture to energy, environment to manufacturing, homes and warehouses to transportation among others.

The 2020 curriculum will cover the theoretical aspects of IoT (Introduction to IoT, Connecting Things, Big Data and Analytics and Security) and the hands-on lab activities that exposes you to electronics, programming (an introduction to C and Python), networks, Data and Security. Additionally, the course will cover Packet Tracer (PT) simulations for IoT and will feature a guest Engineer from Cisco.

The goal of the course is to expose students to IoT technologies and sharpen their problem-solving skills through a practical approach that can ideate, design, prototype and present IoT solution for an identified problem. 

Course Overview

  • Overview of Internet of Things (IoT) – Machine-Type Communications (MTC), the IoT Architecture and surrounding concepts, IoT Applications and the IoT Building Blocks.
  • Introduction to Microcontrollers and Hardware Programming: AVR, ARM and STM32 Microcontrollers, Programming using the Arduino/Visual Studio Code, Atmel platform and STM32 Cube platforms. The hardware programming languages to be covered: Arduino, C and C++.
  • Introduction to System on Chip (SoC) and Programming- Concepts of RISCs and Embedded OS, Interfaces, GPIO Pins, Connecting sensors and Introduction to Python. Introduction to Raspberry Pis and Beaglebone Blacks (BBB).
  • Communication technologies (Wi-Fi, BLE, GPRS/GSM, LPWANs), Protocols and Working with open-source Cloud Platforms for IoT. A telecommunications Lab demonstration using Software Defined Radios (SDRs) will also be provided.
  • Introduction to Cisco Prototyping Lab and Packet Tracer IoT simulation environment.
  •  Implementation of simple IoT applications, data visualisation and IoT Security.

Value addition to participants

  • Hands-on experience through practical sessions.
  • Take away IoT Kit (Raspberry Pi, Connectors and sensors)
  •  Cisco IoT Certification.

Venue

Classes will be delivered both online and @iLabAfrica Research Centre, Strathmore University while adhering to the social distancing rules laid out by the government. It is recommended that all the students attend the theoretical and software classes online.

Program prerequisite

  • Basic knowledge of electronics.
  • Knowledge in programming and networking will be an added advantage.
  • A laptop running any operating system that is friendly to the student.

Program Format

The program combines interactive lectures, discussions and intense hands-on practice. It includes online guided classes and physical classes in a computer laboratory with a workstation (with required software tools installed) provided to each participant as well as a set of hardware equipment such as microcontrollers and sensors.

Program Duration

This is a 5-week course running from 9th November.

Time

4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Program cost

This course will run at a cost of KES. 30, 000

How to Apply and contacts

Applications can be done online at:

www.ilabafrica.ac.ke

For queries, please contact:

Stephen Ng’etich

Email: sngetich@strathmore.edu / iot@strathmore.edu Phone: 0703 034 635

Click here to download brochure

11 Kenyan Agri-Businesses tackling food security set to receive USD 100,000 investment

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Eleven Kenyan agribusinesses tackling food security have been selected for the Food Africa Accelerator program in Kenya. The three-month accelerator program will support these women and youth-led agribusinesses towards investment of up to USD 100,000 to scale their businesses. The accelerator program which was launched in July is a project commissioned by GIZ Make-IT in Africa, a project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by @iBizAfrica, Strathmore University’s business incubator and Pangea Accelerator (a Norwegian based accelerator and an investment platform operating in East Africa that matches African start-ups with investors), foundations and development agencies to reach a global scale. The competitive application process saw the accelerator receive over 420 applicants in Kenya according to Linda Kwamboka, entrepreneur-in-residence and iBizAfrica’s Manager. She added that, “we received over 700 applications, some across Africa and 424 Kenyan applicants. This proves our hypothesis that there are plenty of innovators in the agriculture sector. The diversity in agribusiness sub-sectors has been well represented- ranging from credit access to food manufacturing. We are also grateful for the support of ecosystem players including Viktoria Ventures, Luminate Group who have supported the shortlisting process.

Joining its first cohort, the ten [WTGK1] businesses will undergo mentorship and coaching as well as investor readiness as they begin the process of investor matching. Speaking after their selection, Dysmus Kisilu, Co-Founder of Solar Freeze, a post-harvest solution for small holder farmers remarked, “we are excited to be part of the Food Africa Accelerator which offers a chance for a start-ups like ours to collaborate, grow and shape the new vision of a food secure Africa through youth led innovation.

