Entrepreneurship

Metathesiophobia – Innovation’s Biggest Constraint

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I recently came across this term “Metathesiophobia” while reading a book written by Neil Sahota and Michael Ashley titled “OWN THE A.I. REVOLUTION”. The authors of this book spend a lot of the initial chapters of the book delving into the evolution of different technologies leading to Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) alongside the side of psychology and the human mind on “Learning” and the rate of adoption of change relating to technology. The authors bring out an interesting comparison of technology adoption based on knowledge. Their description of the “things we know, we know”, “things we know, we don’t know” and “things we don’t know, we don’t know” really caught my attention especially in regards to technology adoption! Metathesiophobia, as loosely put by Michael and Neil means “Fear of Change” and I thought this might just the biggest constraint of innovation.

In the wake of Internet of Things (which has become my daily life), metathesiophobia might get a lot more amplified than it already is. Simply because, Internet of Things is a collection of technologies and not just a single technology. The technologies making up this collection are constantly experiencing evolution leading to new changes almost every year driven by more innovation. This is enough to scare off a company, especially one that has a traditional setup.  At a first glance, Internet of Things (IoT) should be understood as simply as the term – “Internet of Things” where one part has “Internet” and the other part has “Things”. In this era, even a 5 – year old who will have a slow loading cartoon on YouTube, will tell you “there is no Internet” (Am not overlooking the digital divide, there are many rural places lacking Internet access so the 5 – year olds here have a different experience) which means we are all growing into having Internet access as a basic need. This definitely speaks for the numbers that know what “Internet” means. On the other hand, “Things” are just that – Things, that is: buildings, roads, land, atmosphere, vehicles, electronics, transformers, boxes, warehouses, oil pipelines, solar power plants among other numerous things. It is important to note that people, under IoT, are also things! From this get go, anyone who hears “Internet of Things” should relate to the term as its two parts and be excited to hear how everything works. It is its implementation that probably starts to breed metathesiophobia.

 

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Looking at the diagram included here which breaks the two terms – “Internet” and “Things” into two parts and lists their technology domains perhaps can help bring out the different elements that IoT encompasses which somehow just shows how wide an IoT conversation can get within an Innovation subject. A lot of C-level individuals are happy to have it but how many are really doing it? Or how many are really ready to invest in some of these technologies just to create a paradigm shift in their existing business models? Could it be a fear of “we know, we don’t know” or “we don’t know, we don’t know” so cannot set up a separate budget to get moving on Low Power Wide Area Networks Innovation or TV White Spaces, Artificial Intelligence etc? How many startups are VC’s funding to develop solutions leveraging these kind of technologies? In Kenya, my experience of working with corporates, has got me almost getting to a conclusion that, it is the fear of change (read metathesiophobia) that is limiting the pace of innovation.

A research publication done by Dr. Ovidiu Vermesan and Dr. Peter Fries titled “Internet of Things – From Research and Innovation to Market Deployment” lists “Smart Living” as one of the applications of IoT embodying intelligent ways of shopping, efficient usage of energy and water, remote control of appliances, usage of smart home appliances, gas monitoring, safety monitoring among other sub-applications. In the 374-page document, the authors seem to converge to one objective elucidated by the Internet of Things (IoT) which is “A Smart Population”! A smart population inspired by “Internet” and “Things”.

There is a lot under the umbrella of these two terms to be implemented in order to really realise the smart population. First, the technical pieces which stretch from Things to the Internet amidst constant innovative developments. Second, a supportive Research and Development ecosystem within companies and research institutions to inspire the development of the technical components. Third, a proactive and flexible national environment that follows the development of the technologies close enough to craft the regulatory frameworks for all of these technologies to thrive for the growth of the smart population. Fourth, other reasons. The innovation happening at Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM among the other tech giants exploring the technologies around IoT (as shown in the diagram) is the biggest driver for their growing revenue. New careers are also emerging within this innovation space spitting out job titles that have not existed before especially as new domains emerge. Elon Musk’s description of Tesla Inc. as a technology company is probably the reason that has kept the company staying on top of innovation consuming the technologies around “Internet” and “Things”.

If we do not rise above metathesiophobia, we will not innovate and sooner than we know it, we might have innovative startup companies buying out well established companies. metathesiophobia might limit our dream of achieving a smart population that can provide us ready markets. It might also get us holding onto the statement of “there are no jobs” when we could create more jobs through innovation. Whichever way we look at it, Metathesiophobia might limit our innovation when probably all we need is the “Internet” and “Things”!

