The first Cohort of the Autism Tech Project completed their classes on 28th April 2017. The project is on a pilot basis and is the first project of its kind in Strathmore University. The project seeks to create an environment whereby certain individuals on the Autism Spectrum can be trained on Software Testing and other areas of IT and get employment. @iLabAfrica partnered with IBM, who provided their software testing tool. After a series of interviews, 5 students were selected to pioneer it at @iLabAfrica.
Project Autism Tech was conceived in November 2015 as a possible means to addressing the problem of unemployment amongst capable individuals in the Autism Spectrum within the field of software testing. This specific area was selected because it is a model that has been successfully proven in all continents of the world except in Africa.
@iLabAfrica, being a Research Centre in Strathmore University established in 2011 to spearhead Research and Innovation in the ICT for the Development (ICT4D) ecosystem towards the attainment of the UNDP Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Kenya’s Vision 2030, was selected by the Project pioneer to partner in the execution of the pilot project.
The project sought to create an environment whereby certain individuals on the Autism Spectrum could be trained and get employment on the basis of their areas of strength. Software Testing & Quality assurance is one such area where people with Autism have been known to excel and thus the project was borne.
The 5 Candidates went through a series of classes that comprised of Information Technology, soft skills and life skills. In IT they learnt about software testing, data entry, cloud computing, basic programming and Internet among others. Some of the soft skills they were taught were communicating with colleagues, respecting personal space, advocating for themselves and professionalism of work. They were also taught on how to do interviews, going through contracts and seeking advice before signing any agreement with companies or persons. They were exposed to making and doing presentations in order to show and sell any ideas and information when required.
“The experience has helped the candidates grow a lot socially since the beginning of the project. Initially, they had difficulties in holding conversations and teamwork. These communication and social challenges are due to the fact that they are on the autism spectrum. But with time, through intensive coaching and role playing, a huge improvement has been seen. Today they are able to hold group discussions and work in a team with minimal supervision”, said Naomi Nyambura who is their Job coach.
The project gave the candidates an opportunity to make friends and have meaningful work relationships with neuro-typical colleagues. Through the pilot project, those in the university were sensitized on Autism and what it is all about and were able to connect with the candidates and assist them in any way possible.
Outcome of the Project
From the training, the candidates were able to learn about research and documentation and make presentations based on the research. The candidates were also able to learn about software testing which included practical sessions on manual and automated software testing. They used the IBM software testing tool to do the automated testing successfully. Other areas that the candidates were trained on was cloud computing, programming in Java and website development. During the graduation ceremony, one of the candidates was offered an internship opportunity at Kenya Communication Centre for Learning (KCCL) by the Principal.
The ego, confidence and morale of the candidates also improved a great deal as a result of being in the Autism Tech project. They had always dreamt of being in a university, being accepted and treated normally without discrimination. This is what they got and it has helped them increase their self-belief, and worked hard throughout their training. Their goal is to get employed, to be independent. This project opened a door for this goal to be achieved.
All in all the Autism Tech project has been a great success. It is evident that with continued support, people with disabilities have a chance of getting training in IT and getting meaningful employment thereby becoming independent and leading a more normal life.
Are you ready to scale up your business/ startup and looking to work closely with international experts and mentors
Who can apply?
- Are beyond concept validation and prototype phase in their market
- Want to improve their business operations with insights and best practices from experts and international mentors and other fast-moving entrepreneurs
- Wish to experience an outstanding and long lasting personal and entrepreneurial journey alongside engaging in the enpact community
- Are from Kenya, Germany, the East African region or Europe
- are committed to doing the entire 8-month mentoring programme.
What is in it for you?
- Work on new and exciting challenges to overcome with team, funding, product development, positioning, pivoting or business development
- Explore new markets or consolidate within the national market
- Pitch to an extensive network of partners (corporates, investors, influencers, etc.)
- Gain exposure via international and regional media outlets
- Exchange stories about failures, lessons, tips and tricks with the enpact community.
