@ilabAfrica was this week pleased to host Professor Tierra Bills an Assistant Professor and Michigan Society Fellow in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Bills was visiting to give a lecture on, An Electronic Travel Data Collection Tool for Nairobi Kenya with the ultimate goal of designing Smarter Transportation solutions for rapidly developing African cities.
Like many other African cities, Nairobi is now grappling with the challenges of rapid urbanization. Kenya’s population has increased by 55% over the last decade, and this combined with significant rural-to-urban migration in Kenya has resulted in critical stress on Nairobi’s limited transportation infrastructure.
To mitigate these transportation issues, Nairobi County Government had proposed a plan for (formalized) mass public transportation across the region. The challenge is the lack of adequate transportation data for investigating travel preferences of Nairobi travelers.
For Nairobi, there is currently no on-going data collection system or periodic program effort to investigate the activity-based travel behaviors of Nairobi residents. This can significantly constrain the ability Nairobi transportation planners to investigate (via scenario analysis and forecasting) transportation solutions that will address Nairobi’s multimodal transportation needs.
To gather enough data Dr. Bills is working with a team of Kenyan students (software development and computer science) to design, prototype, and test an electronic and multi-source travel data collection tool.
The preliminary data collected with this tool will be used to refine the data collection tool for future region-wide travel studies in Nairobi, Kenya. Further, this tool would be a significant contribution to researchers and planners interested in implementing data-driven transportation policies and traffic solutions in African as well as other developing cities. Given that such a transportation data collection tool has not been developed for Kenya before, there are many interesting research questions involved with this project.
This project will require students focusing on the following areas: • SMS frontend application • Android front end application among others.
The data collected from such initiatives would be used to estimate (the first) activity based travel demand model for the Nairobi region. In addition to generating a dataset for these modeling purposes, a parallel objective would be to distill a general framework for delivering reliable travel survey data using a hybrid of electronic data collection sources. This hybrid approach could then be replicated for other African and developing cities.
Professor Tierra Bills Bio is working on the project in collaboration for Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica – Strathmore University.
Dr. Tierra Bills. Dr. Bills is an Assistant Professor and Michigan Society Fellow in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. She has recently joined the department (in Fall 2016) after spending 3 years as a Research Scientist at IBM Research Africa. While in Kenya, Dr. Bills also lectured at Strathmore University’s iLabAfrica and taught MTI 8203 Research Methodology for Application Development. Much of Dr. Bills’ research focuses on investigating the social impacts of transportation projects.
For more information write to john on firstname.lastname@example.org
Nairobi Tech Week is Back!
iBizAfrica together with Moringa School is excited to host the 3rd Edition of Nairobi Tech Week, Sub Saharan Africa’s largest tech event, whose aim is to bring all actors and influencers in the tech ecosystem in one space, fostering conversations and learning around various relevant technology-related topics.
The event will be taking place from Thursday 19th April to Saturday 21st April 2018 at iBizAfrica, Strathmore University. This year’s theme will be “The Role of Technology in Problem Solving for Africa’s Future.”
Nairobi Tech Week presents a 3-day event packed with panel discussions, workshops and a hackathon with incredible prizes to be won.
“Our aim is to launch a community-driven tech event focused on developers, thought leaders within the tech space as well as the best innovations in Sub Saharan Africa” says Sandra Mukidza, NTW’s main event organiser.
For the first time, Nairobi Tech Week will host Nairobi Tech week Awards, in a bid to recognise companies playing influential roles and driving impact within Silicon Savannah.
The title sponsor this year is Microsoft , other sponsors include Visa, Facebook, Safaricom JUMO, Github, Liquid Telecom, Google and iBiz Africa-Strathmore University.
Several key organisations have come forward to partner with Nairobi Tech Week; iHub, Africa’s Talking, Swahili Box, AngelHack, M-Power, CBO and Metta. In previous years Nairobi Tech Week has had global title sponsors like Facebook and Twitter
Applications for Nairobi Tech Week opened on March 19th 2018 as well as nominations for the Tech Week Awards.
For more information contact Bernard on email@example.com
@iLabAfrica Research Centre, Strathmore University has partnered with Pangea an international startup support platform to pilot a US$ 50,000 accelerator program in Kenya.
