12 Hours Left For E. Africa Amplify Challenge


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If you are a fan of design and all the innovations taking place in the global design world then you are in for a surprise. For the past few days openideo has been organizing a Youth Empowerment challenge for all the interested parties to apply for the challenge.

The challenge has so far received tremendous applications which can viewed on the openideo dashboard. There are 455 ideas submitted so far and counting. There are also a few research contributions on how the Youth can be empowered. The 269 contributions can assist you as an entrepreneur in knowing exactly what the East African Youth value the most.

By giving feedback on the submitted ideas, you can ensure that the $500,000 prize goes to the right idea… or not.

Enjoy

THE DIGITAL FILM INDUSTRY


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On Saturday 18th April, quite a number of film enthusiast turned out for the launch of Africa Digital Marketing Institute College.   The launch started off with the MC ( non-other than Larry Madowo) making an introduction of himself and clearly giving the audience the program  of the day. After adding a few jokes, He blatted “Coming on stage is  EA Cables manager,  Former director Vision 2030 secretariat, former Pan Africa insurance C.E.O and with a masters from MIT… Mr Mugo Kibati.”

MR. MUGO KIBATI

MR. MUGO KIBATI

Mr. Mugo energetically jumps on stage. He feels it urgent to point out that lapsset [http://www.lapsset.go.ke], Konza city [http://www.konzacity.go.ke/] and SGR [http://krc.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SGR-Brochure.pdf] are all initiatives under the Vision 2030 that rolled out in 2013. Our journey towards transforming Kenya still goes on. Thanks for ADMI(Africa digital marketing institute) for organizing this event today since the development of film is critical to the economy. It should be more local and our own in terms of content.

“The gap on the supply side of local films is huge.” When Nairobi half-life came out two years ago, Kenyans turned up in numbers to watch. Currently it is safe to say that there has not been a movie that has reached that height.

“We must also have stakeholders able to produce quality films and also to ensure we have enough supply.” Said Mr. Mugo. He pointed out that the role of the government is merely to offer the platform for the services to take place. The mentality of people viewing the government as someone over there with a suit and tie holding a briefcase with huge sums of money inside should change. “Try taking to it” he concluded. He also noted that one should clearly explain and show the value of what they are to produce to the person in the government for them to take your idea seriously by quote “When you have an idea don’t take/pitch it half baked… people get tired.  ”

Since Vision 2030 was all about creating the right environment for Kenyans and investors. I decided to talk to one of the organizers Edward Olumola, the business development manager at ADMI.

The college started back in 2012 mainly majoring in Film training. When it started, it was called Jamhuri Film and TV academy or JFTA. This was due to the vast growth in the film and TV area. Re-branding took place about a month ago. This came due to the fact that they saw the need for new programs with the new digital media. “The mass communication that is being offered currently considers the digital migration.” Said Mr Edward. Though he admitted that there needs to be more sensitization of the public when it comes to film. If only there was such a tender then ‘we’ would be rich.

By Neville Mugambi

The Ultimate Forum


A talk at the sci(school of computing and informatics)

A talk at the sci(school of computing and informatics)

Getting inspired as a student to view the course that you are currently doing as a potential career subject is becoming something of the blues. the attitude that most undergraduate students have nowadays is tilted(as i can put it) to the pessimistic side due to the high unemployment rates being experienced in the current. With regard to inspiration or rather motivation, the school of computing and information at Chiromo is collaborating with the Code for development laboratory to inspire youths around their ecosystem.

The “program” or procedure to get to know when to get inspired starts with the simple journey of you following a Facebook page from the school of computing, twitter page or by following the famous tech savvy graduate “prof Nandaa” https://twitter.com/profnandaa.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”>

Just checked in at @Deveint for weekly #TGIF, let’s see how it goes. @MurayaKamau @crushcafeteria @samsoftK

— Anthony Nandaa (@ProfNandaa) April 10, 2015

The hash-tag is #PowerForum. after following these related social media channels, book your Wednesday afternoon to navigate your way to Chiromo campus for one of their talks.

one of the Lecturer theaters set up.

one of the Lecturer theaters set up.

I managed to attend the last two #PowerForums this year and meet a couple of leaders/Who is who in the tech space in Kenya. I also got to see the bigger picture that these talks aren’t just meant for computer geeks but also guys trying to run enterprises.

There is a bit of a downer though. you might never really get to know who will be giving the talks since you need to get an Eventbrite ticket to get those details. Simply following the action on twitter or Facebook will not do any good.  Taking advantage of the opportunity with the guest speaker is quite easy at this forum though you need to carry your own business card… just in case. Thirdly getting the directions for riverside drive… and the lecturer theater is many a times a nightmare to the attendees unless of-course you are a university of Nairobi alumni.

 

By Neville Mugambi.

CITADEL MICRO-ISURANCE AGENCY


Elvis-Ackel

Micro-insurance and Micro-Finance cover the same type of people. The conventional market for insurance is people who have money. They are basically trying to sell a promise to their customer. Close to 50 insurance companies and their low market penetration was what challenged Elvis Ackel to open Kenya’s first Micro-insurance company(Citadel). The main question was how to expand the insurance market.

Citadel targets the UN-insured but insurable person/people. The people that live between 300 to 500 Kenya shillings a day. “This is a very risky venture” as Elvis describes it. Being a social entrepreneur in the insurance market he mainly seeks to

  • build knowledge
  • build capacity and
  • build awareness

The low income earners/Bottom of the pyramid are much more aware than the guy who sits in the office. The Insurance Regulatory Authority act on Micro insurance was basically made with this market segment in mind with the help of the Elvis.

