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Women in Tech 2nd Cohort Launched

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Standard Chartered in partnership with @iLabAfrica this week launched the start off a search for a second cohort of women-led technology startups which will see five entrepreneurs win Sh1 million each.

The Standard Chartered Women in Technology Incubator Kenya is Africa’s leading women in tech incubator, aligning with calls for more diversity in technology and for more opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial and leadership excellence.

Through the Women in Tech Incubator, 10 businesses will benefit from mentorship and seed funding.

The program combines world class startup support with local and international experience to provide Africa’s most competitive and attractive startup incubation program focusing on immersive learning, mentorship, building and growing Africa’s next iconic startups taking on the continent’s most relevant challenges and opportunities.

Shortlisted start-ups will be selected to go through a 12-week incubation period after which five will win Sh1 million.

“The Women In Tech Incubator programme will help identify, grow and bring to the market unique business ideas and change the fortunes of women entrepreneurs and business owners in Kenya,” said Public Services, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia while speaking during the launch on Monday.

Last year, the five businesses which received seed funding were solar cooler company Maziwa Plus, e-commerce platform Heri Online, insurance information app Bismart, career solutions hub Zydii and Africa Solutions.

Some of the winners have gone on to attract funding from local and international investors to scale up their businesses.

How to APPLY

Who are we looking for?
We are seeking to recruit the best entrepreneurial minds, women-lead startup teams leveraging on technology as a key driver of innovation in business. The applicant must:
  1. be a woman
  2. be the CEO with equal or majority ownership in the company
  3. 18 and above
  4. of Kenyan nationality
What are the the program thematic areas?
Applicants may submit applications across but not limited to the following thematic areas:
  1. Agribusiness
  2. Education
  3. ICT
  4. E-Commerce
  5. E-Health
  6. Fintech
What do Participants Get?
  1. Three months incubation at Strathmore University’s leading businss and innovation incubator
  2. Mentorship from world class mentors
  3. Coaching by top business, technology and legal professionals
  4. Immersive, world-class entrepreneurship curriculum
  5. Networking and exposure to expand your business networks
What do Winners Get?
  1. USD 10,000 or KES 1,000,000 equity-free grant seed funding for the top 5 winners
  2. 9 months ongoing support from Standard Chartered and @iBizAfrica to assist with go-to market and scale.
Terms and Conditions
  1. Participants must be physically available to attend the program over the three months incubation
  2. Participant accommodation costs are not catered for

For more information Click here

To Apply click here

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@iLabAfrica Hosts the MIT Open Mic Africa Summit

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Hosted by Strathmore University, @ilabAfrica this year hosted the MIT Open Mic Africa Summit, is an annual summit that celebrates the goals championed by the Legatum center in MIT alongside the Mastercard Foundation.

The peak of the summit is the award of the Zambezi prize, an annual prize for two hundred thousand dollars in in cash prizes and a chance to attend an entrepreneurial boot camp hosted in MIT. The prize is awarded to an entrepreneurial venture that incorporates financial inclusion through both financial technology but also creates social change. Megan Mitchell, who appeared on behalf of the Legatum center emphasised that the end product of the venture had to be impactful on the society. Over 500 applications were received for the Zambezi prize and in narrowing down the applicants, certain criteria, as explained by Ashley Onyango, the program manager for the Mastercard Foundation had to be met. This included the combination of problem solving with economic growth in Africa, providing accessible, affordable financial inclusion to the unemployed and underemployed, and assisting in lifting people out of poverty. The boot camp, a part of the prize, is instrumental in shaping the leadership and entrepreneurial skills of the prize winner as well as enable them to create a network to better scale their venture.

This year’s event was marked with vison talks, short pitches and of course, the promotion of the ten finalists in the running for the Zambezi prize and its award, at the conclusion of the event.

The vision talks focused on entrepreneurs that discussed not only their successes, but also their losses and the lessons that stemmed from them. Rachel Balshan, the Deputy CEO of MFS Africa, detailed her experience in building the company and learning how to make decisions that better shaped the future of MFS Africa and led them more clearly to their goals.

