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
- be a woman
- be the CEO with equal or majority ownership in the company
- 18 and above
- of Kenyan nationality
- Three months incubation at Strathmore University’s leading businss and innovation incubator
- Mentorship from world class mentors
- Coaching by top business, technology and legal professionals
- Immersive, world-class entrepreneurship curriculum
- Networking and exposure to expand your business networks
- USD 10,000 or KES 1,000,000 equity-free grant seed funding for the top 5 winners
- 9 months ongoing support from Standard Chartered and @iBizAfrica to assist with go-to market and scale.
- Participants must be physically available to attend the program over the three months incubation
- Participant accommodation costs are not catered for
For more information Click here
To Apply click here
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone number: 0729876680
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:
- The parts of a 3D printer and how they work using Ultimaker and MakerBot 3D printers;
- 3D modelling and design with Tinker CAD and 123D design software;
- The slicing process by which 3D designs are converted into 3D-printable formats;
- 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;
- An introduction to micro-controllers and programming using C/C++, integrated development environment (IDE) applications, and electronic prototyping on the Arduino platform;
- Communication technologies, protocols and utilising Cloud Platform in IoT; and
- 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.
We live in a country where floods and droughts can plague citizens at different times in the same year. Add to that substances wearing down equipment and adulterating the water we drink and cook and bathe with. 40% of Kenyans are dependent on unsafe water sources such as shallow wells and ponds, and preventable diseases related to water, sanitation and hygiene account for 40% of hospital attendance in Kenya. Water security is a constitutional right compromised by unanswered logistical questions of quality, supply and distribution. Leonard Mabele and his team at iLab Africa’s Internet of Things division is working to change that. Their Water Management project seeks to harness the potential of IoT to address the water problems that Kenyans face.
The Internet of Things (IoT) offers an interesting proposition for the future of human life.
A well-implemented IoT network can radically simplify routines and improve our quality of life. Worked a late night and forgot to take your phone off silent mode? Well, imagine your home IoT noticing you overslept and waking you up with to rhythm of your favourite song. Imagine your house filled with the rich aroma of coffee that finishes dripping into your mug just as you step into the kitchen and see your automated curtains part to let in the morning light. A beeping comes from the laundry room—your washing machine-cum-drier has your clothes clean and ready for the day. A notification on your phone reminds you to refill the soap dispenser of your dishwasher and pick up fresh milk on your way home for tomorrow’s coffee. As you step out of the shower, the water pump clicks off and your phone notifies you that the water in the reserve tanks is enough for a week of regular usage. You then review your consumption and pay your water bill on your phone, and leave for the office clean, caffeinated and on-time as usual. The future is in interconnection.
For most, though, such a Jetsons-esque morning is a neat IoT concept that fa lls short of meeting the more pressing concerns of life, such as water security. Tweeting to complain about water shortages—and that the little there is is not clean enough to drink and cook with—is about as connected as water and the Internet seem to many of us.
The Water Management project of the IoT team at iLab Africa entails a network of devices monitoring water levels, pressure, purity, turbidity, flow rates, and consumption within homes. These devices not only communicate with each other but also upload information via a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) to base stations and on to dedicated servers.
The data collected is used to create value for water consumers. The team envisions citizens using their phones to access information on their consumption, assess and pay their bills, monitor water quality, and plan their water storage. With continuous water supply available from only 9 of Kenya’s 55 public water service providers, water consumers need to be able to manage their water more efficiently. Through an IoT, water pressure and tanks, pumps, individual taps and inlet valves can even be controlled remotely to control consumption—all from a smartphone application.
Entities such as the government, county authorities, and NEMA can also use the system to review information on public consumption and improve service delivery. The information flow is key to resolving the logistical issues. Water supply to different neighbourhoods can be planned for according to their consumption trends. Additionally, issues such as contamination and leakages can be monitored, isolated, and addressed rapidly.
The IoT team behind iLab Africa’s Water Management project is excited to roll out this cutting-edge solution to Kenya’s water problem. While the need for Internet communication raises valid questions on the energy demands and cost of connection, team-leader Mabele explained the cost-saving considerations behind the technology used in the project. The implemented LoRa LPWAN technology is specifically designed for low-energy low-traffic IoT communication over long distances. It has been implemented in the Philippines, Netherlands, and in Germany. The devices require only a little power to function and upload to base stations. The network itself utilises unlicensed bands that do neither attract high data costs nor interfere with mobile, television and radio signals.
iLab Africa’s Water Management project has the potential to bring the futurism of IoT to the homes of millions of Kenyans and play a key role in solving our water management issues. Its success just may be the light that illuminates the potential role of IoT not just as a fancy way to get around house routines, but also a practical tool for improving the quality of life of millions of homes.
Speaking about the current stage of this exciting project, Mabele describes it as being “in the infant stage, moving to a level where the kid can speak.” The team has the support of the government and NEMA in its initiative. A pilot deployment has been planned to take place in Limuru this August, with future expansion plans for Nairobi and Naivasha.
For more information on iLab Africa’s Internet of Things Water Management project, contact Leonard on email@example.com
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.
@ilabAfrica and Atlancis Technologies sign partnership in Information Technology Research and Development
@ilabafrica, Strathmore University and Atlancis Technologies signed a strategic partnership focused on cutting-edge research into the next generation of information technology.
The partnership signed by @iLabAfrica Research Centre will allow Strathmore University and Atlancis to jointly explore and provide direction for academic researchers and technology experts in Kenya to collectively innovate and develop applications in research areas such as energy, banking, healthcare, education and transport among other sectors as well as champion development of local technology ecosystem.
The focus of this collaboration will be on the emerging technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain Technology, Cyber Security, Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud Services.
‘The next frontier of research is clearly going to be driven by technology, and universities must nurture relevant linkages with industry to make this happen. In this way, the research output coming from universities will resonate with the needs of industry’. says, Dr. Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica Research Centre.
‘Atlancis’ decision to collaborate with Strathmore University will keep the two partners as the country’s leaders in big data. This initiative is good news for Kenya’s technology base, universities and the economy’, reiterated Mr. Kinyua, CEO, Atlancis Technologies.
The MoU was signed by Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director of Strathmore’s @iLabAfrica Research Centre and Mr. Daniel Kinyua, Chief Executive of Atlancis Technologies.