Jonas Tesfu, Co-Founder and CEO for Pangea Accelerator also added, “we believe Kenya and East Africa are at a critical time and that innovation and young entrepreneurs have a big role to play in creating resilient and local food systems.”

The accelerator comes at a time when the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture has vowed to sustain ongoing reforms in the agricultural sector in order to boost production and bring value to farmers. Further, it also comes after a recent report by the Kenya Food Security 2019 Steering Group revealed that, approximately 1.3 million people in Kenya are currently facing crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity, which has been further exacerbated by Covid-19 and the locust plague. Tracy Weru, Program Coordinator for GIZ Make-IT in Africa stated, “we are happy with the traction this program has received so far and are looking forward to supporting the 11 start-ups.”

The eleven selected start-ups joining the accelerator are;

IFarm360 – A digital crowd farming platform that brings together farmers, investors and markets to enable farming as a business.

SolarFreeze – A pioneering start-up providing mobile cold storage units powered by renewable energy for rural smallholder farmers to help them reduce the huge challenge of post-harvest loss.

Shamba Records – A distributed ledger that runs on Blockchain technology and uses big data and artificial intelligence to collect farmer’s data and process payments to farmers.

Ecodudu – a waste-to-value company that uses a proprietary innovation to recycle organic waste into high-protein animal feed and organic fertilizer using the black soldier fly.

Faina Innovation –  a company that has developed a farm sanitation product (Solarbag®) for management of fruit fly and other pests. The product is also used for rapid on-farm production of compost fertilizer and soil sterilization.

Mhogo Foods – The company adds value to the cassava tubers by processing them into affordable, nutritious gluten-free flour, cassava crisps, cassava starch and cassava based animal feeds.

Digicow – a record keeping mobile application for both smallholder and enterprise farmers engaged in dairy farming enabling them to increase their profits through data driven decision making.

Mula Exports – a grower and exporter of fresh produce (fruits and veggies) in Kenya.The company also contracts small scale farmers to complement production and raise living standards by providing the smallholders with a ready market for their produce.

Origen Group – are producers of high quality cold pressed avocado oil made from the finest grown hass and fuerte Kenyan avocados for the export market.

Taste Afrique – are manufacturers of Chibundiro, a mixture of grounded natural spices to enhance nutritional value for consumers.

FreshPro Farms – a data-driven agribusiness consumer demand for fresh produce with farmers production capacity creating a seamless business model devoid of the waste and inefficiency associated with agriculture.

About the Food Africa Accelerator

FoodTech Africa is an accelerator program aimed at addressing food security through fostering innovation. The project is commissioned by GIZ Make-IT in Africa, a project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by @iBizAfrica -Strathmore University and Pangea Accelerator.

The program is designed to support women and youth owned growth stage agri-based companies (start-ups that are in post-revenue i.e. have sales and customers) to sustain business growth through facilitating access to financing, business support and technology adoption. Learn more about the accelerator here.

About GIZ Make-IT in Africa

The “Tech-Entrepreneurship Initiative Make-IT in Africa” promotes digital innovation for sustainable and inclusive development in Africa. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implements this project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of BMZ’s Digital Africa Initiative. Learn more about GIZ Make-IT in Africa here.

About @iBizAfrica

@iBizAfrica is the business incubation and innovation centre at Strathmore University which seeks to nurture the development, growth and success of startups. We attain this through building the potential of the youth to develop ICT solutions and businesses that work for the common good in society. Learn more about @iBizAfrica Africa here.

About Pangea Accelerator

Pangea Accelerator is a Norwegian based accelerator and an investment platform operating in East Africa that matches African startups with investors, foundations and development agencies to reach a global scale. Learn more about Pangea Accelerator here.

Why I quit my finance job to start a restaurant

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Source: Business Daily

Together with her colleagues, Chanya Mwanyota would go to food joints in Upper Hill, Nairobi, where the company she was working for was located. She always found the meals not quite that good for her taste. Her colleagues didn’t find the food value for their money either.

And this sparked a business idea that she went on to later launch. It occurred to her that many other people were possibly not satisfied with the kind of food on offer in restaurants and she wanted to change that.

Armed with Sh700,000 savings in 2018, the former financial compliance officer started Mataam, a restaurant serving Swahili dishes which she felt was lacking in the market.