Leornard Mabele

 

Leonard Mabele  is a Junior Research Fellow and Manager of the IoT Research Lab at iLabAfrica, Strathmore University

Women in tech – Last call

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WIN KSH 1,000,000 FOR YOUR BUSINESS!

WITStandard Chartered in partnership with @iLabAfrica has launched a search for the third 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 business and innovation incubator- @iBizAfrica
  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 4th November 2019 

REGISTER HERE 

For more information Click here

To Apply click here

Helping Kenyan Companies fight Cybercrime

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ACPM IT Consulting Ltd. an international consulting company today announced the expansion of ACPM IT Consulting to Kenya. As part of this expansion, it shared details of a Memorandum of Understanding with @iLabAfrica Centre -Strathmore University and BCK Kenya. The overarching goal is to make it safer for Kenyans to access the internet without having their data compromised. The Strathmore ACPM SOC as a Service will provide the best way for companies to outsource their Security Monitoring by providing the benefits of 24/7 monitoring, decrease in cybersecurity threats to IT infrastructure, achieving regulatory compliance and Saving money.

The African market is experiencing significant rise in cybercrime due to fast-paced technological advances and companies are investing more in Cybersecurity experts to help prevent cyber-attacks.

Through the Hungarian Embassy in Kenya, ACPM IT is collaborating with @iLabAfrica Strathmore University and BCK to provide information and assistance to academic and commercial sector in Kenya on risk reduction and computer security incidents. This partnership will equip African students with the technical skills and certifications required to help companies prevent cybercrime and build the Kenyan economy.

@iLabAfrica- Strathmore University has built an international reputation for its world-class academic teaching, professional training, and research in technology. Working with ACPM IT and BCK, the University has already begun training students on various cyber security training programs and is providing cybersecurity services to potential clients.

@iLabAfrica, a Centre of Excellence in Research and Innovation in Information Communication Technology at the University, is spearheading the rollout and students will be able to benefit from access to high-quality learning online resources, hands-on lab experiences to develop technical skills, and the opportunity to achieve industry-recognised cybersecurity certification to complement their chosen fields of study.

“We are delighted to be part of this partnership with ACPM IT and BCK to help train and equip our students and the public with the right skills to help companies in Kenya fight cybercrime. We are happy for the support from the Hungarian Embassy in Kenya for helping to facilitate this partnership from a government perspective in partnership with Academia and Media. From this collaboration we look forward to bring skills to the local workforce, provide a service to local companies and an opportunity for us to further embark on research and understand what is happening in the world of IT in Kenya.” said Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University.

“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding between ACPM IT Solutions, ILabAfrica and BCK features a historic moment as the first Foreign Direct Investment from Hungary to Kenya. This partnership will ensure the training and employment of highly-skilled cybersecurity experts to run the SOC and will save billions of Kenyan shillings for those companies that are affected by cybercrime in Kenya.,” said Mr Marton Milkos, CEO, ACPM IT.

The Partnership has come at a time when kenya is experiencing cybercrime attacks and organisations are looking for ways to safeguard their ventures.

The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Student Social Innovation Challenge

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Are you a university student that wants to solve problems that matter? You’re in the right place.

Acumen with support from The Rockefeller Foundation have launched a global challenge platform for university students to come together and develop innovative solutions to problems associated with poverty

The organizations will equip students with the skills, guidance, and resources needed to develop innovative solutions for some of the world’s most intractable social problems.

The best ideas will win up to $20,000 in funding as well as an invitation to an exclusive community of experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and change agents, who will help transform these ideas into successful enterprises.

To learn more on this challenge. Click here 

 

Standard Chartered and @iBizAfrica Women In Technology Incubator Launch

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On Monday 2nd October 2017, @iBizAfrica in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank launched Women in Technology Incubator program at Strathmore University. The programme 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 expertise.

Speaking during the launch Sunil Kaushal, Standard Charted Bank Regional CEO (Africa Middle East), talked about the growing gender digital divide on socio-economic practices, which he said have resulted in women lagging behind in training and eventually starved off financial opportunities. Laming Manjang – CEO, Kenya, and East Africa from Standard Charted Bank took to the podium and in his remarks emphasized how sustainability is a core priority for Standard Charted Bank work and they will do this by empowering entrepreneurs.

DSC_0079.JPGThe event was officially launched by Sammy Itemere, Kenya Government Principal Secretary of Broadcast, and Telecommunications who talked about how the government has and is still putting up measures that ensure technology is accessible to everyone.  He also talked about how the launch of the incubator is important for our country Kenya as investing in women is insurance for our country and the future.

