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RICOH Company executives visit @iLabAfrica

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A delegation of Ricoh Company Limited executives, including CEO Yoshinori Yamashita, met with @iLabAfrica department heads and director Joseph Sevilla on Wednesday 15th September to discuss partnership between Ricoh and @iLabAfrica.

Ricoh a Japanese imaging and electronics company with a worldwide influence on technology and industry visited @iLabAfrica to understand opportunities available in Kenya and Africa with the hopes of establishing a foundation for sustainable growth on the continent. The multinational has a worldwide workforce of approximately 97,000 employees and a turnover of over 2 billion Yen.

Part of Ricoh’s Sustainable Development Goals strategy is its policy of leveraging the strengths of manufacturing technology to make breakthroughs in technology and industry. A primary actuator of this endeavour is the company’s strong commitment to leading research and development across multiple markets around the world. Ricoh has technology and customer research groups in roughly 200 countries across the world and sees investment in Kenya as a gateway to connecting East, Central and South Africa to its expansive network.

Ricoh already has presence in the East African market through its ubiquitous imaging and printing devices, and through its partnership with The Copycat Limited—Ricoh’s authorised service provider in the region. The Copycat Limited is also a partner of @iLabAfrica and this connection made the meeting between Ricoh Co. Ltd and @iLabAfrica possible.

David Mills, CEO of Ricoh’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, expressed the company’s desire to digitise workspaces in Africa through partners such as The Copycat Limited. @iLabAfrica Director Joseph Sevilla pointed to the challenge-based learning programme that @iBizAfrica has recently launched. These programme is developed to have small teams of tech-centric entrepreneurs working on specific organisation challenges using the resources, networks and mentors that are available in the @iBizAfrica learning space.

A partnership between Ricoh and @iLabAfrica could assist entrepreneurs and developers,  introduce novel solutions for the East African, Japanese, and global markets. Ricoh’s expertise in printing and imaging technology could be a springboard for innovations in 3D and textile printing such as the ongoing Fundamentals of IoT and 3D Printing Course run by @iBizAfrica in partnership with Kuunda 3D.

 

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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

Why you should register for the IoT & 3D Printing course

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From 17th to 28th September 2018, @iLabAfrica and Kuunda 3D will hold a two-week certificate course on the fundamentals of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D Printing. The course will cover practical skills in both technologies and how their convergence can be harnessed for the development of creative and marketable solutions. It is aimed at training students and interested industry professionals and offers participants the opportunity to network with IoT and 3D printing enthusiasts and experts.

3D printing is one of the latest trends in design technology and it is poised to revolutionise how we create useful objects—such as electronic devices. Traditional manufacturing of electrical devices entails designing industrial machinery and setting up dedicated assembly lines within manufacturing plants to produce and assemble specific products. Building new manufacturing plants or redesigning old ones for new products is time-consuming, expensive and requires considerable expertise. This impedes flexibility in industry and bars creative individuals from developing their own electronic devices. In new and rapidly developing markets—such as those created by the growing popularity of the IoT—the ability to quickly design, produce and introduce new electronic devices to market is invaluable.

With 3D printing, parts for electronic devices can be created from scratch using digital designs. Combined with the increasing availability and decreasing prices of electronic components, 3D printing holds the potential to revolutionise the manufacture of electronic devices. Electronic devices are, after all, reducible to electronic components integrated and housed in specifically designed casings. This empowering combination of readily available electronic components and 3D printing is an opportunity waiting to be realised as the emerging IoT market is ripe for innovative electronic devices custom-built to provide creative solutions to every-day problems. It is equally valuable to general manufacturing, emergent fields such as drone technology and automated prosthetics, and the development of automated stations.