Few months into the business, she introduced the Nigerian dishes menu following numerous requests from customers most of who congregated at a church located in the same building as her restaurant.

“Since I didn’t want to give customers substandard dishes, I partnered with a Nigerian who brought in a chef and ingredients, then use my kitchen,” says the founder of Soulfood, the company operating Mataam and seven virtual restaurants.

Then she started Mama Ntilie, the affordable version of Mataam, serving meals at lower rates to appeal to customers on a budget. She says the restaurant ran out of food on the first day it opened, attesting to the gap in the market.

Two months later, Shawarma Central was born, then Soul Food that serves food such as French fries, pasta, cheese and bread crammed chicken.

“In an attempt to maintain my sales, I am trying to appeal to every eater out here, hence the numerous restaurants,” she says.

Other virtual restaurants include Grandma Ruks (for traditional meals), Breakfast Republic, Bhajia Shark that specialises in Indian dishes. There is also Mama Jay’s that serves “homely” dishes that people associate with their mums.

Ms Mwanyota notes that she looks at the analytics and decides whether to ramp up the virtual menu, change name or shut it down all together.

Her food supplies are sourced from smallholder farmers as well as from Marikiti and Wakulima markets, both in Nairobi.

All meals are prepared at the kitchen of Mataam Restaurant located in Kilimani, which has a sitting space for 30 customers.

Her virtual restaurants process up to 100 orders a day with prices ranging between Sh100 and Sh2,500 a meal. This earns Soulfood an average revenue of Sh800,000 that goes into paying its seven workers and improving the business.

Ms Mwanyota who quit employment to venture into the business notes that it has not been easy to steer her startup ship to a point of stability.

When she set out to start the business, half of the initial capital went into the lease of restaurant and Sh200,000 was lost to a conman who said he could do the fittings.

The setback was massive and Ms Mwanyota spent five months raising money to run the kitchen even as she paid rent for a business that had not started.

“I had to decide whether I should spend more money trying to get the conman arrested or start off the restaurant with the little I was left with,” she recalls.

So she went to Kamkunji market and purchased three charcoal stoves and went to work. One week into the business, Lady Luck smiled on her path as she got an outside catering job from which she earned enough to buy gas stoves.

Although it has been a steep climb for her in the business world, she says all the hardships she has faced has helped her to be resilient and have the staying power needed in the business world.

Her main role at the restaurant is to oversee the preparation and cooking of meals whose taste she says are unique.

“My biggest role is to pass on the vision to my staff. If I fail to do this, then the whole venture will be a mess,” she says.

While other businesses are struggling amid the covid-19 pandemic, her venture is thriving owing to increased number of customers that are working from home.

Her biggest challenge however is limited geographical coverage as her online restaurants can only be seen by customers within a radius of 3 kms.

Thanks to a roaring success, Soulfood was selected among five women-led start-ups that received Sh1 million seed funding in a programme funded by the Standard Chartered Bank and implemented at iBizAfrica- Strathmore University. The five were awarded after completing three-month incubation at iBizAfrica-Strathmore University’s tech incubator.

Ms Mwanyota says she plans to utilise the funds to open a distribution centres in Westlands and on Mombasa Road to grow her client base.

By LYNET IGADWAH

Check Point Software & Strathmore Unite On Cybersecurity Skill Shortage

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Dr Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University and Mr. Moses Kiganda, Check Point’s Country Manager, East Africa.

Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, has announced that its Check Point SecureAcademy™ education initiative has partnered with @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University, Kenya, to provide a comprehensive cybersecurity curriculum to students, bridging the cybersecurity skills gap and also creating a safer local cyber landscape.

“This partnership with Check Point has come at an opportune time to assist in training our students and equipping them with the right cybersecurity skills. We look forward to having fifty plus students benefit annually from this training programme and join the workforce in empowering the cybersecurity space in Kenya,” says Dr Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING FIFTY PLUS STUDENTS BENEFIT ANNUALLY FROM THIS TRAINING PROGRAMME AND JOIN THE WORKFORCE IN EMPOWERING THE CYBERSECURITY SPACE IN KENYA.

According to (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2019 researchStrategies for Building and Growing Strong Cybersecurity Teams, the number of unfilled cybersecurity roles now stands at 4.07 million professionals globally. What causes alarm for those within the security market across Africa is that the ICT courses across a range of disciplines are still quite underdeveloped, as well as the skills required to operate, support and understand the complexities of next-generation technologies and threats.