The two organizations shortlisted 40 startups from a list of 400 applicants. The group of 40 startups are currently on a 3 month program being coached and trained by international and local investors and experts.
Through this partnership the startups are being assisted to get access to capital and networks that will enable them grow and scale up in their area of operations.
The 40 startups fall under different categories e.g. Fintech, fashion, agriculture etc. Each startup companies gets an opportunity to meet industry experts in their fields who share their experiences and expertise. The startups also connect with mentors who offer guidance on how to make it in the industry and help open doors for the young entrepreneurs.
“It is an amazing program for startups especially because they get to benefit from the training, coaching and mentoring sessions offered. It will help create an enabling environment, where entrepreneurs can develop competence, access relevant network, and capital in order to reach their full potential. We are really happy to be partners on this program and we look forward to working on more projects with Pangea to help startups in Kenya” Bernard Chira, @iBizAfrica Manager said.
Ahmed from Pangea also mentioned “We are really glad to have got a competent and resourceful partner such as @iBizAfrica. The learning environment is amazing and the incubation space which is available for startups under the program is really helpful. The coaches and mentors that have been offered by @iBizAfrica to help in the program have also played a major role in running it. We are glad that we got to work with @iBizAfrica and we look forward to future partnerships.”
Startups that have joined the Pangea accelerator program have the opportunity to benefit even more from the funding as Pangea is looking to launch its crowd investment platform in June 2018.
Two participants who graduated from the Autism tech programme in November last year have been given an internship opportunity at Safaricom.
The participants who graduated from the Autism tech training which runs for 4 months and trains students on IT and other computer/web packages will be joining the Safaricom team in April.
The participants Arnold Kanywuiro and Eric Thongori, were picked by Safaricom kenya which has a diversity and inclusion program which aims to employ people with disabilities. Their program mainly included people with physical disabilities but is now expanding to employ and offer internships even to those with learning disabilities such as Autism.
“When Safaricom heard about the @iLabAfrica Autism Tech Training program, Safaricom was interested in hiring participants for a 3-month internship program that will see them showcase their skills in the IT department dealing with Software testing among other roles.” Said Irene Gitangu the program manager of Autism Tech @iLabAfrica.
When asked about his view on the internship at Safaricom Arnold Kanywuiro had this to say. “It would be an honor for me to work with Safaricom because it was a dream for me to experience and to learn the activities the company has to offer. Safaricom is not only known in Kenya but also it is known globally and it is the best company in Africa. The technology they are using M-pesa one can be able to do money transaction. A Person can also save in his/her M-pesa account. The company was previously ran by Michael Joseph and now it is at the able hands of Bob Collymore. Safaricom is the company with many opportunities that one cannot afford to miss them but to be excited to learn them and become better. Safaricom is my dream company and it is the company that can build a great future for all Kenyans.”
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 Research Centre in Strathmore University, was selected by the Project pioneer to partner in the execution of the pilot project. This project has seen the participants grow in the Field of IT and has helped them build their confidence in the delivery of their projects and overall as students
The project sought to create an environment whereby 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.
Reports show that Autism affects an estimated 70 million people and is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the world, with a startling growth rate of around 57% since 2002. About 80% of affected people live in developing countries where knowledge and resources are scarce, with very few opportunities even for diagnosis, much less for management and treatment.
Research suggests that employers are missing out on abilities that people on the autism spectrum have in greater abundance than neuro-typical workers do such as, heightened abilities in pattern recognition and logical reasoning, as well as a greater attention to detail. In all the other continents, except Africa, people with Autism have been gainfully employed especially in IT.
The project has a long-term goal of creating a social enterprise that would provide sustainable employment to qualified individuals on the Autism Spectrum as well as those with other learning disabilities.
For more information on the program contact Irene on firstname.lastname@example.org
The World Bank AgriTech Challenge, powered by Nest, is the region’s first open innovation programme focused on agribusiness. We’re calling everyone from trailblazing startups and industry veterans to visionary teams from universities to apply*. This is your opportunity to build an actionable solution that could transform agriculture in Kenya!
Facilitated by the World Bank and Nest, selected teams will work closely with one of the region’s leading agribusiness companies to conceptualize, co-develop and prototype a product to alleviate acute challenges in the Kenyan agribusiness value chain.