What is the programme about?
Over the last few years, startup mentoring by Enpact has driven ambitious entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles, scale their business, connect internationally with partners and gain new insights to develop their strategy and strengthen their management skills.
So far, more than 200 entrepreneurs have been through our programme and we have developed a pool of 100+ highly qualified mentors & experts. Participants from our earlier programme have employed 4 or more people in the first year and we are proud to see that they have a 80% survival rate.
Click here if you want to know more about what makes Enpact 8-month international mentoring program special!
- Must be registered to conduct business in Kenya in accordance with Kenyan law
- Must demonstrate the innovation and how it links to the Safaricom Foundation strategic
- Must demonstrate capacity to develop and roll out the solution to benefit Kenyans
- Must demonstrate how they have involved partners and the community that will benefit from the innovation
- Potential innovations will be incubated for three months after which those selected will be funded
- Payments will be paid based on pre-agreed milestones
- There will grant to take the innovation to deployment and scale
- This is an innovation challenge fund and the Foundation reserves the right to take an equity stake in the final product (negotiated)
- The focus is on the benefit of the innovation to bring change to the community
- Those selected must be willing to be incubated for three (3) months at @iBizAfrica, Strathmore University
- The fund does not fund operational or logistical costs
- The selection will be by a committee comprised of individuals from Strathmore University, Safaricom Foundation, Mpesa Foundation partners, Safaricom Innovation and Technology divisions
- Teams of a maximum of a maximum of three people by:
- Kenyan youth (18-35 years)
- National and community based non-governmental organisations
- Faith based and civil society organizations
- academic and research institutions
- innovation hubs and the private sector
- Teams must have the relevant technical and business capacity required to successfully execute the the business
- Open Call for Applications-2nd May
- Deadline call for applications-2nd June
- Incubation-June-August 2017
Check here to apply.
Five hundred billion devices and objects will be connected to the Internet by 2030!
Things like wells, cars, watches, refrigerators, and more will be connected to the Internet for the first time so that they can transmit and receive information. Digitization is about connecting people and things to the Internet so that the information those connections provide can be used to improve processes and decision making.
With digitization and the Internet of Things (IoT), good ideas can make a difference more quickly than ever before by driving economic development and helping people solve some of our most
Who Should Enter?
This challenge is open to students or recent alumni from any college or university. For detailed eligibility requirements, please click here .
Areas of impact could include, but are not limited to:
- local industry/economic development
- critical human needs (food, water, shelter, and disaster relief)
- economic empowerment/financial inclusion
Digital Technologies that enable these innovations may include, but are not limited to:
- connected/smart solutions (smart home, smart city, smart energy)
- connected transportation
- big data
- cloud computing
We are awarding $300,000 to support Global Problem Solvers. Click here to read more about the prizes.
- March 30 2017: Applications Open
- May 30 2017: Applications Close
- June 12, 2017: Finalists announced
- June 12,-28th 2017: Peoples Choice Voting
- June 29: Winners Announced
Why you should participate?
- Huge cash infusion to develop your company or solution
- Global recognition and publicity for your company or solution
- Looks great on a resume or in a prospectus to potential funders
- Review by Cisco technology experts and high profile judges
- Peer and industry validation for your solution
Digitize. Do More Good.
To learn more and take part in this challenge,please click here.
The Idea Foundation Seed Stage Accelerator is a three months long incubation program that empowers entrepreneurs to launch globally scalable innovation-driven startups that solve relevant local challenges.
Selection-Our selection process is a unique full-day workshop and pitch presentation (after a week) where participants are trained and equipped with the most relevant lean startup tools to conduct customer discovery and validation. Teams then pitch to demonstrate customer-problem fit. The teams are also trained and equipped with the tools and skills for business modeling. They develop a business model to be tested during the incubation period. Teams that pass the selection interview and already having proof of concept and early traction (users and customers) proceed to submit an application for seed funding to IDEA Foundation.