Check Point SecureAcademy™ promoting skills in Africa

To keep up with the current threat landscape, cybersecurity professionals require a deeper set of skills and insight into cybersecurity. Therefore, students need to be given access to broader cybersecurity knowledge. To address this skills gap, Check Point SecureAcademy™ aims to give students the ability to recognise and resolve IT security threats, develop hands-on experience with leading security solutions and acquire employable real-world skills to protect networks through the programme’s courses.

The @iLabAfrica Centre of Excellence in ICT Innovation and Development at Strathmore University will work closely with Check Point SecureAcademy™ to expose students to Check Point security solutions as an additional part of their curriculum.

IT MAKES SENSE TO USE THESE RESOURCES TO DEVELOP THE SKILLS OF OUR YOUTH TO BECOME THE CYBERSECURITY RESOURCE POOL OF CHOICE, REDUCING UNEMPLOYMENT, FILLING THE SKILLS GAP AND ALSO MAKING FOR A SAFER LOCAL CYBER LANDSCAPE ALL AT ONCE.

“Through partnerships like this, SecureAcademy™ hopes to provide access to world-class educational resources and skill academies. It makes sense to use these resources to develop the skills of our youth to become the cybersecurity resource pool of choice, reducing unemployment, filling the skills gap and also making for a safer local cyber landscape all at once,” says Moses Kiganda, Check Point’s Country Manager, East Africa.

Driving diversity in cybersecurity

One area the partners are looking at keenly is diversity. “While we have seen a large uptake of women studying ICT, it is still a male-dominated subject. We are promoting programmes and events to encourage women to join the ICT field. These include conferences, hackathons, boot camps and STEM classes within high schools,” says Richard Otolo, Cybersecurity Manager @iLabAfrica.

SecureAcademy™ courses are available at 100 universities in 40 countries, helping to shape the cyber-experts of the future. The academy’s network in Africa now consists of universities, across five countries, including Liberia, Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria and with the addition of Strathmore University, Kenya.

WHILE WE HAVE SEEN A LARGE UPTAKE OF WOMEN STUDYING ICT, IT IS STILL A MALE-DOMINATED SUBJECT. WE ARE PROMOTING PROGRAMMES AND EVENTS TO ENCOURAGE WOMEN TO JOIN THE ICT FIELD.

Through key SecureAcademy™ partnerships across the continent, the opportunities available for women to enter the cybersecurity field increases significantly, driving gender diversity and inclusivity.

“We look forward to working more with the Check Point team locally to promote ICT and cybersecurity within Kenya,” concludes Richard.

SOURCE: CIO EastAfrica

Here’s the recipe spicing up my venture

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Ms Anzazi Kiti. FILE PHOTO | NMG 
SOURCE: Business Daily
  • In 2016, she started Taste Afrique Company, which she co-owns with her sisters Winnie Chiwai and Gift Kiti.
  • The company manufactures, distributes and sells natural food seasoning products made from ingredients such as onions, garlic, ginger, cardamom, black paper and cloves.

In the days Anzazi Kiti was boarding in high school, she craved her mother’s finger-licking meals.

During school holidays, she would mix vegetables and spices which she would carry to school to make her food tasty.

Despite supplying her colleagues too, the challenge was always that the mixture would get molds and go bad before school term ended.

Years down the line and after conducting research, Ms Kiti found the secret to longer shelf life for her food seasoning products. Now she has turned them into a commercial venture.

In 2016, she started Taste Afrique Company, which she co-owns with her sisters Winnie Chiwai and Gift Kiti.

The company manufactures, distributes and sells natural food seasoning products made from ingredients such as onions, garlic, ginger, cardamom, black paper and cloves.

“We basically add value to the vegetables and spices to come up with a product that is tasty and has a longer shelve life,” says the 31-year-old BA Economics and Finance graduate from Kenyatta University.

The product’s name is “chibundiro” which comes from the word “bunda” in Swahili that means to grind. In her Chonyi community, chibundiro means a mortar and a paste — items used to grind. Growing up, Ms Kiti says she was always in the kitchen with her mother curious to learn the art of mixing various things to make meals tasty.

After high school, she researched on improving the product, popularly known as mkaango and that’s when she learned tricks of giving it longer shelf life.

