Lean Startup Week Livestream 2016 Hosted by @iBizAfrica

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This November, Lean Startup will bring together over 2,000 diverse thinkers and Lean Startup practitioners from all over the world to share ideas and projects that are shaping the future of business. This unparalleled conference unites intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs from government agencies, international conglomerates, boot-strapped startups, and civic organizations in their mission to create radical change in their industries.

@iBizAfrica  was named an official simulcast partner for (CITY) and will stream the entire event at @iBizAfrica , Strathmore University on November 2nd- 3rd from 6pm-9pm  free of charge.

An immersive two day event, Lean Startup Conference 2016 will unite attendees through powerful yet practical programming world renowned speakers, collaborative workshops, interactive discussions, and a collective experience that all take place at the Pier 27 campus in San Francisco.

Whether you’re new to Lean Startup methods or have been putting these practices to use in your organization, this event promises to educate and inform.

More than 100 experts will share their first-hand experiences, including:

  • Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist , Canva.
  • Irene Au, Design Partner, Khosla Ventures.
  • Tren Griffin, Senior Director, Microsoft.
  • Stanley McChrystal, Managing Partner, McChrystal Group.
  • Sonja Kresojevic, SVP, Global Product Lifecycle, Pearson.
  • Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup.

There will also be talks, panel sessions and mentorship sessions by local lean startup experts.

 To participate in the Livestream, kindly register here.

The Strathmore University Students MADD Event with Barclays Kenya

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Barclays Make A Difference Day (MADD) is a citizenship initiative of Barclays geared towards promoting shared growth, with a keen focus on empowering the youth through the ReadyToWork program. The annual event was graced with the presence of 21 employees of Barclays Kenya, including the Marketing Director, Caroline Ndungu and Head of Citizenship, Regina Mwangi, as well as the Guest Speaker, Dr. Wale Akinyemi.

madd2After a wonderful welcome note from the Head of Citizenship, Regina Mwangi and @iLabAfrica Deputy Director, Dr. Emmanuel Kweyu, the audience was addressed by the Marketing Director, Caroline Ndungu who challenged the students to take control of their destiny and seize the moment to change their lives through the opportunities that come their way. She showed them how Barclays is committed to bringing a meaningful impact to communities, and the importance of students getting ReadyToWork, a program that provides young people with knowledge and skills they need in order to find employment or secure self-employment.


Next up was Dr. Wale, a well known inspirational speaker and business consultant, who captivated his audience with his abundant wisdom, genuine personality and great sense of humor. He emphasised the students to work on building their capacity, protecting their personal brand, leaving a legacy and integrity among others. His generosity was also seen when he reduced the price of the books he’s authored by half.

The second part of the event was the Breakout Sessions in which the audience was divided into various groups, each group having discussions on the four pillars of the ReadyToWork program: Work Skills, Money Skills, Entrepreneurial Skills and People Skills.


Not only did the students get to learn and understand these four core skills and how the program might suit their career, but also get to interact, engage and network with the Barclays employees. Through this program young people are empowered with the training and development they need to enhance their employment and self-employment prospects.

@iLabAfrica partnered with Barclays Bank of Kenya to offer the ReadyToWork program which is aimed at equipping the youth with employability skills. The partnership was established in July of 2016. The Digital Learning team of @iLabAfrica will facilitate both online and in-class training of the program, with the aim of reaching all Strathmore University undergraduate students. Enrolled students are expected to complete the curriculum in a period of one week, and during that period students will get the opportunity to gain knowledge on the four pillars of the programme.

Students can access the ReadyToWork program here.


One on One with Sharon Nthoki, Operations Manager, @iLabAfrica

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ISTG Africa had an interview with Sharon Mutisya, Operations Manager @iLabAfrica, Research Centre based in Strathmore University. Here are the interview details.


My career started out as a research assistant and administrator of @iLabAfrica in 2011. I am holder of BSc degree in Business Information Technology and currently pursuing an MSc in Mobile Telecommunications and Innovation. I am a talented graphic designer and co-founder of Infused Ltd a design and software application development company. I am a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Internet Society (ISOC), volunteer mentor with Akili dada and member of Akirachix. Outside of the tech space, I enjoy working my way through recipes I come across on Pinterest and indulging my love for seeing new places.

Q:  Please tell us about yourself, educational background and the path that led you to @iLabAfrica. What challenges did you face and overcome? 

Mutisya: I am currently the operations manager at @iLabAfrica, a research center based at Strathmore University. My primary role is handling policy formulation, which entails developing proposals that are effective and acceptable courses of action for addressing issues that arise in the work environment.  I also play an advisory to the Research Centre director on proper resource control.

