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@iLabAfrica partners with VMware International Ltd to Enhance Digital Skills in Africa

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Today at the Innovating Education In Africa Expo 2019, held in Botswana VMware international Ltd announced the expansion of the VMware IT Academy: Virtualize Africa programme.

As part of its expansion, VMware announced a Memorandum of Understanding between VMware International Ltd and Strathmore University – @iLabAfrica Centre, Kenya.

The overarching goal is to empower the fast-growing, young African population to enter the digital workforce with confidence and expertise, helping to address the skills gap and
supporting innovation and entrepreneurship across the continent.
Through the VMware IT Academy: Virtualize Africa programme, we are collaborating with key stakeholders across academia, government and industry to equip African students with the technical skills and certifications required to succeed in the digital economy.
Strathmore University in Kenya has built an international reputation for its world-class
academic teaching, professional training, and research in technology. Working with VMware IT Academy: Virtualize Africa, the University has already begun integrating a range of VMware developed courses into its curricula that cover topics such as virtualisation, cloud computing, AI and IoT. This is facilitated through subsidised software licenses and certification vouchers from VMware.
@iLabAfrica, a Centre of Excellence in Research and Innovation in Information
Communication Technology at the University, is spearheading the rollout with 20 trainers and over 100 students at the University participating. The students will benefit from access to high-quality learning online resources, hands-on lab experiences to develop technical skills, and the opportunity to achieve industry-recognised VMware certification to complement their chosen fields of study.

“We are delighted to be part of VMware IT Academy: Virtualize Africa. It provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain technical skills and industry-recognised VMware certifications, helping to jumpstart their careers with the best knowledge and skills of international standards. Our shared goal with VMware is to become the VMware IT Academy regional lead for East Africa, training lecturers and students from Strathmore and other universities plus facilitating their participation in the programme. Increased access to this type of education and training for students is a critical part of Africa realising the potential of its youth and a prosperous Africa,” said Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University.
“Skills development is recognised as a key component for economic growth and prosperity.VMware IT Academy: Virtualize Africa helps educational institutions align curricula with the skills needed for the labour market, thereby building the right talent for Africa’s jobs of today and tomorrow. . Our discussions to form a strategic collaboration with Strathmore University is a significant milestone in this program, and will bring new skills and opportunities to its students, and in the future to many more young people in East Africa,”said Thomas MacKay, Senior Director for Global Strategic Programs, VMware.

2019 Strathmore Leaders in Research and Innovation

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Award

@iLabAfrica Research and Innovation Centre was this year crowned leading department in research and reporting.

The Centre which 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 Kenya’s Vision 2030, was awarded the Strathmore University Research and Innovation award 2019 for demonstrating significant commitment to timeliness and quality in its reporting obligations on research activities for the year 2018 and 2019.

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@iLabAfrica Centre focuses on 4 main areas.

  • ICT research and Innovation
  • Entrepreneurship and Incubation
  • ICT Outsourcing
  • ICT Policy and Research

The Centre is involved in interdisciplinary research, student engagement and collaboration with government, industry and funding agencies.

@iLabAfrica is made up of the following research units

  • eHealth Unit
  • Cybersecurity Unit
  • Digital Learning Unit
  • Data Science Unit
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Unit
  • Outsourcing and Consulting Unit

For more information about @iLabAfrica Click Here 

 

 

 

 

SAFARICOM HOSTS HACKATHON COMPETITION IN STRATHMORE

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Strathmore University this week hosted Safaricom PLC hackathon competition that had up to 240 participants. The event aimed at fostering solutions around Android Developer, Solution Architects, Big Data Engineer among others.

The Safaricom funded program, co-implemented by @iLabAfrica was an open book competition used to identify technical practical competencies. For this event, the standard pass mark was 75% which was earned after a practical test was done, the examined interrogated and given the chance to modify their work. Those who were Successful received an oral interview invitation where they would be recruited to work for Safaricom in the IT department, their employment level being determined by their total score in both the hackathon and the oral interview.