The IoT and 3D Printing course by @iLab and Kuunda 3D is tailored to equip participants with skills and hands-on experience in the use of both technologies. The lessons include:

  1. The parts of a 3D printer and how they work using Ultimaker and MakerBot 3D printers;
  2. 3D modelling and design with Tinker CAD and 123D design software;
  3. The slicing process by which 3D designs are converted into 3D-printable formats;
  4. An overview of IoT including machine-to-machine technology, the market value of IoT, IoT Architecture, and the place of IoT in big data and monetization;
  5. An introduction to micro-controllers and programming using C/C++, integrated development environment (IDE) applications, and electronic prototyping on the Arduino platform;
  6. Communication technologies, protocols and utilising Cloud Platform in IoT; and
  7. A hands-on guide to developing a complete Internet of Things solution.

The interdisciplinary course places focus on the nexus between the two technologies and how they can be combined to convert an idea into a working model and then into a viable business case providing customised solutions. Participants will learn how to create their own 3D models and apply foundational IoT skills to creative problem-solving and rapid prototyping. Successful completion earns each participant a certificate.

The two-week course will be held in @iLabAfrica in Strathmore University from Monday the 17th to Friday the 28th of September, 2018. Sessions will run in the evening from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm. The programme cost is KES 35,000 per participant, which covers the training, laboratory and certificate fees.

Applications are currently open and can be made online at https://bit.ly/3Dcourseilab.

For more information, contact Getrude Gichuhi at getrude.gichuhi@strathmore.edu (Tel. +254 727280214) or Joseph Shitote at jshitote@strathmore.edu (Tel. +254 714954904).

Tackling Cybercrime; An ISACA Kenya And iLAB Collaboration

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iLAB Africa, through Strathmore University, and ISACA Kenya have recently partnered up to bring information and resources in areas of cybersecurity, ICT implementation, IT risk and IT audit. These areas are contemporary discussion points in IT and imperative for the management and protection of data within corporations especially in today’s technological climate.

In 2017, Kenya lost 21 billion shillings through cyber security crime, making it one of the biggest losses in Africa, second only to Nigeria. This loss was largely attributed to cybercrimes committed in financial institutions through online fraud, social engineering, ransomware, banking malware and ATM-skimming. The magnitude of this loss and others spurred the enactment of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, signed into law in May 2018, which seeks to provide stiffer punishments to cyber criminals. The Act, however, faces the challenge of implementation of anti-cybercrime strategies which require knowledge and experience in cybercrime and IT risk management in order to protect information and hold individuals accountable for violating the established laws. It is this information gap which the collaboration intends to fill through conducting evening and breakfast talks, trainings and assistance with research on the aforementioned areas. In addition, the collaboration seeks to improve and initiate the formulation of ICT strategies, policies and their transformation and adoption of best practices in ICT implementation and cyber security, areas which are the purview and expertise of ISACA Kenya.

Founded in 2000, ISACA Kenya is the Kenyan chapter of the larger international Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). A key hallmark of ISACA is the development of the Business Model for Information security which takes a business approach to managing information security as well as the internationally recognized COBIT, Val IT and Risk IT frameworks that help IT professionals and leaders fulfil their governance responsibilities while delivering value to their business. iLAB Africa is a  centre of ICT innovation and development based at Strathmore University and is involved in interdisciplinary research, students’ engagement, collaboration with government, industry and other funding agencies. It is this specific skill set that forms the basis of the collaboration between ISACA Kenya and iLAB Africa and its focus on Cybercrime, IT risk and IT Audit.

@iLabAfrica, KAM, GIZ launch jobs portal

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The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) through @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University has launched a portal where job seekers and industry players can link to create synergies. The Jobs portal was unveiled during the launch of the first ever TVET Job Summit in Nairobi, the site that will act as a direct link between industries and job seeking technical skills graduates.

The portal was developed in partnership with German Development Cooperation through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) E4D/SOGA – Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa.

The portal which was designed by @iLabAfrica, Strathmore Univeristy is set to host job opportunities from businesses and industries and targets job seeking graduates from technical institutions.