“We have hot, mild and without chili precooked seasoning that is just sprinkled on food. Then we have the mixed spices namely siri ya chai, siri ya mchuzi and siri ya pilau,” said Ms Kiti who previously worked as a forensic auditor

with Deloitte as well as Ernst and Young.

While employed, she would make ten cans of chibundiro every weekend to sell to colleagues at the office and other people through referrals.

She quit employment to focus on the business on realisation that her passion would put her in a path of conflict with her employer.

Today, Taste Afrique supplies retail chains such as Quickmart, Naivas, Tuskys, Chandarana, Eastmatt, Woolmart in Nakuru. She also sells to Clean Chef and Chieni Supermarket in Nyeri, Narumoru and Nanyuki.

Packaging is in glass jars of 3.5grams, 70grams, 100grams (reserved for export), 150grams and 250grams (also known as the family-size).

The business has grown rapidly and now has five agents in the United States and one each in the United Kingdom and Uganda. The agents buy in large quantities then resell at a profit to their customers.

The venture that started with Sh4,800 now rakes an average of Sh1 million in monthly turnover and has ten employees.

The Covid-19 pandemic has however seen a decline in sales as retailers shy away from taking new stock.

She says the initial capital was raised from a project by Kenyatta University and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) where groups with scalable business ideas were financed.

“So I gave the mkaango idea to our group, we showcased and got the financing,” says Ms Kiti who also has a Master of Science degree in Finance.

After the training was done, she decided to actualise her business dream.

She invested the Sh4,800 on raw materials, packaging material (plastics at the time) and sold around 300 pieces going for Sh120 each.

From the sales revenue, she deducted her profit and returned an equivalent of the initial capital to the organisers of the project.

Taste Afrique has engaged nine small holder farmers who supply raw materials to its plant located on Lang’ata Road in Nairobi.

So inspiring is Taste Afrique venture that it was selected among five women-led start-ups that received Sh1 million seed funding in a programme funded by the Standard Chartered Bank and implemented at iBizAfrica- Strathmore University.

The five were awarded after completing three-month incubation at iBizAfrica-Strathmore University’s tech incubator.

The others were Soul Food, Benacare, Nature’s Touch and Arbes Biotech and were selected from 380 applicants that are using technology to tackle problems afflicting the community.

BY LYNET IGADWAH

Lynet Igadwah is a reporter with the Business Daily based in Nairobi. She joined the Nation Media Group in April 2013 and mainly covers Parliament. She also writes news and features articles on health, lifestyle and business.

Kenyan Women and Youth in Agriculture to Access up to USD 100,000 in Investment

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Kenyan youth and women-led agribusinesses have been awarded an opportunity to access USD 100,000 as investment for their companies through the FoodTech Africa accelerator. The accelerator is a project commissioned by GIZ Make-IT in Africa, a project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by @iBizAfrica, Strathmore University’s business incubator and Pangea Accelerator, a Norwegian based accelerator and an investment platform operating in East Africa that matches African startups with investors, foundations and development agencies to reach a global scale. The accelerator is inviting post revenue level agribusinesses in Kenya to apply for the program in order to meet the growing demand and challenge of food security in the country. This comes at a time where a recent report by the Kenya Food Security 2019 Steering Group revealed that, approximately 1.3 million people in Kenya are currently facing crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity, which has been further exacerbated by Covid-19.

Speaking during the launch of the accelerator, Jonas Tesfu, CEO and Co-Founder of Pangea Accelerator highlighted that, “we are grateful to GIZ Make-IT in Africa for appointing this project to Pangea and Strathmore University to drive food security in Africa through the FoodTech Africa program. We believe Kenya and East Africa are at a critical time and that innovation and young entrepreneurs have a big role to play in creating resilient and local food systems.”

Additionally, the accelerator’s recent webinar, where agripreneurs had one-on-one interactions with agri-focused investors, made it apparent that there is significant interest and support in the sector particularly for agri-based enterprises looking to expand. The webinar event also presented a unique opportunity for agri based enterprises to interrogate and find out investor due diligence processes in the country as well as financing options for their businesses. Moderating the event, Linda Kwamboka, Entrepreneur in Residence and Manager @iBizAfrica pointed out that the program is looking to identify and support these innovations toward possible investment from a pool of diaspora and international investors and encouraged those solving food challenges in the country to apply to join the program ahead of its deadline on August 21st at midnight.