According to Peter Opiyo, the IT Workforce, Performance and Reporting Manager in the Digital IT Department – Technology Division at Safaricom, theoretical interviews do not always yield desired output and so there is need to explore various technical skills through exhibited practical sessions – hackathons.

“Because of the high demand of techies at Safaricom and the IT market at large, there’s need to recruit the best in practice. Most of the best developer employees we have here in the IT department are those hired from hackathons.” said Peter.

Call for participants was issued out through the Safaricom career portal, website and social media platforms.

Strathmore hosts 4th Edition of Nairobi Tech Week (NTW 2019).

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@iBizAfrica, Strathmore University once again hosted this year’s 4th edition of Nairobi Tech Week (NTW) a Moringa School based initiative to bringing all actors and influencers in the tech ecosystem under one roof to foster conversations and learning around technology related topics.

This year’s event was themed, “​Technology in Africa: The Past, The Present and The Future”. It delved into the evolution of technology in Africa, the various solutions being applied in the African context and the exciting opportunities yet to be capitalized on as we navigate the digital revolution.

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Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica and @iBizAfrica giving the opening remarks for the NTW 2019

The 2019 NTW event included a number of activities ranging from; workshops, panels, roundtables, research presentation sessions as well as the hackathon which brought together players in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Platforms, Internet of Things (IoT), Micro services, Technopreneurship, Data Science, and Product Development Tools.

 

Google workshop on Google essentials and Machine Learning led by Marvin Ngesa.

The panels consisted of experts from the tech industry, the government as well as NGO’s shared ideas and solutions towards improving the existing structures in the growing field of technology by filling the gaps left by the current players.

Lease me was one of the teams from Strathmore University that participated in the hackathon competitions and emerged the best.

Lease Me, offered a solution to help aspiring farmers with no land to conduct agriculture by leasing out arable pieces of land and capital, thereby enhancing food security.

Talking at the event, the Principal Secretary of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority(TVET) Dr. Kevit Desai indicated the government’s commitment to supporting technology in Kenya as a backbone to the achievement of the big four agenda.

Sponsors Sponsors for 2019 NTW included GIZ – Make IT Africa, Microsoft, JUMO, Github, Google, Andela, Humanitec, Tala.

The main partners for Nairobi Tech Week 2019 are Strathmore, @iLab Africa, @iBizAfrica, AngelHack, Twiga Foods, Africa’s Talking, Nairobi Innovation Week, iHub, ALX, Metta, Nailab, Lawyers Hub, and the official transport partner – Little Cab.

Communications Authority of Kenya partners with @iLabAfrica

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Strathmore University, through its ICT and Innovation Centre, @iLabAfrica, has partnered with the Communications Authority of Kenya (The Authority) to carry out research in spectrum innovation through Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) techniques and Cybersecurity. The MoU signed between the two institutions is meant to achieve a number of objectives which include the following:

  1. To research and develop policies on the evolving innovation on the spectrum.
  2. To research and formulate the implementation model for the use of TV White Spaces which is one of the most promising spectrum concepts to achieve last mile connectivity.
  3. To research on the implementation and adoption of 5G and the accompanying technical and regulatory frameworks.
  4. To jointly develop capacity on spectrum management skills
  5. To research and build capacity in the domain of Cybersecurity through collaborative technical development, information sharing and technical assistance.

This partnership comes at a time when Strathmore University has already joined a set of three other African Universities’ which include Copperbelt University of Zambia, University of Malawi (Malawi) and the University of Ghana in a collaboratively funded project by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) of the United Kingdom with the project being spearhead by the University of Strathclyde, located in Glasgow, Scotland. The project’s main aim is to investigate how the use of dynamic spectrum access techniques and geo-location database technology combined with software defined radio (SDR) implementations can be used to enable effective and efficient wireless networks built at scale in developing countries in order to support affordable Internet using the shared spectrum resource.

