KENNEDY WARIUA (IBM Kenyan leader, Ecosystems development) gave a very insightful talk at the University of Nairobi today talking about his life, career and being an entrepreneur. The session was meant for computer science students and the start-ups being incubated at the C4DLab innovation centre. http://www.c4dlab.ac.ke . The call from Kennedy to this audince doesnt come as a surprise since he is very fond of technology and likes working with innovative minds. The session went down at the Code For Development(C4DLab/Phd Lab) at the School of Computing and Informatics.
“I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship” He started. By 1994,” I had started doing my first Job” he continued.” there were no same opportunities as there are now, “he said. “The difference was the level of exposure to technolog”.
In that year, Kennedy started working at a shop at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport. He was supposed to go to started bachelor of Arts at Kenyatta University at the time but opted to go to employment since he was not into the arts but into tech. With a small monthly salary of 3,000/= Kenya shillings and siblings defendant on him, he had to supplement it. He started buying rice in bulk and selling to his colleagues at the airport at a profit. within a short time the venture was earning him more money than his job. He worked at the shop for 5 years.
By 2000, Kennedy had found a new place at KenCell communications Limited(Currently Airtel Kenya). He joined the telecommunications company when it was testing the market and still new. He worked there for 8years. During this period, he was also doing private studies online. He eventually graduated with a bachelors degree from Kenya Methodist University(K.E.M.U.).
He later joined Yu Mobile by Essar which was also starting its operations in Kenya at the time. He stilled worked at the technical and IT department as he did at KenCell. He worked there for 3years before joining the IBM team.
“IBM has invested billions to transform Africa” he continued. One of the reasons for this investment is to help de-congest the Nairobi city under their vision for a smarter planet. The main point of the talk was to help the students realize that to work better with IBM, they needed to align their goals with those of creating a smarter planet.
Finally, he urged the students to tryout their Global entrepreneur program. He pointed out the success of MODE(mobile decision) a Kenyan start-up that won the 2012 global IBM SmartCamp and through their program and mentorship is now available in 17 countries.
By Neville Mugambi
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