@iLabAfrica Director Courtesy Visit to the Office of the Data Commissioner Kenya

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@iLabAfrica- Strathmore University Research and Innovation Centre, led by Dr. Joseph Sevilla, on 12 March 2021, paid a courtesy visit to. Ms. Immaculate Kassait, the First Data Commissioner.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner was established pursuant to the Data Protection Act, 2019 and subsequently the Data Commissioner Ms. Kassait was appointed in November 2020. The mandate  of the office to regulate the processing of personal data; ensure that the processing of personal data of a data subject is guided by the principles set out in section 25 of the Data Protection Act, 2019; protect the privacy of individuals; establish the legal and institutional mechanism to protect personal data and providing data subjects with rights and remedies to protect their personal data from processing that is not in accordance with the Act.

@iLabAfrica Data Science Unit, having recently launched the Masters in Data Science and Analytics, envisions to support the Office of the Data Commissioner in awareness of the Data Protection Act, contributing towards the development of sector specific guidelines, and conducting impact assessments.  Detailing on the Unit’s involvement, Dr. John Olukuru (Head of Data Science and Analytics) noted the need to foster collaboration in advancing techniques to manipulate and interpret data, while addressing the urgent data protection problems facing society. “This is a fundamental time to closely link Government, Industry and Academia in developing policies, creating capacity and developing frameworks to streamline the regulation of Data in Kenya”.

The Data Science team aims to train the next generation of data scientists to develop innovate technology to serve society. The Unit offers short courses such as: Certificate in Data Science, Big Data Analytics, Geographic Information (GIS) and Executive analytics courses which are open and customizable.

The Data Science Unit has received several grants to work on climate, financial and immigration data, as well as consultancy projects in Healthcare, Agriculture, FMCG, Hospitality, Retail Supermarkets, Banking and Insurance sectors. The team provides the best opportunities in the region for businesses, government and individuals to solve problems by thinking differently, seeing data from all angles, unlocking perspectives and inspiring data strategies which is essential to the Office of the Data Commission.

To Know more about @iLabafrica Visit www.ilabafrica.ac.ke

Click here to know more about the Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics

Strathmore University Launches Master’s Program to provide Data Scientists in Kenya.

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See here for more details : https://t.co/WXXtwG8Q2s?amp=

Strathmore University Launches Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics (MSc. DSA) a
unique graduate program set to equip participants with a deep mastery of the business and IT
underpinnings of Data Science and Analytics and provide the Kenyan market with highly skilled
data scientists. The program is a collaboration between Strathmore Institute of Mathematical
Sciences (SIMS) and @iLabAfrica Research and Innovation Centre.

We are currently in an era where government and industry are moving towards data centered
decision making to better serve their constituents and clients. Skills such as Artificial Intelligence,
Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics are on a high demand everywhere.

To help uncover the true value of data, the MSc. in Data Science and Analytics is for all
professionals looking to harness data in new, innovative ways and make data-driven decisions.
Speaking during the launch Chief Guest speaker, Dr. Julius Kipng’etich – Group CEO Jubilee
Insurance said, We need to use data science to understand customer behavior. Even the media
industry need understand the customer in a very special way where data will help to customize
news they provide individual customers on various different platforms depending on the
consumers generated patterns.”

He added “We need to start thinking of our education system, is it competitive enough so as to
drive the culture for demand for knowledge generated from Data, which gives information that
generates knowledge that finally gives us the wisdom we need in decision making. This is what I
believe the Masters of Science in Data Science and Analytics will achieve. We need to put a lot of
emphasis in the education system on science and mathematics. We must re-look on how we teach
Mathematics and science as a country because it is an ingredient skill in creating a data science
culture.”
95% of the world’s data has been created in just the past 2 years. Data is the next natural resource
and Big Data is becoming the new differentiating factor of production. Faced with overwhelming

amounts of data, organizations are struggling to extract the powerful insights they need to make
smarter business decisions

During his opening remarks, Dr. Vincent Ogutu – Vice Chancellor Designate, Strathmore
University mentioned, “The answers are already there in the data, which is everywhere, but
somehow we are not using these data. We keep using the old methods yet, if we just did the
analysis, we would find the appropriate answers we are looking for in our organizations.”
“It is scary to think of how much power people who hold your data, have over you. I am hoping
in this course we will get professionals who can help us find solutions from data and the same time
be very ethical enough to help us understand how to protect ourselves from the people who access
to our data that is very exposed.”