In addition, up and coming entrepreneurs were given a chance to pitch their ideas for ninety seconds, enabling them to get a platform and potential connections to drive their entrepreneurial ventures.

The finalists of the prize included agricultural ventures that targeted smallholders and enabled them to access services such as investment capital, access to small loans and micro finance, real time agricultural education, access to household goods for women and the opportunity to infuse waste collection with a redeemable point system.

The winner of the prize was WALA, a venture set up to bring digital banking to underbanked consumers in Africa using a combination of cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence.

In all, the summit exemplified the overarching goals of the prize and spurred discussion about how to create innovative, financially inclusive technology that will spur the growth of smallholders in Africa.

Kids holiday boot camp – Developing the future

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Kids holiday boot camp – Developing the future

For the last two weeks @iLabAfrica has held a 2 week kids holiday boot camp for over 30 children from various schools around Kenya as they prepare to resume back to school.

The kids holiday bootcamp, in partnership with digikids, is a two week per school holiday training for children between the ages of 5 and 17 years old in Information Technology and related areas such as robotics and electronics, web design, and web security. The training is hosted by iLAB and based in Strathmore University.

With a rapid rise in the use of and development of technology, there is a corresponding need to gain an understanding in IT from a young age. Started in 2014, the programme sought to address this need and build basic skills and besides this, takes into consideration other factors such as the existing curriculum of the students in which they need more practice, skills or training as well as the need in existing job markets for an understanding of IT. The programme also provides an excellent background for those who wish to study IT further in university and creates a curiosity in IT and provides young children with a creative outlet to learn and develop their interests.

The training divides the children into three age grades, 5-9, 10-12 and 13-17 and teaches them based on their existing skill and knowledge while maintaining the same overall content. The younger students learn by pre-programmed mechanisms while the older students are encouraged to develop and design their own code and have a larger overall project that demonstrates their progress in the programme.

This holiday boot camp enables the students enjoy an enabling environment and are provided with ample computer time to pursue interests outside the curriculum, under the supervision of their instructors. Shiro, a class four student in the programme mentioned that she particularly enjoys the facilities and making new friends as she has an interest in learning how to create a webpage and advertise products as well as enable her to produce better schoolwork.

 

For more information on the course kindly visit www.ilabafrica.ac.ke  or contact Sharon on Email: sanyanga@strathmore.edu  Phone number: 0729876680

@ilabAfrica and Atlancis Technologies sign partnership in Information Technology Research and Development

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Mr. Daniel Kinyua, CEO Atlancis and Dr. Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica Research Centre

@ilabafrica, Strathmore University and Atlancis Technologies  signed a strategic partnership focused on cutting-edge research into the next generation of information technology.

The partnership signed by @iLabAfrica Research Centre will allow Strathmore University and Atlancis to jointly explore and provide direction for academic researchers and technology experts in Kenya to collectively innovate and develop applications in research areas such as energy, banking, healthcare, education and transport among other sectors as well as champion development of local technology ecosystem.

The focus of this collaboration will be on the emerging technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain Technology, Cyber Security, Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud Services.

‘The next frontier of research is clearly going to be driven by technology, and universities must nurture relevant linkages with industry to make this happen. In this way, the research output coming from universities will resonate with the needs of industry’. says, Dr. Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica Research Centre.

‘Atlancis’ decision to collaborate with Strathmore University will keep the two partners as the country’s leaders in big data. This initiative is good news for Kenya’s technology base, universities and the economy’, reiterated Mr. Kinyua, CEO, Atlancis Technologies.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director of Strathmore’s @iLabAfrica Research Centre and Mr. Daniel Kinyua, Chief Executive of Atlancis Technologies.

Nairobi Tech Week

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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.

Apply for your ticket to this years Nairobi Tech Week 2018 here and also place your Tech Week Awards nomination here.

For more information contact Bernard on bchiira@strathmore.edu

Connecting Statups to Investors

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@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.

Autism Tech participants offered internship at Safaricom

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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 igitangu@strathmore.edu