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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

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

Are you a Fintech Company? Apply to this Opportunity

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fintechEfma is a very well-known not-for-profit global association, created 45 years ago by banks and insurance companies. Their mission is “content sharing and networking”.Efma brings together more than 3,300 retail financial services companies from over 130 countries (1/3 of the top 100 financial institutions are Efma members) and its members include prestigious worldwide groups such as: BNPP, Deutsche bank, Citi, Santander, Bradesco, OCBC, BBVA, etc.

Efma will launch a new Fintech portal on 14th April 2016, a unique website to facilitate interaction between financial institutions and Fintech companies.

The campaign for Fintech data collection has already started and submission is free of charge.

Efma Fintech portal benefits:

The Efma Fintech portal will be a worldwide repository of leading Fintech solutions and services. It will provide a unique Fintech database: banks will be able to search and have access to the latest information about Fintechs and their solutions. It is being brought to the market in partnership with Microsoft and Avanade.

Moreover, the Efma Fintech portal will serve as a forum for networking and collaboration. It will create leads for Fintechs as a “match-making” service, where banks can post their needs/projects. If a Fintech solution match their criteria, this Fintech will be directly put in contact with the requesting bank.

Furthermore, the related Fintech Awards will highlight the best-in-class Fintech solutions, chosen by a panel of recognized experts (ceremony scheduled for 14 April 2016).

Application Deadline

Apply before 29 February 2016 in order to be eligible to participate in the Fintech awards on 14 April 2016.

If you have any question, please send an email  

Vacancy: Afrilabs Program Director

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AfriLabs is a network of tech innovation hubs in Africa. Each hub serves as a physical convening space for entrepreneurs, technologists, developers, designers, and investors in each tech community. S/he manages communications in both directions and empowers members of Afrilabs. This digital-savvy employee is also responsible for all communications, PR, social media, and content creation on the community portal, among other things. This is a Web 2.0 communications role, incorporating online tools and in-person networking to create relationships, fundraise, empower peer-to-peer communities and ultimately build the organization’s brand, both online and offline. While every day as a Program Director is different, the successful individual will be responsible for coordinating the overall activities of the AfriLabs secretariat including Fundraising, Media Relations & Communications, Partnerships, Projects as well as Membership.

Duties and Responsibilities

1. Community Empowerment – work with the members of Afrilabs. The manager, in close contact with the community, shall be responsible for planning, organizing and implementing initiatives/programs, which enable the communities to: a. Further grow, b. Add value to the members of the community, particularly Afrilabs members. This work also entails developing and implementing a sound social networking strategy for the community, an adapted media mix for the communities (mailing-lists, Afrilabs website with community functions, wiki, blog etc) and to develop intelligent cross-linkages with various partners.

2. Afrilabs Programs – In this context, the Program Director shall also plan and implement the key areas of Afrilabs. The focus here includes: Policy advocacy (lobbying on tech entrepreneurship), research and knowledge sharing among members.

3. Content Creation and Updates – To empower the community, write blog posts, articles, newsletters, communications materials, and material for social media channels. He/she will be responsible for updating the main Afrilabs site and related project pages, with input by Afrilabs members and the community at large.

4. Africa Hub Directory – The Program Director shall implement a “live Africa Tech hub Directory” on the website as one identified step of “added value” for members of the Afrilabs community. The directory shall serve as a clearinghouse for African entrepreneurship, and shall contain appropriate sections that shall match the expectations of the community, and that contains community-driven updating and governance structures.

5. Social media marketing – creating, managing and growing the organization’s presence through blogs, microblogs, and other strategically relevant online spaces including mailing lists. Enable the community to contribute and co-manage the organization’s presence in relevant online spaces (e.g. taking up community management roles)

6. Events and event planning – attending events on behalf of the organization and plan meet-ups for the Afrilabs community in countries and on the continent where possible. Key event targets include an annual meeting/gathering, as well as workshops, webinars/seminars organized periodically among others.

