Incubation

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

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

 

@ILABAFRICA RECEIVES GOOGLE GRANT

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The Digital Learning unit @iLabAfrica in Strathmore University has received a grant by Google. The team led by Regina Nkonge, and Philomena was awarded this grant after responding to a call for grant applications in the area of Computer Science (CS) Educator Professional Development.

Award of the grant follows a proposal to introduce Computer Science Concepts in high schools in Kenya. The 2018 Educator Grant awards in Europe, Middle East and Africa is committed to growing the confidence of new and future Computer Science educators.

The @iLabAfrica project targets secondary school teachers and will comprise of three components:

1) Two 5-day workshops for secondary school teachers from Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos Counties. The workshops will be held in Strathmore University during school holidays of December 2018 and April 2019.

2) A national teacher conference will be held in August 2019 at Strathmore University, aimed at designing best practices in teaching and learning CS in secondary schools.

3) An online Community of Practice will be launched. This is aimed at encouraging teacher collaboration, creating and sharing open education resources (OERs) hence empowering each other, serve as a collection of teaching ideas and best practices and trigger teachers’ reflection on their own teaching methods and how to improve them.

The project is geared towards improving teaching and learning of CS in secondary schools, hence encouraging the uptake of Computer Science at tertiary level.

“We have selected different CS topics which correspond to the Kenyan curriculum, this will allow for direct integration into the subject to enhance student’s learning”, says Miss Philomena.

The benefit is directly to the students by offering exposure to CS concepts in an engaging and fun way, and, exposing them to possible career paths in the field This will equally see a rise in the number of Computer Science uptake in Universities

Smarter Transportation solutions for African cities

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@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 jolukuru@strathmore.edu

 

 

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