Selected businesses who will be accepted into the program are looking at a 10-week intensive training on business coaching and mentorship, B2B sales opportunities as well as the opportunity to interact with investors with leading high potential companies getting investment of up to USD 100,000. Adding to this, Tracy Weru, Program Coordinator for GIZ Make-IT in Africa stated, “we are positive that this program will provide access to skills, market and finance to the selected Agtech start-ups.”

About the FoodTech Africa

FoodTech Africa is an accelerator program aimed at addressing food security through fostering innovation. The project is commissioned by GIZ Make-IT in Africa, a project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by @iBizAfrica -Strathmore University and Pangea Accelerator.

The program is designed to support women and youth owned growth stage agri-based companies (startups that are in post-revenue i.e. have sales and customers) to sustain business growth through facilitating access to financing, business support and technology adoption. Learn more about the accelerator here:

About GIZ Make-IT in Africa

The “Tech-Entrepreneurship Initiative Make-IT in Africa” promotes digital innovation for sustainable and inclusive development in Africa. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implements this project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of BMZ’s Digital Africa Initiative. Learn more about GIZ Make-IT in Africa here.

About @iBizAfrica, Strathmore University

@iBizAfrica is the business incubator of Strathmore University, a leading private University in Kenya. The incubator since 2012 provides a nurturing environment that builds on the potential of the youth to develop innovative solutions and businesses that work for the common good in society. @iBizAfrica over the years has provided over 400 startup companies with training, advisory, mentorship, coaching, networking opportunities, access to seed capital and investors.

We prepare startups to be investor-ready and launch into the market through our custom incubation and acceleration programs.

For more information, please visit www.ibizafrica.co.ke

Follow us on our social media pages @iBizAfrica on Twitter and Facebook

About Pangea Accelerator

Pangea Accelerator is a Norwegian based accelerator and an investment platform operating in East Africa that matches African startups with investors, foundations and development agencies to reach a global scale. Learn more about Pangea Accelerator here.

Why I was inspired to set up home nursing venture

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BenaCare founder and CEO Naomi Monari (right) and Brian Ajwan’g. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

SOURCE: Business Daily

Benacare was selected among five women-led start-ups that received Sh1 million seed funding in a programme funded by the Standard Chartered Bank and implemented at iBizAfrica- Strathmore University.

Low hospital bed availability has been linked to admission of patients requiring non-urgent medical care.

Some of these patients are occupying beds in the wards receiving personal care such as bathing, wound dressing and just taking tablets to manage their conditions.

Concerned by this, Naomi Monari started Benacare in 2017, a company providing home nursing services to people with life limiting illnesses.

Its 21 nurses and physiotherapists offer home-based care to patients dealing with diabetes, hypertension, cancer and dimentia at between Sh1,500 and Sh4,000 a day depending on the level of care.

“We have catered for around 320 clients across the country since we started,” says the 27-year-old certified nurse.

It is while doing her clinicals at Gatundu Level 5 hospital that she noticed a growing number of patients staying in hospitals for non-urgent medical care.

Her first client was an aged patient from Kisumu who had stayed in the ward for long due to his diabetic foot.

“I approached the son and offered to take care of his dad from home at a fee,” says the graduate of Amref International University.

Initially, it was a juggle between clinicals and Benacare before she decided to go full throttle into the enterprise.

Through referrals, the client base expanded, creating the need to register the company and hire more nurses on part-time and full-time basis.

Her business partner Brian Ajwang’, a brand designer, came on board a year later and handles mostly the administration side of the enterprise.

Aside from home-based care, Benacare supplies home care medical equipment such as hospital beds, mattresses, oxygen concentrators and suction machines.

“We learnt that when a client asks for home service, they don’t necessarily understand that it requires them to have certain things at home since they have not prepared,” says Mr Ajwang’ who has a background in marketing.

Today, the company based in Westlands, Nairobi, handles up to 50 clients at a time, earning Sh600,000 on average monthly.

Upon receiving a request for compassionate care, Benacare physically assesses the home to advise clients on what is required.

Clients are given the option of buying equipment from Benacare’s network of reputable suppliers.

“We also buy the used equipment from clients when they no longer need them. This helps clients offload while at the same time help us to have a business,” she says.

Part of what’s contained in the contract with clients is a condition that the care-giver is guaranteed a safe environment and that issues emerging are addressed with her/his employer and not directly with the nurse.