Dr. Sevilla – Director of @iLabAfrica – Strathmore University stated, “Data science is
combination of skills where people are able to understand mathematical models, how to implement
these models using computer programs, applications and software and then apply this knowledge
into businesses.”

“We are bringing out the skills of business, IT and mathematical modeling with the aim of shaping
people who fall under business, IT and Mathematical modeling and are going to apply these skills
in businesses.

Dr. Godfrey Madigu – Dean of Strathmore Institute of Mathematical Sciences (SIMS) said, “There
has been a lot of work which has been put into this launch. It has not been easy but we are actually
confident that what will be delivered by Strathmore University is really outstanding.”

Others in attendance and shared the concerns about the scarcity of data scientists in our Kenya
market during the panel discussion were; Anastasia Kariuki – Associate Director KPMG EA,
David Nyamai – Head of Big Data and Business Analytics, Safaricom, Bhartesh Shah –Group
Chief Operations Officer I&M Bank, Prof Thomas Achia – Senior Statistician and Centre for
Disease Control and Prevention, University of the Western Cape and Dr. John Olukuru, Head of
Data science and Analytics.

About @iLabAfrica Research and Innovation Centre
@iLabAfrica is a Centre of Excellence in ICT Innovation and Development at Strathmore
University. The center 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 center 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 http://www.ilabafrica.ac.ke

About Strathmore Institute of Mathematical Sciences
Strathmore Institute of Mathematical Sciences (SIMS) was established in 2010 and launched on
August 18, 2011.The main mandate of SIMS is to conduct and coordinate mathematical-based
research in the University and to initiate, promote and undertake collaborative research with
industry and other institutions of higher learning. These collaborations between the Institute and
other faculties and organizations are intended to serve as a driver for research enhancement.

Food Africa Accelerator Demo Day

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You are cordially invited to The Food Africa Accelerator Virtual Demo Day on 27th November 2020 from 3.00p.m EAT to 4.30p.m EAT. This event marks an important milestone in the acceleration process towards the acquisition of investment for the enterprises that participated in the first cohort of the programme.

During this highly interactive event, businesses from the program will exhibit and pitch before an investor panel to gauge their investor readiness as they kick off  potential investment conversations with program investors. This being an important milestone for the businesses and program, it will also provide an opportunity for key players in the agriculture industry including  company founders, venture capitalists, investors and industry partners, to network and engage.The demo day will be hosted by Make-IT in Africa – GIZ, @iBizAfrica and Pangea Accelerator.

Kindly RSVP by responding to rkilonzo@strathmore.edu, by Friday, 20th November 2020. We will follow your confirmation with a Google Calendar invite.

Event Details:

Click Zoom Invite to register.

Importance of Cyber Security in the Telecommunication Sector

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The telecommunications sector is a key contributor to most if not all of the businesses that run in the country. It is embedded in the daily activities of the businesses that are required for it to  function seamlessly such as communication through email, phone calls, video calls so as to achieve their respective goals.

Telecommunication Sector and Cyber Threats

The recent advancement of digital and technological platforms have impacted the growth of the telecommunications sector, digital services and cybersecurity markets due to the increase of user presence. According to(The Telecommunications Industry in Kenya 2019: Growth in the Digital Economy, Mobile Telephony & Internet Penetration, 2020), Kenya’s telecommunications sector grew relatively strongly in 2018, supported mainly by growth in the digital economy, mobile telephone, and internet penetration.