7. Public relations – support the Afrilabs secretariat in managing incoming media requests; develop and maintain and relationships with journalists and Afrilabs liaisons (hub contact persons) to promote the activities and values of Afrilabs, and engage the Afrilabs community to contribute to public relations through peer-to-peer processes (for example blogging)

8. Analytics – Using online analytic tools and other measurement tools to provide reports on metrics, and continually find ways to improve on those metrics through testing and new initiatives

9. Fundraising – Develop a fundraising plan and mobilize campaigns to raise funds for various Afrilabs activities. Fundraising targets shall be set by the Board, and is an important Key Performance Indicator for the Programs Director.

10. Management – Coordination and management of remote and on-site secretariat staff, volunteers and interns. The Program Director shall motivate, set performance benchmarks, recommend for hiring and firing to the board and oversee the work of secretariat staff members.

Line of Reporting

The Program Director shall report to the Afrilabs Community. This will include, among others:

– Afrilabs Board

– Afrilabs members

– Afrilabs partners

– The global tech entrepreneurship community on behalf of the African tech community

Oversight of the work of the Program Director is by the AfriLabs Board.The Program Director shall prepare and deliver to the board a written quarterly report of the state of affairs of the organization in scheduled meetings.

Qualifications –

Openness, creativity, leadership potentials

  •  A relevant university diploma or degree
  • Sufficient practice and knowledge of web 2.0, particularly social media tools / community building tools
  • Experience with fundraising
  • Proven experience of working with and within communities. Experience with establishing self-governance mechanisms of communities is a plus, ideas on it is a must. – Intense activity on social media and virtual collaboration/communication tools
  •  Passion for openness, networking, and African tech development
  •  Understanding of the open source landscape Skills we are looking for
  •  Ability to be resourceful and to delegate
  • Capacity to adapt to any African environment: a people’s person
  • High sense of organisation and discipline, since you will be working from your base
  • Capacity to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines
  • Team player, especially in virtual collaboration and co-working
  • Mastery of the English language, and no fear of other African languages

What you will need for this position

  •  A workstation: laptop, netbook, tablet or pad.
  •  Broadband internet connection. Except for weekends, responses to emails must be provided on the same day. We do not accommodate “out of office” auto mails. Internet connectivity expenses will be paid for.
  • At least 8 hours a day. We expect that by nature, you are the type that spends at least 5 hours daily on the internet.
  • Location: This person will be based in a member hub on the continent. Travel requirements is up to 50% across the continent to member hubs, as well as locations of donors in Europe, Asia and the Americas as may be required.

Remuneration:dependent on experience.

How to apply: Send two documents:

a) 1 pager on how you plan to do the work and your salary expectations.

b) Your CV Send these two documents in .odt or .pdf by February 5th, 2016, midnight GMT

Send these documents to: applications@afrilabs.com

Initial Contract: 6 months, renewable on satisfactory performance and availability of funding. Performance will be monitored against a work plan based on the “duties and responsibilities” of this document. Overall performance indicator after one year will be securing the necessary funding for running the organization for an additional 24 months after the end of period, and achieving high degree of interaction among member hubs as well as self-governance.

Apply to Pitch your Idea or Startup in Silicon Valley and Win Seed Capital Prizes!

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The GIST Tech-I Competition is focused on young science and technology innovators who have an idea or startup. If this describes you, then apply today! Or if you know someone whose idea or young company deserves the world’s attention, please forward them this message.

Application Deadline

22nd January 2016.

Application Details

Expert reviewers will select up to 100 applicants to advance to the semi-finals, during which their pitch videos will be featured online and voted on by the public. These votes will help to select thirty finalists who will present their ventures to a global audience at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley, California. During this internationally prestigious event, these amazing up-and-coming innovators will receive intensive skills training, mentorship, and networking access to global leaders in their fields. Winners of GIST Tech-I will receive seed capital prizes and all finalists will receive up to three months of mentoring following the finals.

Contact Details

For more information regarding the competition, visit here or Send an email .