* Note: The programme is open only to Kenya-based teams
What World Bank is trying to solve
As one of the largest contributors to Kenya’s economy, there is tremendous opportunity to drive value creation and impact through innovation in agribusiness. The World Bank AgriTech Challenge aims to collaboratively prototype solutions that drive productivity, accountability and operational insight in the agribusiness value chain. Here are some of the pressing challenges we’d like to work together to solve:
- How can we digitize the way in which produce is tracked from farm to shelf?To a large extent, tracking of produce and shipment is done manually and on paper-based systems. Through this programme, we hope to leverage platforms that can digitize the tracking process across the value chain, centralize data & record keeping, and mitigate the risk of errors & tampering.
- How can we facilitate seamless communication between farmers and field technicians? Farmers (outgrowers) and the staff of large agribusiness companies communicate on an ad-hoc basis over phone calls and/or through SMS. Is there a way to streamline and structure the communication using tech based solutions to better manage the value chain and resolve operational issues?
- How can we digitally monitor farm productivity and wastage, and drive insights to enhance yield? Currently, the analysis of farm productivity relies on manually synthesizing fragmented information which slows down the process of making sourcing and packaging decisions. Can we develop a “real-time” solution that allows for efficient analytics of farm performance?
- How can we digitize the monitoring of product quality, packaging and shipment across the value chain?Demand from export markets is susceptible to short term fluctuation. Is there a way to deploy an efficient solution that can track age, quality and storage of produce to allow large agribusiness exporters to intelligently manage shipments and reduce waste.
About the Programme
The World Bank AgriTech Challenge is the first open innovation programme that bridges Kenyan techpreneurs with a vertically integrated agribusiness value chain. The 2-month long co-creation activity will include integration-focused workshops, one-on-one interactions with industry veterans, and structured product development. Each team will aim to develop a prototype or customize a solution in partnership with experienced operational professionals. These will be then presented to senior executives and investors at a Demo Day for potential commercial adoption and scale.
We’re looking for multidisciplinary teams that are passionate about AgriTech. You could be a startup, a promising SME, a team of agribusiness / logistics / supply chain technologists, or even a bunch of college students with a compelling idea and the ability to execute.
- Accelerated product development:A chance to work with a leading, established industry player to build, test and potentially scale your solution
- Resources: Access to the insights, internal infrastructure and operational excellence developed by the World Bank and one of the region’s most successful agribusiness corporates
- Mentorship: One-on-one guidance from agribusiness veterans, integration consultants and startup capacity building experts
- Intros to senior executives and investors: A platform to present a your solution to senior industry executives and quality investors
Have another idea? Suggest a challenge that needs solving in your application.
Applications close July 25, 2017. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so the sooner you submit the better!
The purpose of the SingularityU East Africa Global Impact Challenge is to foster moonshot innovations and startups that positively impact the lives of people living in East Africa, with an ability to scale and impact a billion people worldwide in 10 years.
The Prize of the Challenge is free attendance to the transformational Global Solutions Program at no cost.
This year, the GSP has two big changes:
(1) climate change is the overarching theme, and
(2) we have a new collaboration with XPRIZE.
We selected the climate change theme because it has consequences for every industry, geographic region, and way of life. Even if you don’t consider yourself a climate change authority or innovator, your skill set can probably help mitigate the effects of climate change. If you’re already passionate about impact or working in the impact space, you can create a moonshot innovation to address this urgent global problem.
We will not require participants to innovate in the climate change space, and welcome people from all disciplines to apply, but this theme will inform the GSP curriculum. We are looking for applicants from ANY technology or science discipline because we know a challenge as huge as climate change can only be solved within the convergence of multiple disciplines and exponential technologies.
Our collaboration with XPRIZE will give you an extraordinary opportunity to tap into the wisdom and expertise of the best minds working in this field today and their established network of funders.