The official launch of the work plan between the Communications Authority of Kenya and Strathmore University took place on the 3rd of January 2019 at the Communications Authority offices drawing an open roadmap of collaboration among local researchers working on the spectrum innovation techniques to join in on the work led by Strathmore University in achievement of the last mile connectivity through Dynamic Spectrum Access which is meant to clearly elucidate informative results on the regulatory framework, technical implementations and business models that can be adopted in the implementations of TV White Spaces and 5G. The Authority set out a strategic agenda to: develop professional partnerships with research institutions, build adequate capacity on Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum technology and policy research, issue trial authorisations for scientific research, conduct actual measurements and perform analysis, participate in regional and international RF spectrum research meetings, review national spectrum policy to address emerging radio technologies and develop guidelines and regulations to allow policy formulation. The current ongoing workplan is the initial desktop survey of regulatory status of TV White Spaces regionally and internationally as other plans are put in place for the three-year partnership.

@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.

OPEN MIC AFRICA SUMMIT 2018

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HACKING INCLUSION THROUGH FINANCIAL INNOVATION AND PRINCIPLED ENTREPRENEURSHIP

@iBizAfrica and Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT (MIT Legatum Center) is pleased to be hosting the 2018 Open Mic Africa Summit. The theme of the 2018 Summit is “Hacking Inclusion Through Financial Innovation And Principled Entrepreneurship.” Supported by Strathmore University’s iBiz Africa and Go Gaga.

The Open Mic Africa Summit is an annual two-day summer event that is produced by the
Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT (MIT Legatum Center) and that brings together leaders from the MIT and the African entrepreneurship communities to celebrate Africa’s vibrant and rising entrepreneurial scene. The event takes place on a different African country every year: the 2017 inaugural edition took place in Lagos, Nigeria, and the 2018 edition will take place in Nairobi on August 28th-29th  .

The event will serve as the award ceremony for the Zambezi Prize for Innovation in Financial Inclusion, MIT’s flagship competition on financial inclusion in Africa. The event will also unveil and celebrate the winners of the African region of the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC). The event will kick off on the evening August 28th with an exclusive VIP reception at Radisson Blu Nairobi with government officials, university scholars, investors and the MIT alumni community.he reception is followed by a full day conference at Strathmore University on August 29th that is open to all local
entrepreneurs, students, investors,

The goal of the event is to inspire, celebrate and honor the local entrepreneurial ecosystem through principled entrepreneurship, engage MIT’s African community and a create meaningful dialogue among all stakeholders. The event consists of a VIP networking cocktail evening reception for the MIT alumni community and selected leaders and entrepreneurs, followed by a full day conference that is open to all local entrepreneurs, students, investors, change agents and stakeholders who believe in improving lives through principled entrepreneurship. The conference features entrepreneurial keynote speeches, vision talks, fireside chats and MIT workshops led by MIT’s leading Entrepreneurs-In-Residence.

This year, the agenda includes vision talks by previous Zambezi finalists; fireside chats and speeches led by MIT faculty; a discussion on building an inclusive ecosystem in Kenya; and an MIT workshop that provides a hands-on approach to addressing some of the main challenges to financial inclusion. The winners of the Zambezi and IIC competitions will have an opportunity to attend an MIT faculty-led leadership boot camp on campus in late November.

Collaboration Opportunity with Strathmore University – @iBizAfrica
The Legatum Center seeks to to collaborate with@iBizAfricato host the August 29th conference of the Open Mic Africa (OMA) Summit on Strathmore’s campus and to make the conference available to Strathmore’s students and to the local entrepreneurial community.
The OMA Summit will strengthen the collaboration between @iBizAfrica and the MIT Legatum Center while providing local and international stakeholders with a forum to network and to interact with MIT leaders and with Africa’s leading entrepreneurs who are working on advancing financial inclusion through principled entrepreneurship.

The Summit agenda includes vision talks by previous Zambezi finalists; fireside chats
and speeches led by former MIT students; a discussion on building an inclusive ecosystem in Kenya with Ms. Sarah-Jane Maxed, Executive Director of the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP); and an MIT workshop led by Dr. Anjali Sastri, Faculty Advisor of the MIT Legatum Center.

For more information, Click here or  contact Funke Michaels on funkemichaels@gmail.com or Linda Kwamboka on lkwamboka@strathmore.edu