@iBizAfrica

The Event That Was: Nairobi Tech Week (N TW)2017

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#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.

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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.

NTW3Developers 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.

NTW4The 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.

NTW5The 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.

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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

@iBizAfrica partners with Wadhwani Foundation to build startup ecosystem in Strathmore University

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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 ibizafrica@strathmore.edu or get in touch with Esther on esaya@strathmore.edu

Read more about Rornesh Wadhwani and Wadhwani Foundation here

ESET East Africa and @iLabAfrica Sign MoU to Fight Cyber Crime

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Kenya has in the recent past suffered from Internet Security threats such as hacking,impersonations, loss of money, loss of information and even exposure of confidential information. The attacks are mainly targeted at individuals, banks, financial institutions and government institutions.

A report by Deloitte named Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2017, ranked Kenya as one of the most vulnerable countries worldwide in terms of cyber security. Kenya has a current internet penetration of 85.3 percent, one of the highest in Africa.The report showed companies and government organizations in Kenya lost a record of US$171 million through cybercrime in 2016 and this is expected to rise by 30 percent by the end of 2017.

To help reduce cyber security threats in Kenya, ESET East Africa has signed a memorandum of understanding (M.O.U) with @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University. ESET will support Strathmore University’s current academic programs on cyber-security, through collaborative research and benchmarking approaches on issues of local interest such as ethical hacking, phishing and ransomware studies. Teddy Njoroge, Country Manager ESET East Africa, said the company will explore joint opportunities with like-minded partners and contribute assets in developing innovative cyber-security solutions targeting both blue chip businesses and Small and Medium Enterprises over the next one year.

Estimates indicate that Kenya has just about 1000 certified cyber-security specialists, way lower than the optimal 40,000 needed “The rise of cyber-crime and related information security incidents in the country can be attributed to this shortage of personnel coupled by the slow development of homegrown research driven solutions” said Collins Oduor the Information Technology Security Manager for @iLabAfrica centre.

@iLabAfrica offers customized cyber-security training in ethical hacking(CEH), computer hacking forensic investigation as well as certified security analyst courses to about 200 graduate and undergraduate students annually – drawn from the financial services sector, government agencies and academia.

Among other agreements, under the M.O.U with ESET East Africa, @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University plans to develop and introduce additional courses on emerging technologies and skills to tackle new cyber threats such as Internet of Things (IoT) Security, Security for Industrial Control Systems, Cyber security for Executives, Advance Malware Analysis and Secure Application Development among others.

Apply: Facebook Bots for Messenger Challenge

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For many years Facebook has been promoting innovation across the Middle East and Africa, providing startups with the tools they need to build, grow, monetize, and measure. Facebook grew out of a hacker culture, and we thrive on seeking out and promoting innovation on new platforms. That’s why they are launching the Bots for Messenger Challenge, a contest to recognize and reward developers who are able to create the most innovative new bots on Messenger in (i) the Middle East and North Africa; and (ii) Sub-Saharan Africa across one of these these three categories:

  1. Gaming and Entertainment
  2. Productivity and Utility
  3. Social Good

Teams of up to 3 people are invited to participate in the Challenge. The submission period runs from February 15, 2017 to April 28, 2017, and winners will be announced on June 19, 2017.

In view of this, Facebook will be partnering with AfriLabs to implement the Bot challenge through our network. We will like to request for your shipping address so we will be able to send across the Facebook posters for the Bots Challenge once received from them.

AWARDS
Finalist Teams
From each region (i) Middle East and North Africa; and (ii) Sub-Saharan Africa, 30 finalist teams (10 from each category) will win a Gear VR and mobile phone, Facebook mentorship and up to $40,000 USD in tools and services from FbStart, a Facebook program designed to help early stage mobile startups build and grow their bots

Note: All student teams or individual student entrants who make it to the finals will receive an additional $2,000 USD.

Runner Up Teams
For each region, 3 runner up teams (1 from each category) will win $10,000 USD and 3 months of Facebook mentorship.

Winning Teams
For each region, 3 winning teams (1 from each category) will win $20,000 USD and 3 months of Facebook mentorship.

DEADLINE
April 28, 2017

RULES 
Please review the Terms & Conditions carefully before registering.

Some important rules to note:

    • Bots must be created, and will be verified, between February 15, 2017 to April 28, 2017. Bots created before February 15, 2017 will not be eligible to participate.
    • Bots must comply with all Facebook for developers Messenger Platform developer guidelines and rules, and use the Messenger Platform API.
    • Any bots created on other non-Messenger bot platforms will be excluded.
    • Bots must be created by people in the Entrant’s home region of either (i) the Middle East and North Africa or (ii) Sub-Saharan Africa.
    • Bots may be in any language (or combination of languages). Only the Bot Submission must be entirely in English.
    • It is optional to submit a link to an online video of the bot, but if you do, the video must be under 2 minutes long.