As reported by the telecommunications report(Kenya’s telecom, digital services and cyber security sectors due for expansion, 2018), the Kenyan government identified the telecommunications industry as a key sector to aid rapid economic growth resulting in a Cumulative revenues from the telecommunications, digital services and cybersecurity markets  are expected to cross $9 billion by 2022.

This has provided an opportunity for telecommunications based companies to thrive in the economy for instance Safaricom that is a leading provider of telecommunication and mobile money services in the country with over 58% of the population using these services.

Our frequent use and combined with our dependency on them make telecoms a major target for cyber criminals. It is also mentioned by (Kenya’s telecom, digital services and cyber security sectors due for expansion, 2018) that when it comes to cybersecurity the telecommunications sector is widely viewed as one of the most vulnerable to cyber security attacks.

This poses a great threat to the companies since they are trusted with sensitive customer information. Hence, these companies need to keep up with the technological trends and cyber threats in order to best prevent malicious attackers from penetrating the system and acquiring both internal company and customer information.

Referring to the growth of the telecommunications and digital services sector, (Kenya’s telecom, digital services and cyber security sectors due for expansion, 2018)mentions that growth in the telecommunication and digital services sectors have almost inevitably signifies growth for cyber security services, as an increased reliance on digitalisation brings with it a new range of threats from cyber attacks.

What are some of the cyber threats posed to the telecommunication sector?

As stated in Threat Intelligence Report for the Telecommunications Industry (Kaspersky, 2016, 4), telecommunication organizations face either direct whereby an attacker is intent on breaching the network or indirect attacks whereby their customers are targeted.

These attacks include:

  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks- It is observed that the telecommunication industry faces more attacks compared to other industries. One of the more frequent attacks is the DDoS attack which can last for long periods of time.
  • Compromising subscribers with social engineering, phishing or malware- Social engineering remains a popular technique used by attackers to gain information from unsuspecting victims. These can lead to either employees or the customers revealing sensitive information that can compromise the company or themselves.
  • The exploitation of vulnerabilities in network and consumer devices- Vulnerabilities in networks or in android devices provides more opportunities for the attackers to exploit the systems and the devices. The use of new and sophisticated malware attacks may be difficult to detect using simple antivirus software.
  • Growth of Insider threat- The insiders may assist the attackers by providing access to data or information on the network infrastructure. These employees can either participate voluntarily or forced through blackmail.

Some of the potential damages that may be experienced include:

  • Credit card and identity theft
  • Service interruption
  • Website damages
  • Loss of reputation

How can telecommunication companies improve security?

The telecommunication sector may face various challenges when it comes to cyber attacks but there are practices the companies can adopt in order to prevent, detect and mitigate these security risks before they cause damage eg finiciale damage. As mentioned before, Safaricom is a well known and profitable company that has millions of users in the country. This makes it a target for malicious attackers that may want to breach their network and system. Hence, their security needs to have as few vulnerabilities as possible. Some of the ways that the company has embraced cyber security is by having internal security practices and procedures to protect their systems and customer information.

In addition, ensuring that the employees are well trained on cyber security and the threats that they may face. For example, Safaricom gave their employees an opportunity to be well versed on cyber security issues by outsourcing training services from @iLabAfrica. The Safaricom Digital Academy allowed the employees to be educated and trained on new methodologies by which attackers use to exploit vulnerabilities and breach systems. A plethora of cyber security related topics such as Network and infrastructure security, Cryptography, Malware Analysis and Reverse engineering among others are covered. With the knowledge gained through months of training, the safaricom employees are in a better position to uphold the security measures in the company.

In agreement with (Oliinyk, 2020), Communication networks need to be resilient. Especially, as the scope, variety, and complexity of current cybersecurity threats are increasing exponentially.

Arthor: Alex Muge Osunga
IT Security Research Assistant , I.T Security Unit – @iLabAfrica

Bibliography

Kaspersky. (2016). Threat Intelligence Report for the Telecommunications Industry. 17.