To guarantee safety to clients, nurses are thoroughly vetted based on their past jobs, nursing license and certificate of good conduct.

There is an indemnity insurance, in case a licensed nurse does something contrary to what is expected of them.

“To protect our nurses, we require them to document everything and this can stand in a court of law when the client accuses them,” says Ms Monari.

Benacare was selected among five women-led start-ups that received Sh1 million seed funding in a programme funded by the Standard Chartered Bank and implemented at iBizAfrica- Strathmore University.

The five were awarded after completing three-month incubation at iBizAfrica-Strathmore University’s tech incubator.

The others were Soul Food, Taste Afrique, Nature’s Touch and Arbes Biotech.

They were selected from 380 applicants that are using technology to tackle problems afflicting the community.

LYNET IGADWAH
By LYNET IGADWAH
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Strathmore University Joins the Fortinet Security Academy Program to Address the Cybersecurity Skills Gap in Kenya

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• Strathmore University becomes the first academic institution in Kenya to join Fortinet’s Security Academy Program.

• Strathmore University-Kenya to be regional academy for students in East Africa.

Strathmore University has announced it has collaborated with Fortinet, a global leader in broad, integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions,
develop cybersecurity talent and help close the skills gap. Through Strathmore University’s Centre @iLabAfrica, which spearheads Research and Innovation, is the first academic institution in Kenya to join the Security Academy Program, part of Fortinet’s Network Security Expert (NSE
Training Institute.

Studying for an ICT course in Kenya today requires individuals to gain the necessary skills to operate, support and understand the complexities of next-generation security technologies and threats. This has led to the current strain the ICT security industry is experiencing as companies
face a lack of skilled professionals.

To help address the cybersecurity skills gap, Strathmore University joined the Fortinet NSE Training Institute’s Security Academy Program designed to provide industry-recognised cybersecurity training and Network Security Expert Certifications to students through theoretical and hands-on laboratory practice.

Through the Security Academy Program, participating Academies can leverage cybersecurity curriculum to equip their students with the knowledge and skills needed for their career. Students who go on to pass their Network Security Expert Certification exam are recognised in the industry among security professionals who are skilled in Fortinet’s network security products and solutions.

“We have noted an increase in employers seeking to hire employees with relevant cybersecurity As such, the collaboration with Fortinet will further assist us in equipping our students with in-demand cybersecurity skills employers seek. We look forward to numerous students benefiting annually from the Security Academy Program resources, leading to them joining the workforce and filling critical cybersecurity roles in Kenya,” states Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director of the @iLabAfrica Research Centre-Strathmore University.

Fortinet’s Security Academy Program offers instructor training courses, Certifications and software licenses to colleges, universities and accredited institutions of higher education.“In this hyper-connected world, numerous security attacks are leading organisations to increase their demand for cybersecurity professionals. The courses that Fortinet and Strathmore will offer will help develop the cybersecurity skills needed to overcome the security challenges we face as a region,” says Richard Otolo, @iLabAfrica IT Security Centre Manager.

“Fortinet’s Security Academy Program collaborates with academic institutions and nonprofits from around the world to prepare students and participants for a career in cybersecurity,” says Sandra Wheatley, SVP of Marketing, Threat Intelligence and Influencer Communications at
Fortinet. “We’re thrilled to have Strathmore University join the program to provide our NSE training curriculum to students looking to develop critical skills needed to fill the security talent
shortage in Kenya.”

“We are committed to address the cybersecurity skills shortage, which is a major challenge facing organizations in Kenya today. By partnering with Strathmore University, we prepare students for a career in network security through the Security Academy Program, providing industry-recognized Fortinet training and certifications,” says Imran Chaudhrey, Country
Manager, East Africa at Fortinet.
Registrations of interest are open at Strathmore University, for the second semester, from June To apply visit https://www.ilabafrica.ac.ke/


About @iLabAfrica Centre
@iLabAfrica is a Centre of Excellence in ICT Innovation and Development at Strathmore University. The centre spearheads Research and Innovation in Information Communication Technology for the Development (ICT4D) of ecosystems towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to contribute toward Kenya’s Vision 2030. The research centre is involved in interdisciplinary research, students’ engagement and has partnered with over 800 institutions (Universities, NGOs, foundations, and government) worldwide and other
funding agencies.

For more information, please visit www.ilabafrica.ac.ke