Application & Assessment
- The challenge is open to residents and citizens in East Africa Countries
- You must be age 21 or older on the first day of the GSP
- Must be fluent in written and spoken English
- Able to participate for the entire GSP17 program
- Applicants selected as finalists will be interviewed by a panel of judges on 24th March 2017
- Degree of solution’s relevance to the theme of the challenge
- The regional relevance in solving the challenge in East Africa
- Feasibility, Viability and Coherence of implementing the idea
- Entrepreneurial and innovative potential, with a focus on technological novelty
- Applicant’s leadership experience and quality, profile, achievements, and potential
Save the Dates
- Applications Open- 13th February 2017
- Applications Close – 13th March 2017
- Pitch Day Event – 23rd March 2017
- Summary of accomplishments
- An abstract of the project idea
- A video URL of the project idea
- The idea should leverage exponential technology.
WINNERS: Team Convifarm with Dr. Victor Kyalo (PS, Ministry of Information and Communications)
Six fervent teams of university students across the country, took part in an exciting 1 year incubation programme courtesy of a strong collaboration between Strathmore University and University of Waterloo. The six who were shortlisted from a group of 45 teams comprised of; Mkulima, Kilimo Watch, Convifarm, Greenup_africa, eVet, and Agribora. Greenup_africa won 2nd place while Convifarm bagged the winning price.
The challenge aimed at producing solutions that would address agricultural issues in Sub-Saharan Africa using mobile and social networking technologies. Mobile technologies are transforming sub-Saharan Africa through providing individuals in the region with previously unimaginable access to information and, as a result, significantly impacting the economies of the region. This has opened opportunities to develop and improve social and economic systems in ways that can truly impact the ‘bottom-of-the-pyramid’ in Africa. Agriculture was chosen due to the mainstay of at least 80% of the Kenyan population and therefore has a direct impact on the bottom of the pyramid masses.
“The University of Waterloo is rich on entrepreneurship, it is the one reason we were happy to join hands with them. While we chose agriculture because it is one of the businesses that provides a large revenue to the country,” Dr. Sevilla, Director at @ILabAfrica Research Centre and @IBiz Incubation Centre, explained while giving his welcoming remarks.
The business incubation was facilitated by the use of a Virtual Technology Platform – a CONRAD University of Waterloo initiative and the first of its kind to be used in Africa. The platform aims at enhancing opportunities for entrepreneurs with novel ideas to benefit from training and funding that will launch sustainable enterprises. The program also aligns to the running policy of the Jubilee government on entrepreneurs’ empowerment. This programme was also officially launched during the awarding ceremony.
Dr. Victor Kyalo – representing CS Ministry of Information and Communications, while giving the key note address lauded the students for engaging in a virtual incubation initiative that is different. He also stressed out the fact that there are numerous opportunities for information capital to be exploited in the country and such a step is commendable.
The winning team Convifarm, comprised of two students – Norman Muga from Strathmore University pursuing a course in Bachelor of Business Information Technology (BBIT) and Mburu Njunge from Kenyatta University pursuing a Bachelor of Science (BSCs) in dry land agriculture and enterprise development. Convifarm was created to bring convenience to farmers through mobile agriculture in accessing information and services across diverse enterprises along the agricultural value chain.
The team wins a fully paid trip to Waterloo, Ontario Canada where they get an opportunity of observing the Waterloo eco-system of venture creation, and to meet individuals and groups that can further assist in developing their idea.
The second team Greenup_africa comprised of three students – Peter Okwara from University of Nairobi (UoN), Samuel Kamau from Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology (JKUAT) and Hiral Shah from USIU. Greenup_africa connects farmers to farmers and eventually farmers to buyers. It helps farmers reduce the production process by cutting the middlemen and brokers. The team hopes to scale this application to the counties, helping the grassroots farmers to have control on whatever they produce by stabilizing the market and stabilizing the prices.
2nd Place: Team Greenup_Africa with Dr. Sevilla(Director @iLabAfrica) and Mr. Gathogo(SEDC Lectrurer)
The team win the option of participating in the Enterprise Development Program offered by the Strathmore Enterprise Development Centre (SEDC) worth Kshs 480,000. Team members will have the chance of meeting seasoned entrepreneurs and trainers enabling the team to practically implement their business model and grow their enterprise. The team was also given the opportunity to engage the county government administration through Ms Anna Othoro who represented the office, on potential funding options for their application.
We thank all the teams for taking part in this competition and all stakeholders for the support that they offered.