 

 

LETHALSMALLZ FROM WASHAMBA WENZA LAUNCHES ALBUM


 

Lethalsmallz(A Kenyan Artsit) is going solo after launching his album Common Mwanainch. He has featured artists like Benadi, Wakesho, Kimya(Bamboos brother), Kev mamba, Kimathi, Charles Ouda, Ananda(an upcoming raga sensation), Wira, Buju Razor, Phonez, Judge and Dez 32. The album was compiled from various recording studios. These include G-ganji records, Kusini records and A-world.

The album is a contemporary Hip-hop album with a Kenyan feel to it. The lead track in the album which is also called common mwanainch is a collaboration with Kimya and the music video is also out. You can get to watch the video on YouTube.

Here is the full list of the album:

We Here Now

Rome Ft MnM

Usijaribu ft Benady

Call On You Ft Wakesho

Life  Ft Buju Razor

Common Mwananchi Ft Kimya

Celebrate  Ft Ananda

Lethal Love

Fungua Macho Ft Judge

Sorry

Praise God

Believers

Nataka Kudoz

Hold it Down ft Benady & Charli

On Toes Ft Ananda  DEZ 32 Kev Mamba & Flamez

Abdouba Dida (Star)

Life Of An Artiste (L.O.A)

Vile Inafaa ft Benady

Many Mcs Ft Judge

By Trevor Makamu
The album has 19 tracks. Most of the music enthusiasts I have interacted with are of the opinion that in Kenya, to make it as an artist one still has no option but to compile an album first. The success of the Washamba Wenza crew is visible in Nairobi. The crew currently organize an event called Hip-hop hookup at the famous Sarakasi Dome every month.

KENYA’S FIRST COMPUTER HARDWARE, BRCK


iHUB hardware device known as brck

iHUB hardware device known as brck

what happens at the silicon savannah? what else is Kenya known for except for M-pesa? who is taking advantage of the mobile device market in Kenya?… These are some of the questions that were lingering in  mind some time back. There was a very thin line between mobile innovation, start-ups and technology. Wait until iHUB came along in 2010. Their success stories in the recent past include Ushahidi (ushahidi.com)and kopokopo(kopokopo.com). These projects and their massive number of techies at their premise have enabled iHUB to be one of the leading innovation centers in East and Central Africa.

BRCK (http://www.brck.com/), which is their latest project is a bit different form the iHUB caliber. This is a state of the art hardware that interestingly looks like a small construction brick. Thus the name BRCK.

The hardware is said to be able to offer WIFI connectivity for mobile devices without requiring to be powered by electricity. Its target market, in my opinion is the tourists who come to Kenya not knowing that internet connectivity is a luxury in East Africa. The BRCK devices doubles up as a router, gateway and modem. For more specifications on the devices follow http://www.brck.com/specification/

iHUB founder with his brck device

iHUB founder with his brck device

Many African countries have already beat Kenya to chase being able to make their own mobile phone brands and tablets, even laptop brands. None of these has been innovation but a way to take advantage of the cheap production costs in China. Maybe this could be one of those products that will take the market by storm like Mobile money’s M-pesa or it would not. But the main point to put across to world is that, Kenya is not sleeping in terms of innovation.

By Neville Mugambi.

photos courtesy: brck.com and http://techpresident.com

 

FABLAB UON, THE BEST INNOVATION CENTRE


FABLAB

FABLAB

Most Kenyans probably have not heard about FabLab UoN and the activities that go on there. It is a place where electrical and mechanical engineering enthusiasts are abundant. Though even most of the undergraduate students in Kenya taking these courses have no idea of the services it offers. I asked one a random engineering student this week whether they new what goes on in the lab. They told me that they have free WIFI. That was correct but it dint hit the student that this is just one of their hands on projects.

The success of the projects in the lab have led to them winning the Best Innovation center award from Transform Kenya. The award was humbly recieved by Dr. Kamau Gachigi(Director) on 20/7/2014. Their greatest asset is the fabrication resources that they have in their laboratory. From 3D printers to laser gagdets. Here is the Fabrication Laboratory breakdown that has its roots from MIT(Massachusetts institute of technology)

What is the Fab Lab?

The Fab Lab is basically a collection of tools and equipment that leverage the power of Digital Fabrication Techniques in the hands of the average innovative mind.

Fab labs share core capabilities so that projects can be shared across them. This currently includes:

-A computer-controlled laser-cutter, for press-fit assembly of 3D structures from 2D parts

-A larger (4′x8′) numerically-controlled milling machine, for making furniture- (and house-) sized parts

A signcutter, to produce printing masks, flexible circuits, and antennas

-A precision (micron resolution) milling machine to make three-dimensional molds and surface-mount circuit boards

Programming tools for low-cost high-speed embedded processors

These work with components and materials optimized for use in the field, and are controlled with custom software for integrated design, manufacturing, and project management. This inventory is continuously evolving, towards the goal of a fab lab being able to make a fab lab.

Fab labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). CBA assembled millions of dollars in machines for research in digital fabrication, ultimately aiming at developing programmable molecular assemblers that will be able to make almost anything. Fab labs fall between these extremes, comprising roughly fifty thousand dollars in equipment and materials that can be used today to do what will be possible with tomorrow’s personal fabricators.

Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway, and now Kenya. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.

source: courtesy http://uonfablab.wordpress.com

By Neville Mugambi.