I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information & Technology in 2011. After a failed attempt at setting up a Web Design & Development Company with a few classmates, a friend recommended that I look for an opportunity to gain some technical experience at my alma mater. Dr. Joseph Sevilla, the founder and current director of @iLabAfrica, became my mentor during this time, giving me solid advice on how to maneuver the Information Tech industry. Our conversations soon led to an interview and eventually my first research assistant position. This position gave the opportunity to work with Dr. Sevilla to build the tech hub at Strathmore, which has since become the leading research hub in the STEM industry in the East African region.

I started off initially as a research assistant & administrator and with time moved on to take up the role of Executive Assistant to the Director and eventually to being the Operations Manager. Each new role has been accompanied by its own set of challenges, but over time I have learned to gracefully accept them and love what I do, even as I juggle work with school (currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Mobile Telecommunication & Innovation).

Through my tenure @iLabAfrica, I have faced a number of challenges. Overcoming the opinion of others -those who underestimate your abilities- is something that I have dealt with from time to time and has been one of my greatest lessons. Through personal experience, I have learned to appreciate the fact that everyone is entitled to their opinion and I now find I am better suited to recognize and act upon useful criticism while ignoring the rest.

Gender stereotypes, outdated notions of tradition and ageism remain prevalent in modern work culture. Focusing on being a professional aids in overcoming this challenge as others begin to perceive you as an individual and not your gender or age. Undertaking large projects and seeking higher academic qualifications have gone a long way in proving my worth and highlight my leadership skills despite my gender and age.

Q:   Tell us about the @iLabAfrica Research Center. 

Mutisya: @iLabAfrica is tech research center established in January 2011 under the Faculty of Information Technology at Strathmore University. The center spearheads 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.

Our main focus areas are:

  1.  ICT Research and Innovation: this theme identifies technological innovations and solutions that can be developed in addressing issues such as health, education, agriculture, IT security and capacity building.
  2.  Incubation and Entrepreneurship: theme seeks to provide a nurturing environment that builds on the potential of the youth to develop viable ICT solutions and businesses that work for the common good in society and reach the base of the pyramid.
  3.  ICT Policy Research: Focuses research on the uptake and impact of ICT bringing forth new solutions, technologies, training methodologies, innovation models that may require new policy direction to achieve their full potential.
  4.  IT Outsourcing: This centers on offering business and technology consulting, business application development.

The research center is involved in interdisciplinary research, students’ engagement and collaborates with Government, Industry and other funding agencies, both local and international.

Q:   Please elaborate on @iLabAfrica’s Bootcamps.

Mutisya: Bootcamp Training, Holiday Bootcamp, Bootcamp sites, Hackathons & Mobile Bootcamp Developer Challenges. Why is coding so important? The @iLabAfrica’s boot camps are short and intensive courses on software development offered to students in primary, secondary and tertiary education and to young professionals as well.

 The boot camps aim to:

  1. Provide a platform for student developers to learn some of the latest programming technologies and use them to create applications that are relevant for Kenya and Africa at large.
  2.  Foster a creative and enterprising spirit among students and young professionals in the mobile application development field in Kenya and Africa.
  3. Create an interactive atmosphere and platform where experienced developers can share knowledge with the keen participants.
  4. Increase the tech-preneurial spirit among the developers by exposing them to other tech-preneurs who operate startups in the programming sector.
  5.  Become a vehicle through which developers can organize such workshops in the future as their own. This will ensure that the workshops are self-sustaining and can go viral thus spinning off into larger communities of developers.

The boot camps foster development of programing skills because they teach individuals how to think logically in order to solve problems. Coding, as we believe, is about humanity as it affects everything in our lives today (in whatever industry one ventures in – agriculture, politics, manufacturing entertainment). It is an incredible skill to learn whether one wants to make money or change the world. I personally think it’s the closest thing we have to superpowers due to its infinite application potential.

Q:   Nairobi in particular is positioning itself as one of the major tech hubs in Africa, how can other African cities emulate and follow this example? 

Mutisya: To follow in Nairobi’s stride, other African cities need to prioritize development of infrastructure to cater to the immense rate with which technology is changing our habits and routines. If strategically positioned, this would attract multinational companies to their region and foster talent growth.