Speaking at the KAM Job Summit, @iLabAfrica Director, Dr. Joseph Sevilla mentioned “It is great to see industry and education sectors come together to create job portals for the youth. These developments create employment opportunities for the youth by linking their skills to the right jobs and eventually growing the economy of the country. ”

Chief Administrative Secretary, Labour and Social Protection, Mr. Abdul Bahari noted that the mismatch between skills possessed by graduates of training institutions and those demanded by industry is one of key reasons behind the high unemployment rates in the country, especially amongst the youth.

Manufacturing is one of the pillars in the Government’s Big Four Initiative, which seeks to increase the manufacturing share of the country’s GDP from 8.4 percent in 2017 to 15 percent by 2022.Intertwined with the growth of manufacturing, is the Government’s goal of ensuring adequate employment opportunities for its citizens.”

 

Also present at the summit, Principal Secretary Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Dr. Kevit Desai reiterated the importance of the role of industry in creating opportunities for technical skills graduates, “Industry has a role to play in creating sabbatical for our trainees. We are at a time in this nation that we must look beyond technical issues, we must consider national values, cohesion, attitudinal issues and must be inculcated as a standard for international competitiveness.”

KAM Chairlady, Ms. Flora Mutahi noted that the job site will provide grounds for industry to meet its much desired skills for growth. Adding that, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will change global definitions of work, labour and production and eventually disrupt traditional work processes.

“The job portal is the much needed intervention that industry desired to have direct linkage to technical skilled graduates. It is also an opportunity for business leaders and industries to collaborate with institutions to grow the employment ratio in the country,” said Ms Mutahi.

Also at the event, GIZ Country Director Mr. Stephen Opitz emphasized the GIZ engagement towards the development of technical skills in the country.

“Through GIZ E4D/SOGA programme, we aim to train about 12000 youth, and purpose to place about 7000, of the trained youth, by 2019.The portal will be a valuable platform that will easily connect employers and potential talents. That is why we are partnering with KAM to make this happen,” added Mr. Opitz.

Industry remains a big contributor to jobs creation, which is a major driver for economic development. The President’s Big Four Action plan highlights the manufacturing sector as a priority sector in transforming the lives of Kenyans through job and wealth creation.

 

KIAMBU COUNTY BEGINS TRAINING OF  THE NEW CASHLESS SYSTEM FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF REVENUE COLLECTION

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Kiambu County through @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University on May 2017 began training of Cashiers and IT officials in the County Revenue offices in its various sub-counties. The move is aimed at eliminating the use of ‘hard’ cash to pay for parking fee and market fee, this will ease congestion and save on the time of issuing of receipts by middle men. The cashless system will also be helpful in registering small businesses and reduce long queues of people waiting to be served in the Revenue offices.

The trainings are conducted in various sub-counties of Kiambu. “Our team will train for a day and return for a follow-up the next day. This helps us to gauge how receptive the officers have been to the system in a specific sub-county,” says Mark Gatheru of @iLabAfrica. The training is both theory and practical for the implementation of the system.

So far training is complete in 6 sub-counties. Thika, Juja, Gathunguri, Ruiru, Kiambu, Limuru and Lari- Kabete. Mr. Gatheru of @ilabAfrica mentioned that they plan to be through with the remaining 5 counties by June 2018. Depending on the schedule of a sub-county the duration of training may take a shorter or longer period, for example, in Thika the training took up to 6 days. Consequently, in Limuru the training took a day.

“There is an online portal where the officers and cashiers that we train can look up information if they encounter a problem with the system” says Mr. Gatheru.

During the launch of the cashless payment system the Kiambu Governor Hon. Ferdinand Waititu mentioned that he was impressed with the new system, “The new system will help in saving up-to 46 million shillings per week.”  Governor Hon. Ferdinand Waititu

The cashless system developed by @iLabAfrica targets all the 47 counties. So far, Kilifi, Busia, Mombasa and Taita Taveta counties have began the trainings.

 

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