Training-Selected teams undergo an intense two weeks curriculum designed to quickly orient them into the nuances of business skills, entrepreneurship and lean startup techniques. The training will equip the participants with the knowledge and skills across entrepreneurship, business modeling, team development, business processes, presentation skills and pitching, product development and lean startup methodology. Classes take place in the evening from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and on Saturdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Mentoring and Coaching-Teams will have access to top mentors and coaches from industry and Strathmore University.
MVP and Proof of Concept-Concurrently with the training, teams embark on building an MVP for proof of concept. They also run experiment to test the business model. The duration for this is one month. Teams pitch to demonstrate proof of concept and to submit application for seed funding.
Seed Funding-Applications for seed funding are submitted to the selection committee that approves them of review by the Idea Foundation Investment Committee. Applicants can apply upto KES. 500,000.
Who Should Apply
- The program is open to teams lead by Strathmore Students and Alumni only. Women and alumni are highly encouraged to apply.
- The program is open to small synergized entrepreneurial teams with balanced skill sets, relevant experience and passion to execute and succeed.
- Applicants must be Strathmore Students or Alumni (At least one applicant in the team).
- Applicants must be in a team of 2 to three people with relevant technical and business skills required in the startup.
- Applicants must be physically available to participate in the program during the entire duration of the program.
- Only the applicants that will successfully complete the selection workshop will be admitted into the program.
- Applicant must demonstrate innovation and address relevant local challenges with impact on the sustainable Development Goals
Themed Categories for the Program
- Agritech-Innovations in agriculture
- Edtech-Innvations in education
- Governance and Ethics
Duration: 3 months
- Open Call for Applications-27th April 2017
- Deadline call for applications-27th May 2017
- Incubation-May-August 2017
To apply to this call. Please fill in this form.
#NTW2017 was the hashtag buzzing the 4-day event between 22nd March and 25th March 2017 all over social media. This year’s event was arguably the best one yet as it united local and global software and industry leaders, coupled with developer workshops and challenges, as well as informative panel discussions, all of which had a huge impact to all attendees.
After opening keynotes from Facebook, Moringa School and @iBizAfrica – Strathmore University representatives the NTW2017 participants were introduced to the event with very interesting sessions. The first one was a Scrum Training aimed at teaching participants on the development and deployment of resilient financial USSD applications. Occurring concurrently was a workshop by Safaricom that educated the participants on Intellectual Property and it’s importance in today’s technology space. Google also had a very interesting workshop on building scalable web applications through the Google Cloud Platform.
After the lunch break the participants had a hard time on deciding which workshop to attend as they all looked exciting.
JUMO WORLD facilitated one session on MOB Programming, Moringa School had theirs on designing for Mobile and Intel enlightened attendees on the fundamentals of Machine Learning, Deep Learning & Artificial Intelligence. It wasn’t any easier in the evening as Brave Ventures in their workshop challenged the participants to think like Data Scientists.
Participants who attended the Dalberg workshop learnt how to create an effective relationship between Developers and Designers, while those who attended the Facebook workshop got to understand the business opportunity on the Facebook Messenger platform and how to leverage and maximize on the Messenger Bot API.
Day 2 commenced with the kickoff of the Angel Hack Hackathon with Facebook and JUMO which challenged developers to unite and come up with innovative mobile solutions.
Developers were so engrossed in the hackathon as they were ready to stay overnight developing their applications. They did! There was the promise of mind-blowing prizes and opportunities for the winners on each challenge, which kept them highly motivated.
In the meantime, there were several workshops and panel discussions as well. Industry experts from Twiga Foods, Cellulant, Seven Seas Technology, Summit Recruitment and Frontline SMS consisted of a panel that enlightened the attendees on the best ways to acquire developer talent in Sub Saharan Africa. Up next was another illuminating panel and workshop facilitated by Dalberg, Brave Ventures, BRCK and Mercy Corps representatives on bringing UX (user experience) to new startups. The day was concluded with the Developer-Startup Speed Networking event. The hackathon continued overnight and on to the third day.