A good example would be positioning research hubs that are open and accessible to the entire student body, regardless of discipline, within every university. This promotes the desire for communities to build skills and expertise in the tech space. Availability of research environments leads to an entrepreneurial culture where individuals are able to build products and services that lead not only to job creation, but also to the rise of solutions that solve regional challenges.

Government support ultimately plays the greatest role in transforming a country into a major tech destination. Proper policies and strong support structures based in government are a focal point for any technological development. The “Youth Fund” and “Uwezo Fund” programs by the Government of Kenya are great examples of such support structures. These types of programs encourage building of local capacity that takes advantage of new technologies to build solutions that affect the lives of people for the better.

Q:  In your opinion, what groups in Kenya are the most underrepresented in STEM? Secondly, what key steps should we undertake to promote scientific literacy and STEM amongst these specific science and technology-underrepresented groups? 

Mutisya: Ladies are very much underrepresented, especially those in primary and secondary levels of education. Initiatives to sensitise the young women on the importance and feasibility of STEM related careers are crucial to alter the gender stereotype around scientific literacy. Social initiatives such as AkiraChix and Akili Dada focus on addressing this issue by targeting school going children. Organizations haven’t been left behind in this, Safaricom and Oracle are very active in this sphere with their ‘women in technology’ initiative that celebrates and honors female professionals who have excelled as mentors, exemplified unique vision, shown outstanding leadership, success and contribution towards the STEM industry. These initiatives are remarkable as they motivate and form the lives of young girls that needed encouragement to take on STEM despite it being intimidating in the beginning.

Q:  In your estimation, what is the importance of STEM education, innovation, technology, entrepreneurship and investment as well as infrastructures and the rule of law in the socio-economic development of Kenya? 

Mutisya: I agree fully with Plato when he said that necessity is the mother of invention. A need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need or solve the problem. Innovation, advancement in technology, entrepreneurship and investment all come about because of a need that one seeks to fulfill. Promoting STEM in Kenya will allow for the country to succeed in our information-based and highly technological society. STEM occupation opportunities are on the rise and made available for every unemployed person.

Investments in STEM would greatly help in bridging the unemployment gap, assuming acceptability by the locals. Such investments would create both economic and societal value, making it easy to measure returns. Businesses that make STEM related investments would not only see new pipelines of talent to fill critical jobs, but could also help societal knowledge by sponsoring new research and equipment means. If STEM is emphasized in the Kenyan educational system, innovative solutions to the challenges faced in this region can be easily mapped to other African cities.

Technology continues to transform job roles in an increasing number of industries. The National Science Foundation has said that more jobs in the near future that aren’t normally considered to be related to STEM will require new science and engineering skills. These fields can include anything from aerial robotics to 3D printing. This only further shows not only the importance but the long-term effects that experience in these fields will have, further proving the importance of early and detailed knowledge.

The significance of the field remains hugely vital to the coming future. STEM knowledge not only gives workers and students valuable experience and information, but the disciplines can provide our society with a deeper understanding of the world at large, creating new ways to innovate and discover solutions to worldwide problems.

Q:  Finally, please share a few words of wisdom and advice for students and entrepreneurs, young and old, who aspire to study and enter the field of STEM or related STEM disciplines such as business and economics. 

Mutisya: STEM careers are truly helping professions that build communities and transform nations. These professionals are in charge of solving the complex problems of today’s world and its future. They are working to find solutions for global warming, cancer, third world hunger, disappearing habitats, and an interdependent world economy. Yesterday’s stereotype of the ‘geek’ only being cooped up in a lab is not representative of today’s STEM teams. Economists are collaborating with researchers on diverse topics such as technical transfer while engineers are now building state-of-the-art, cutting edge technologies and equipment for businesses. While STEM careers are challenging, they are also extremely enjoyable – trust me, I would know!

@iLabAfrica- Strathmore University Students Emerge Top in the Google Online Marketing Challenge Second Time in a Row

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GOMCGoogle offers a professional accreditation to individuals who demonstrate proficiency in basic and advanced aspects of AdWords, the Google AdWords Certification. The Strathmore Digital Advertising Academy has partnered with @iLabAfrica and Google to offer tailor-made digital advertising training and certification using Google’s digital advertising technology and tools. Learners are trained on how to use cutting-edge technologies for digital advertising and online marketing like Google AdWords, Google Ana­lyt­ics, Google AdWords API and others.

Google runs a global competition yearly that offers opportunities to students to experience and create online marketing campaigns using their technology. This year, a team of students represented Strathmore University and @iLabAfrica on the challenge and secured the top position in Middle East & Africa Business Category. This is a tremendous achievement given the size of the competition.