Kenya’s telecom, digital services and cyber security sectors due for expansion. (2018, July 18). Consultancy.africa. https://www.consultancy.africa/news/839/kenyas-telecom-digital-services-and-cyber-security-sectors-due-for-expansion

Loyal, R. (2019, August 14). The Importance of Cyber-security in the world of Telecommunications. SecurityBoulevard. https://securityboulevard.com/2019/08/the-importance-of-cyber-security-in-the-world-of-telecommunications/

Oliinyk, A. (2020, April 7). SECURITY IN TELECOM: 5 CURRENT CYBER THREATS AND SOLUTIONS. Infopulse. (https://www.infopulse.com/blog/security-telecom-threats-and-solutions/

The Telecommunications Industry in Kenya 2019: Growth in the Digital Economy, Mobile Telephony & Internet Penetration. (2020, January 21). PR Newswire. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-telecommunications-industry-in-kenya-2019-growth-in-the-digital-economy-mobile-telephony–internet-penetration-300990299.html

What is TAI Security Operations Centre?

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Globally cybersecurity issues are becoming a day-to-day struggle for businesses. Despite significant cybersecurity investments, organisations are forced to face security challenges with limited or zero in-house cybersecurity expertise.

TAI SOC is a Security Operations Centre as a Service (SOCaaS) provider that aims to address cybersecurity issues facing businesses in Fintech, Insurance, Government, Medical and other institutions that rely on Information Technology to power their operations.
TAI — a Swahili word for Eagle – symbolises the team in the Security Operations Centre which is fearless in the face of adversity, conquerors with a powerful ability to monitor, detect and respond to cyber threats against its clients in real-time.
The SOC’s ultimate goal is to establish a more proactive attitude towards security issues, while locating and responding to cyber threats to an organisation.
TAI SOC is a collaboration project between three institutions: ACPM IT Consulting Ltd. (ACPM) based in Hungary, BCK Kenya Limited and @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University.

For most organisations establishing and operating an in-house Security Operations takes up a lot of time and effort to establish the infrastructure they need. A complete SOC requires: expert staff, carefully selected hardware and software, recurring trainings, international compliance and a 24/7 operation. This set up to proves to be time consuming, expensive and requires significant effort for most organisations, with little or no pay–
off in the long term.
We at TAI SOC understand the challenge of hiring the best cybersecurity talent in the industry and the costs of setting up an in-house SOC. For this reason, we offer our SOC as a Service (SOCaaS) which provides.

NETWORK VISIBILITY

We present the information obtained through log analysis to our security
analysts in a comprehensible manner. This enables the security analysts
to determine the current security posture of the organisation.

FAST DETECTION & RESPONSE

We have a pragmatic approach to achieve security: When a threat penetrates a network’s defences, our strategy is to identify and isolate it
early in the “kill-chain” in order to minimise its impact.

CONTEXTUAL AWARENESS

We deliver contextual awareness through the aggregation, association,
and contextualisation of all the log data generated by your IT infrastructure. This results in a holistic view of the security posture of your organisation.

REGULATORY COMPLIANCE

Several cybersecurity related regulatory standards have emerged such as the PCI DSS, the EU GDPR and the Kenya Data Protection Act. TAI SOC will help you comply with these regulatory standards in a detailed and systemic way.
TAI SOC provides an end-to-end cyber security solution combining powerful software with a suite of SOC services that delivers:
• Foundational security and highly advanced protection.
• 24/7 threat analysis and detection, mitigation, remediation.
• Constant monitoring of the IT infrastructure logs, devices, networks and critical applications.
• Continuous scanning and analysis of multiple events.
• Automatic and human assisted threat analysis and ranking with risk–scoring and alert
thresholds.
• Enhanced reporting capabilities.
• Compliance assurance to industry standards with audit ready reports.
• ISO 9001/270001 accreditation.