The third day began with a panel and workshop on Cyber Security. Representatives from KPMG, Ernst & Young, Euclid Consultancy as well as the Government discussed various issues on security facing the society such as lack of proper awareness, social engineering, IoT security and ransomware. They also advised the attendees on some practical things they can do to protect themselves and their organizations. The afternoon session was yet another educative workshop and panel discussion on The Do’s and The Don’ts of Product Management. There was also a TechTalk event which entailed the Previous, Present and Future of Technology.
By the time it was Day 4, the attendees were very informed and knowledgeable. Little did they know how promising the final day would be. It started off with a CTO panel discussion on scaling products into new markets, from both the operational and technological perspectives. The panel consisted Chief Technology Officers from JUMO, Safaricom, Cellulant and Facebook. They enlightened the participants how companies build products for scale, considerations they make as well as their challenges and experiences on the matter.
The next panel consisted of representatives of Eneza, BRCK, M-Shule and @iLabAfrica who discussed how developers can build tech products that uniquely serve the education sector. Liquid Telecom, Chimera, @iLabAfrica and MKOPA were also involved in another panel discussion concerning the Internet of Things (IoT) and its numerous applications. The final panel discussions before lunch break was the applications of Data Science in Fintech (with speakers from Eclectics, Juntos, IBM, Neveru, Busara and Intellipro) and how Technology is revolutionizing and disrupting traditional industries, with great emphasis on logistics; by TechMoran, Lori, Sendi, Vitumob and SokoWatch.
The afternoon sessions included a discussion by speakers from Techweez, Bithub Africa, Kimwatu and Crypto Assets on bitcoin and the implications of Blockchain technology in Africa. A panel with speakers from Intel, Microsoft, ProLabs and M-Changa engaged with the attendees on Artificial Intelligence and how it has taken the world by storm, with greater focus on Africa.
NMG, Twiga Foods, Gro Intelligence, WeFarm and FarmDrive on their panel discussion talked about agriculture and what technology can do to enhance agriculture. An E-commerce panel of representatives from Jumia, Mookh, Jumia Market and BuyRentKenya shared their experiences, strategies and challenges of e-commerce demands and supply chain and logistics.
Net Neutrality in Kenya was also a topic of discussion in another session. The final panel discussion of the day was on the role of corporates in supporting developers and SMEs by Moringa School, JUMO, Liquid Telecom and Facebook.
The 4-day event was concluded with a closing keynote from the various companies as well as announcing the winners of the AngelHack Hackathon. This years winners of NairobiTech week was PesaPocket. @iBizAfrica will offer 3 months free Incubation services to the top 3 winners of the Nairobi Tech Week
Strathmore University through @iBizAfrica has partnered with Wadhwani Foundation to build a vibrant startup ecosystem in Strathmore University. Wadhwani Foundation is the brain child of Romesh Wadhwani, American billionaire of Indian decent who made his wealth through an empire of data, technology, healthcare and analytics companies.
Through this partnership, @iBizAfrica will run the most upto date curriculum and practicum that merges theory with practice. The curriculum has been developed to enable any student in campus regardless of the course of study move from self-discovery and ideation to launching and growing a startup in campus. Students taking part in the program will also join groups and form an e-cell, a student-lead club focusing on the practical aspects of entrepreneurship.
The program is free for all Strathmore students to signup and start on a path to becoming an entrepreneur in Strathmore University. The program is expected to enhance Strathmore University’s student experience and at the same time become a launch pad for student-lead companies in the University.
The program will run every Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at @iLabAfrica (Kifaru Room). Interested students can find out more on how to benefit from this initiative by contacting @iBizAfrica via mail on email@example.com or get in touch with Esther on firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about Rornesh Wadhwani and Wadhwani Foundation here