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Team Convifarm Wins the Strathmore- Waterloo Inaugural Agribusiness Mobile Tech Challenge

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The Winners Convifarm with Dr Victor Kyalo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communication and Information

WINNERS: Team Convifarm with Dr. Victor Kyalo (PS, Ministry of Information and Communications)

Six fervent teams of university students across the country, took part in an exciting 1 year incubation programme courtesy of a strong collaboration between Strathmore University and University of Waterloo. The six who were shortlisted from a group of 45 teams comprised of; Mkulima, Kilimo Watch, Convifarm, Greenup_africa, eVet, and Agribora. Greenup_africa won 2nd place while Convifarm bagged the winning price.

The challenge aimed at producing solutions that would address agricultural issues in Sub-Saharan Africa using mobile and social networking technologies. Mobile technologies are transforming sub-Saharan Africa through providing individuals in the region with previously unimaginable access to information and, as a result, significantly impacting the economies of the region. This has opened opportunities to develop and improve social and economic systems in ways that can truly impact the ‘bottom-of-the-pyramid’ in Africa. Agriculture was chosen due to the mainstay of at least 80% of the Kenyan population and therefore has a direct impact on the bottom of the pyramid masses.

“The University of Waterloo is rich on entrepreneurship, it is the one reason we were happy to join hands with them. While we chose agriculture because it is one of the businesses that provides a large revenue to the country,” Dr. Sevilla, Director at @ILabAfrica Research Centre and @IBiz Incubation Centre, explained while giving his welcoming remarks.

The business incubation was facilitated by the use of a Virtual Technology Platform – a CONRAD University of Waterloo initiative and the first of its kind to be used in Africa. The platform aims at enhancing opportunities for entrepreneurs with novel ideas to benefit from training and funding that will launch sustainable enterprises. The program also aligns to the running policy of the Jubilee government on entrepreneurs’ empowerment. This programme was also officially launched during the awarding ceremony.

Dr. Victor Kyalo – representing CS Ministry of Information and Communications, while giving the key note address lauded the students for engaging in a virtual incubation initiative that is different. He also stressed out the fact that there are numerous opportunities for information capital to be exploited in the country and such a step is commendable.

The winning team Convifarm, comprised of two students – Norman Muga from Strathmore University pursuing a course in Bachelor of Business Information Technology (BBIT) and Mburu Njunge from Kenyatta University pursuing a Bachelor of Science (BSCs) in dry land agriculture and enterprise development. Convifarm was created to bring convenience to farmers through mobile agriculture in accessing information and services across diverse enterprises along the agricultural value chain.

The team wins a fully paid trip to Waterloo, Ontario Canada where they get an opportunity of observing the Waterloo eco-system of venture creation, and to meet individuals and groups that can further assist in developing their idea.

The second team Greenup_africa comprised of three students – Peter Okwara from University of Nairobi (UoN), Samuel Kamau from Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology (JKUAT) and Hiral Shah from USIU. Greenup_africa connects farmers to farmers and eventually farmers to buyers. It helps farmers reduce the production process by cutting the middlemen and brokers. The team hopes to scale this application to the counties, helping the grassroots farmers to have control on whatever they produce by stabilizing the market and stabilizing the prices.

2nd Winners GreenUp Africa with Dr Joseph Sevilla and Alfred Gathogo

2nd Place: Team Greenup_Africa with Dr. Sevilla(Director @iLabAfrica) and Mr. Gathogo(SEDC Lectrurer)

The team win the option of participating in the Enterprise Development Program offered by the Strathmore Enterprise Development Centre (SEDC) worth Kshs 480,000. Team members will have the chance of meeting seasoned entrepreneurs and trainers enabling the team to practically implement their business model and grow their enterprise. The team was also given the opportunity to engage the county government administration through Ms Anna Othoro who represented the office, on potential funding options for their application.

We thank all the teams for taking part in this competition and all stakeholders for the support that they offered.

 

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Strathmore – Waterloo challenge Awards

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Mobile Technology Challenge and Virtual Incubation Program

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The University of Waterloo, Canada, and Strathmore University, Kenya, are collaborating to support technology incubation programs in Kenya focused on the use of mobile and social media technologies to find solutions to socio-economic problems affecting large numbers of the population.

