Strathmore Univeristy

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 TECHNOLOGY- GET FUNDING FOR YOUR BUSINESS

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WIT-EDM V2 ImageStandard Chartered in partnership with @iLabAfrica has launched a search for the second cohort of women-led technology startups which will see five entrepreneurs win Sh1 million each.

The partnership seeks more diversity in technology and for more opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial and leadership excellence.

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.

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
Application deadline October 31

For more information Click here

To Apply click here

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

@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.

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

 

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).

Water management through the Internet of Things

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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 lmabele@strathmore.edu