Having TAI SOC as a service means that your organisation need only provide a single point of contact (usually Head of IT Security, IT Operations, or other relevant position) who can be reached in the event of a serious security incident discovered by our SOC personnel.

HOW WE WORK

Before every personalised proposal, we provide an expert to assess your company’s needs based on the following areas:
• Targeted infrastructure components.
• Number of infrastructure endpoints.
• Log storage retention requirements.
• Number of Events Per Seconds (EPS).
• Coverage hours and response time SLAs.
• Compliance requirements.
We provide you with a free-of-charge assessment of your organisation’s IT Security and SOC needs.

Please contact us at: info@tai-soc.co.ke

Or Visit https://www.tai-soc.co.ke/

HON. JOE MUCHERU LAUNCHES NEW SECURITY OPERATIONS CENTRE AT STRATHMORE UNIVERSITY.

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From Left to right: Dr. Vincent Ogutu, Vice Chancellor Designate-Strathmore University. Mrs. Judit Galambos – Charge De Affairs of the Hungarian Embassy in Kenya, Dr. Katherine Getao, EBS, Chief Executive Officer- ICT Authority. Mr. Pat Muthui- Director BCK Kenya Limited and Dr. Joseph Sevilla Director- @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University
  • The TAI Security Operations Centre launched through a collaboration between @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University, ACPM Ltd based in Hungary and BCK Kenya Ltd.
  • The SOC’s ultimate goal is to establish a more proactive attitude towards security issues, while locating and responding to cyber threats to organisations.
  • TAI SOC is a Security Operations Centre as a Service (SOCaaS) that aims to address cybersecurity issues facing Local Enterprises, Fintech, Insurance, Government, Health and other institutions relaying on Information Technology to power their operations.

Nairobi, Kenya (Friday 6th November, 2020) – @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University, ACPM Ltd based in Hungary and BCK Kenya Ltd are pleased to announce the launch of the TAI Security Operations Centre. TAI—a Swahili word for Eagle—is dedicated to offering real time monitoring and advanced contextual analysis to proactively prevent, detect and address security threats for local Kenyan businesses.

The launch of the TAI Security Operations Centre is a timely response to the massive increase in cybercrimes across the country. The National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team & Coordination Centre detected over 48.5 Million cyber-attacks between January 2020 and June 2020. Some of the most prominent cybercrimes in Kenya being false publications, phishing attacks, malware, money transfer fraud, credit card fraud, and cyber terrorism. From non-governmental organizations, government agencies, e-commerce platforms (e.g Jumia), financial institutions such as banks, SACCOs cyber threats are proving to be a common menace for all.

The theme of the event “‘The Kenyan Cybersecurity Landscape- How well prepared are Kenyan Businesses?” was a reflection on the evolution of the cybersecurity industry, how external factors affect the growth of the sector and the impact of cyber- attacks on Kenyan businesses. 

Speaking during the launch Chief Guest speaker CS. Joe Mucheru said “The Communications Authority , an agency within my ministry, attributes the increase in the number of cyber security threats to the global increase in malware that includes ransomware other attribution include the high level of unemployment amongst highly skilled tech savvy youth, policy regulatory and enforcement gaps, weak cybersecurity mechanisms and standards within organisations as well as the yawning gap in cybersecurity skills in our region.” He added “I encourage businesses and corporations alike to develop and in-still their own measures in curbing cyber threats. I support the six elements within the cyber resilience strategy that is recommended by @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University which are: Prepare, Protect, Train, Detect, Respond and Recover.”

The unique collaboration is a renewed multilateral partnership between Kenya and Hungary. Mrs Judit Galambos – Charge De Affairs of the Hungarian Embassy in Kenya said “The main strategies from our embassy is to promote the Hungarian small, medium and middle sized enterprises and help them intensify their trade development and collaborations with this part of the world and so far it is working and it is the reason we are standing here today launching the TAI SOC Collaboration.”