The team worked together to deliver results within the key deadlines. Prior to participation in the Google Online Marketing Challenge, some of the team members enrolled in the @iLabAfrica Digital Advertising Certification Program. The trainings were very effective as the students not only got a lot of insights in conducting a real campaign but also created lifelong contacts of various experienced professionals in the online marketing industry. The challenge created team zeal and strengthened their bond which was very essential throughout the competition period.

The group encountered a number of challenges during the competition. The biggest challenge was the busy academic schedules of the team members but with efficient planning and communication the team was able to overcome this. The team was properly organized, tasks were clearly assigned to each team member and participation by every member was key. The team was able to work with a real-life client which enabled them understand client dynamics in the industry. The Google Online Marketing Challenge was a success and a future opportunity to be considered by all.


From L- R(Innocent, Tess, Tabitha, Maureen, Gloria and Lorna)

Team Members

Innocent Dekok (Team Captain)

“The Google Online Marketing Challenge has opened up my career path in online marketing and was a learning opportunity for me. I will consider participating in future competitions again.”

Maureen Wanjiru

“I enjoyed working together with the team throughout the competition. I got an opportunity to work with a real client who needed digital marketing solutions for their business.”

Lorna Kipkoskei

“The competition was tough but we managed to endure as a team. I have learned a lot especially working with team to deliver key results. This competition has sparked my interest in digital advertising and I see myself working on more future similar projects.”

Gloria Kaburu

“I enjoyed every moment throughout the competition, working with team members and coordinating tasks. I enjoy online marketing and definitely see myself pursuing a career in this field.”

Tess Munuve

“Through creative thinking and execution, our team was able to secure a top position. I am overwhelmed by how far our team has gone. This is a field I would love to work in.”


Ms. Tabitha Mberi-Certified Digital Advertising Trainer by Google.

It was fun working with the students and I am proud of them. The challenge gave them an opportunity to work with a real client and learn how to carry out digital campaigns. I can’t wait to work with them and other students in the next challenge that comes up in 2017.

The Data Analytics Training Workshop

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@iLabAfrica Research Centre and DataScience Ltd conducted a Data Analytics training on 11th to 12th August, 2016 at Strathmore University. The training attracted interest from a myriad of domains within both business and public sectors and in total featured 31 participants.

Participants were taken through 8 areas in total covered in 5 sessions within the 2 days.  The areas included:

  1. Introduction to the concept of data and the legal framework around data use and sharing complete with case studies of data use in business and public policy to provide insight that inform decisions for better planning
  2. Best practices in data research, various data sources and how to manage data for better analytics
  3. Data Exploration explaining the transition from MS Excel To R
  4. Introduction to Data Visualization and Information Design
  5. Data Visualization using Microsoft’s Power BI
  6. Data Visualization using Datascience’s ChartsData Visualization using Qlik, a modern Data Analytical Tool

The last session was a talk by Mr. Guruprem and Ms. Ivy from Virtual Works Africa who gave a presentation on data analytics use cases in various sectors both in Kenya and globally using Qlik Data Analytics Tools.

The closing and certificate award ceremony was officiated by Dr. Joseph  Sevilla, the Director of @iLabAfrica Research Centre.

For more details about the Data Analytics Training and the next training dates, please click here.

Register to Attend Oracle Developers Day & Hackathon

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Are you a software or application developer, join us for this hands-on experience to manage your Cloud way with Oracle Cloud.

Join the Hackathon challenge to develop an application using any of the Oracle Cloud offerings — Java, Database, Developer & Mobile Cloud services and get the chance to be a co-founder of a start-up company fully supported and funded by multinational organizations.

Oracle will cover:

  • Database as a Service key principles
  • Using the Oracle Database Cloud Service
  • Migrating databases to the cloud and back
  • Cloud databases from the DBA and developer perspectives
  • Java & Cloud Services

The Hackathon: During the experience, develop an application using any of the Oracle Cloud offerings – Java, Database, Developer & Mobile Cloud services and get the chance of grabbing exciting prizes.

KCB will incubate the winning Application idea from prototype to market launch and use their market reach and expertise to drive it to success.

Event Details

  • Dates: Oct 4 – 7, 2016
  • Time: 8:30 AM – 5:00 Pm
  • Venue: KCB Leadership Center, Karen

Don’t miss this once in a life time experience and book your place now!


 Participants should bring their own laptops to connect to the workshop environment. Laptops must be able to access the internet via Oracle Wi-Fi and be configurable for SSL/VPN (instructions and a test will be provided).