Mobile technologies are transforming sub-Saharan Africa. They are providing individuals in the region with previously unimaginable access to information and, as a result, significantly impacting the economies of the region. This has opened opportunities to develop and improve social and economic systems in ways that can truly impact the ‘bottom-of-the-pyramid’ in Africa.

The two Universities have conducted an agricultural mobile application challenge that is meant to address challenges that farmers encounter in the agricultural sector. Agriculture was chosen since this is the mainstay of at least 80% of the Kenyan population and therefore has a direct impact on the bottom of the pyramid masses.

The challenge kicked off in January of this year with a total of 45 teams applying. 28 were shortlisted in the first round. In the second round 10 were further shortlisted and then a final selection of six teams. These top six teams have undergone a vigorous incubation program that was conducted by the Strathmore University team and the University of Waterloo, Conrad Business School, Virtual Incubation Program team.

The business incubation was facilitated by use of a virtual technology platform. This is the first of its kind in Africa and it will further enhance opportunities for entrepreneurs with novel ideas to benefit from training and funding to launch sustainable enterprises. The Virtual Incubation Program aligns to the running policy of the Jubilee government on entrepreneurs’ empowerment.

There will be a ceremony to launch the virtual incubation program. During this ceremony the six finalist teams will be acknowledged. The teams represent various universities from the entire country, namely,

Masinde Muliro University, Egerton University, Nairobi University, Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, United States International University Africa and Strathmore University.  The prizes for the first two teams will be:

  • The first prize is a fully paid one-week fellowship at the University of Waterloo, Ontario Canada
  • Second prize is a fully paid admittance to the 6-months Strathmore Enterprise Development Program run by the Strathmore Enterprise Development Centre (SEDC).

The ceremony is scheduled for Friday 22nd January 2016 and will take place @iBizAfrica, Strathmore University, 5th Floor Student Center.

The Waterloo-Strathmore Challenge- 1st inaugural Mobile Technology Challenge

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Strathmore University, Kenya and the University of Waterloo, Canada have partnered to bring you the 2014 Mobile Technology Student competition. The theme for this 1st inaugural competition is:

To address agricultural issues in sub-Saharan Africa using mobile and social networking technologies

Here are a list of topics you can focus on but your ideas are NOT  limited to:-

  • Water
  • Food safety
  • Food traceability
  • Food supply sustainability
  • Agriculture waste management
  • Value of social networks in improving any of all aspects of the agriculture value chain
  • Technology as an enabler for food tracking

Teams are encouraged to think broadly on the above or related topics.

   Prizes 

1st Prize: The winning team will win a fully paid trip to Waterloo, Ontario Canada to give the winning team the opportunity of observing the Waterloo eco-system of venture creation and to meet individuals and groups that can further assist in developing their idea (subject to visa issuance) A complete agenda of this visit will be made available in February 2015.

2nd Prize: One team will be offered a chance to participate in the highly competitive Enterprise Development Program offered by the Strathmore Enterprise Development Centre. This training package is worth Kshs 480,000. Team members will have the chance of meeting seasoned entrepreneurs and trainers which will enable the team to practically implement their business model and grow their enterprise.

Other Prizes: Five teams will have a chance to work at the @iLabAfrica incubator at Strathmore University from February 5, 2015 – April 3, 2015. 

Who can participate?

1. We are inviting teams of Kenyans to bring their technical skills and innovative thinking to solve a real-world problem.
2. The competition is open to teams of maximum four students from Kenyan Universities to submit their registration form and brief description of the agricultural problem they believe can be alleviated by a mobile-based solution.

What you need to know:-

1. Teams will be informed if they have been accepted into the competition challenge by January 13th , 2015.
2.Challenge officially begins on January 15, 2015 with the first of three rounds of video pitches administered by University of Waterloo’s Virtual Incubation Program.

Learn more about this exciting competition by clicking here. Share this information far and wide with your friends and those in your networks.

All the best!!