Mr. Marton Miklos – CEO, ACPM IT Consulting Ltd a leading IT Security Service in Hungary mentioned “according to research Africa as a region shows massive growth in advance massive cyber-attack due to increase of internet and mobile devices. Industry such as banking, mining, education and telecommunication companies are all suffering from cyber-attacks in this region. Cyber criminals are also taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic with new types of cyber-attacks affecting organisations in financial, healthcare and government agencies that deal with sensitive data therefore information protection is top priority for corporations and SOC as a service will soon be a good adoption to ensure that data exchange is safe. He further added “Building cybersecurity resilience for the Kenyan Businesses is imperative for business and economic growth.”

TAI SOC aims to implement an organizational (internal) Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT), which will assist our clients and co-ordinate with the National KE-CIRT/CC to expose and avert cyberattacks targeting local organizations through actionable advisories and alerts.

“We shouldn’t ask our customers to make a tradeoff between privacy and security. We need to offer them the best of both. Ultimately, protecting someone else’s data protects all of us” Mr Pat Muthui Director BCK Kenya Limited. “Today your defenses will work, tomorrow it’s never guaranteed. This is why we need cybersecurity as a service, to solve challenges as they come”. He added.

In addressing the immense skills gap in the industry, Dr. Joseph Sevilla Director, @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University commented “If we want to want to make a difference in the Cybersecurity world, we need to encourage young people to invest in academics as well as the business world.”

The launch panel session discussing the theme of the event was facilitated by Professor Bitange Ndemo with insights drawn from prominent experts in the field including Dr. Katherine Getao, EBS ,Chief Executive Officer, ICT Authority, Dr. Catherine Adeya, Director of Research, World Wide Web Foundation, Dr. Leonard Mwithiga, Director, ICT National Bank of Kenya, Mr. John Walubengo, Member Kenya Taskforce on Blockchain & AI, Mrs. Jaine Mwai – CIO, Standard Chartered Bank, Mr. Gabor Illess – ACPM IT Consulting Ltd, Hungary, and Mr. John Nyabuti, TAI SOC Operations Manager- Strathmore University.

TAI SOC is a Security Operations Centre as a Service (SOCaaS) provider that aims to address cybersecurity issues facing businesses in Fintech, Insurance, Government, Health and other institutions that rely on Information Technology to power their operations.

The launch of TAI SOC is an opportunity for the Kenyan Cybersecurity landscape to actively focus on the vulnerabilities of systems and strengthen the defense mechanisms. The public sector, healthcare, government, education system, and retail sectors remain the biggest beneficiaries of SOC services.

For more information, Visit www.tai-soc.co.ke or Email: info@tai-soc.co.ke

CLICK HERE to re-watch the Launch 

ACPM IT Consulting Ltd. (ACPM) based in Hungary- ACPM IT Consulting Ltd. is an international consulting company focusing on IT security. Founded in 2015 by accomplished information security experts in Budapest, Hungary, ACPM is based in Budapest with representative offices and partners in Kenya, South Africa, Austria, United Arab Emirates, China, Rwanda and Malaysia.

The ACPM team of cybersecurity- and information technology experts provide highly sophisticated IT security and IT auditing services to global corporations, financial entities and government organizations.

BCK Kenya Limited – BCK Kenya Limited is a leading provider of ICT services in East Africa based in Nairobi. It’s an end-to-end digital solutions partner, providing the most advanced customer centered Information and Communications Technology to organizations of all sizes and needs.

BCK provides Digital Engineered and Integration Services, Automation of Core operations, Engineered Interactive solutions (UI/UXI), Applied Intelligence and Analytics (BI), Mobile Application Development, connecting the workforce to networks anytime to improve productivity Integrate, educate and implement Security solutions with operations from devices and equipment to software and services, Big Data Consulting for Data Architecture, Integration and Exploration. Clients range from Public Sector, County Governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and those in the Financial Sector.

@iLabAfrica-Strathmore University – 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.

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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