Judging Criteria

    • Technical Quality – How well does the Bot use the Messenger platform features? [35%]
    • Non-Technical Quality – What is the degree of excellence of the Bot, taking into account the Bot’s distinctive attributes and characteristics (except for the technical aspects)? [35%]
    • User Experience – How usable is the Bot for the intended audience, including how well the conversation flows? [30%]

To learn more and participate in the challenge, kindly visit here.

Follow @iLabAfrica onTwitter and Instagram to learn more about our work

Microsoft’s #Insiders4Good Program in East Africa

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Microsoft’s Windows Insiders Program is a global community of over 7 million people using technology to make a lasting impact on the world through meaningful relationships with people around the world. As part of Windows Insiders, we launched the #Insiders4Good Fellowship in Nigeria, which seeks to find leaders in local communities who are actively and creatively solving problems. We are very excited to expand the #Insiders4Good Fellowship to East Africa and are seeking East African entrepreneurs with projects in the early stage to apply to become part of our second cohort of #Insiders4Good Fellows.

To participate in the #Insiders4Good East Africa Fellowship, applicants must be:

  1. Registered members of the Windows Insider Program (sign up at: insider.windows.com);
  2. Legal residents of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania or Uganda, aged 18 and over;
  3. Have an idea, or a business, for a product or service in the early stage that will improve the lives of East African people;
  4. The product or service cannot have been selected as a winner in any contest or sweepstakes.

Twenty-five entrepreneurs will be selected and will receive:

  1. A premier suite of Windows hardware and software, and
  2. A 6-month mentorship program that will be kicked off by a special one-week learning event for Fellows and mentors. The 6-month mentorship will include tailored technical and strategic mentorship from local and international leaders to help raise the Fellows’ unique idea to the next level.

Application Deadline is March 31st.

To learn more and apply for this exciting opportunity, please check here.

Post and photo credits: Microsoft Winsiders Website

Global Impact Challenge- SingularityU East Africa

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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

 Applicant Criteria:
  • 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

Assessment Criteria:

  • 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

 East Africa GIC Timeline
  • Applications Open- 13th February 2017
  • Applications Close – 13th March 2017
  • Pitch Day Event – 23rd March 2017
 What is needed
  •  CV/Resume
  • Summary of accomplishments
  • An abstract of the project idea
  • A video URL of the project idea
  Guidelines
 The challenge must be on solving a problem e.g. Climate Change or one of SU Global Grand Challenges, Thinks of a local problem scalable globally to positively impact a billion people of lives.
  • The idea should leverage exponential technology.

Revenue Enhancement Specialized Training

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@iLabAfrica in partnership with key industry players offered this 4-day course which offered an approach to sustainable revenue mobilization and enforcement in local governments and looks at means of improving core revenue processes, systems, data quality, skills and organizational structures.

The course was graced with the presence of senior and middle managers in the revenue/finance departments of County Governments, including Directors, Chief Officers, Sub-county Administrators, Revenue Officers, and Members of the County Assembly (MCAs), in charge of the budgeting process. It was well represented with county officials from all over the country.

On the first day, through Dr. Walter Ongeti and Mr. Stephen Khadondi, the participants were challenged on disruptive strategic thinking and creative destruction – to shift the paradigm towards performance management in revenue collection through change management. They were also enlightened on the revenue mobilization constitutional mandate and PFM Architecture Analysis.

On the second day, the participants were able to gain and understand a lot on domestic resource mobilization policy, legal framework and administration as well as revenue enforcement strategies through a panel discussion that consisted representatives from CRA, COB, ICPAK, KRA, IFMIS and KIPPRA among others.

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Douglas Gicho, the ICT Director of Kiambu, during his afternoon session touched on holistic e-Governance and public-private partnerships on revenue collection and mobilization.

CRA Director, Sheila Yieke shed light on CRA Recommended County Revenue Laws, their implementation and revenue target setting on the third day. Stephen Masha reviewed the mandate of the COB in County Revenue Collection and Resource Mobilization.

On the final day Professor David Sperling, one of the founders of Strathmore University addressed the County Officials on economic growth, sustainable growth and equity. They were very amazed at how knowledgeable he is about kenya and development.

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Banking institutions also had their representatives in the area. They focused on maximum utilization of banking capabilities in revenue collection enhancement and introduction of cashless systems.

In the end each County had a representative who shared how they’ve benefited from the course and how they would use the recently acquired knowledge within their own counties.

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We acknowledge the CountyPro team that made the 4-day course a great success.