During the event, there was an all-women discussion panel that talked about women entrepreneurs; cost of technology in running business and digital divide. The panel talked about how it is important for women to access more hands on training, mentoring, long-term engagement to help businesses grow, while funding is important, it is not enough. Ms. Anne Mutahi, board chairperson of Standard charted in her remarks talked about how the incubator will break the barriers women have in getting into the technology field.DSC_0184.JPG

The Standard Chartered team together with the Principal Secretary then went for the tour of the incubation facility at @iBizAfrica where the selected women who will take part in the program will be incubated.

The program will combine world-class startup support with local and international experience to provide Africa’s most competitive and attractive startup incubation program focusing immersive learning, mentorship, building and growing Africa’s next iconic startups taking on the continent’s most relevant challenges and opportunities.

The participants who will apply online will then be invited for a pitch to a panel of judges will then select the top 10 contestants who  will go through a 10-week incubation period where they will be coached and  mentored.  Five of the lucky participants will stand a chance of winning $10,000 to help grow their business.

  To be able to take part in the program, please apply here.

Global Entrepreneurship Network Startup Open 2017 Competition

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Startup Open is a global competition that is open to entrepreneurs from any industry with a new business that has yet to raise any outside capital from angel investors, venture capital firms or other formal sources of seed funding. More than 1,000 teams applied to compete in 2017.

 

Rules

  1. All applications must be submitted in English.
  2. Applications will be accepted from 03 April 2017, until 30 September 2017.
  3. Applications will only be accepted online through the Startup Compete platform or through an officially approved Global/National Competition.
  4. It is not required that a startup be incorporated, but a company cannot be incorporated over 18 months to compete.
  5. You must be starting a for-profit company, or a non-profit that does not rely on grants.
  6. Your startup must be pre-money, no venture funding, at time of application

Eligibility

  • YES Stand-up phase when individuals or groups are equipped with the entrepreneurial attitudes and skills to attempt the creation of new company.
  • YES Start-up phase when resources are mobilized and regulatory requirements fulfilled to start a new company.
  • NO Scale-up phase when successful companies expand their businesses to new markets or in innovative ways.
  • NO Exit phase when a business owner or an investor decides to cash out an investment made in the past through trade sale or merger with a larger player in the industry (merger and acquisitions), secondary sales to third parties or initial public offerings (IPOs).

Judges

The winners will be selected by a panel of judges who are looking at a range of criteria including growth potential, passion, creativity, level of idea development, and their pitching skills. Each judge’s score is weighed equally.

Prizes

One winner of Startup Open receive a trip for one (1) founder to Istanbul, Turkey (room accommodation, flight and meals) where they will receive VIP delegate credentials to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in April 2018. In addition to the Grand Prize GEC experience, all 10 finalists gain a spot in the exclusive GEN Starters Club, with additional chances there to travel to Istanbul for GEC 2018.

All Finalists will also compete in a public voting round during Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 13-19) for the 2017 GEW People’s Choice Prize.

Applicants will have until September 30 to submit their startup.

For more information on the application process and the competition, please visit here .

Be part of Startup Mentoring by Enpact.

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Are you ready to scale up your business/ startup and looking to work closely with international experts and mentors

 Who can apply?

Entrepreneurs who…

  • Are beyond concept validation and prototype phase in their market
  • Want to improve their business operations with insights and best practices from experts and international mentors and other fast-moving entrepreneurs
  • Wish to experience an outstanding and long lasting personal and entrepreneurial journey alongside engaging in the enpact community
  • Are from Kenya, Germany, the East African region or Europe
  • are committed to doing the entire 8-month mentoring programme.

What is in it for you?

You will…

  • Work on new and exciting challenges to overcome with team, funding, product development, positioning, pivoting or business development
  • Explore new markets or consolidate within the national market
  • Pitch to an extensive network of partners (corporates, investors, influencers, etc.)
  • Gain exposure via international and regional media outlets
  • Exchange stories about failures, lessons, tips and tricks with the enpact community.

What is the programme about?

Over the last few years, startup mentoring by Enpact has driven ambitious entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles, scale their business, connect internationally with partners and gain new insights to develop their strategy and strengthen their management skills.

So far, more than 200 entrepreneurs have been through our programme and we have developed a pool of 100+ highly qualified mentors & experts. Participants from our earlier programme have employed 4 or more people in the first year and we are proud to see that they have a 80% survival rate.

Click here if you want to know more about what makes Enpact 8-month international mentoring program special!