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1N8A0418Led by Equity Investment Banks as the lead transactional advisors and OMK advocates, CDSC Registrars, ABC Capital and AIB Capital and other partners, Kenya’s Empire Microsystems is set become the first ICT firm to list on the Growth Entreprise Market (GEMS Pdf) listing on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, a move the firm says will to set it ready for the increasing ICT and Oil and gas opportunities in the country.

The listing, set to be done in a few weeks, will see Empire become the ICT platform the firm has been dreaming of creating in the country for long. This will also make it a high impact high growth firm ripe for external investments into its projects.

Speaking exclusively to TechMoran, Empire Microsystems founder and CEO James Mworia said, “Empire the company does not need money to exist but Empire needs the money to do its ICT projects. Countrywide and maintain them. Investors will invest in this projects and Empire will continue rolling out its ICT projects across the country with or without the investments.”

The firm says it has already applied at the NSE and says approval is not later than this month.  The firm did its first application in December last year which was late in the year and it needed to audit its 2014 than the projections it had used. The application also needed to be subjected to the board which has since been done and the firm is only waiting for the listing.

Empire Microsystems says it’s doing this because there’s no ICT platform for anyone to invest in the market. Mworia wants to build something like Centum with as many ICT dealings as possible and with as many people investing in it. He says there’s a huge opportunity in ICT especially infrastructure and oil and gas.

We are listing a platform to allow investors to come and invest in us. So that investors in either Japan can come and invest in one of our projects and make money out of it. The opportunity is huge in both hardware and software in Kenya. That’s why whenever Safaricom does something it becomes a success. The data tsunami is here. There’s room in telecommunications, software and financial solutions for entrepreneurs,” Mworia says. “The trend in the market is getting more and more mainstream. You realize the government took to tech to solve the security problem and in financial inclusion the government turned to M-Pesa to solve the problem.”

But the journey has not been as easy.

Empire Microsystems began as a software development house developing software for cooperative societies (Sacco’s). In January 2006 as his final year project, Mworia took up his first business deal with a leading Sacco where he chose to do the job as a company rather than take it as fulltime employee. He chose not to go for his attachment too.

With Ksh 100,000 in cash after building the Sacco MIS, he set out to his own office.  By end of 2006, Mworia had 3 customers for his Sacco MIS. Later the same year, his co-director joined to help him and they hired 2 more staff to help in the deployment and implementation of the systems.

In 2007, they began reaching out to SMEs and Sacco’s which had never been computerized before. In 2008, the firm was approached by the ministry of co-operative societies to train Sacco’s on automation. The firm generously gave out its product to Sacco’s for free and saw it grow its customer base from 5 to 20.

empIn 2009, Empire realized that the company could grow as there was opportunity in the IT industry and it just needed to be smart and offer more solutions in the ICT sector.

“In 2009, we adopted our first diversification and expansion strategy, moved into our new and bigger offices to accommodate more employees as part of this expansion drive. In 2008/09 fibre optic cables had landed in Mombasa and the first people to launch the fibre to the home were the Wananchi Group. For their theirr triple play services. We hired more engineers and bought more bought more vehicles and did more training to take up this task.”

As it took up the new outsourcing business, Empire continued with the automation of saccos.

By 2012, fiber was becoming mainstream and Safaricom approached them to do their services and then Jamii Telecom, Orange Telecom, MTN Business, Huawei, Ericson and Liquid Telecom. But as more customers we jetting in, the firm realized there was a gap in project management of all ICT projects. They then began managing these fiber projects for this firms and the business took off very fast as there was a real gap.

Now as contractors in 2014, the firm realized the future of business was data and they were well positioned in the market but needed to transform themselves to a real corporate entity. Mworia then set up a corporate government for Empire, approached former Kenya Wildlife Services Julius Kipngetich and four more directors with various expertise to put together a board of directors. The firm also structured in-house.

1N8A0167After that the firm realized it still needed profiling as most of the ICT industry didn’t know it. It also needed to raise capital and do joint partnerships hence the idea of the listing.

“The listing will assist in a number of ways. Profiling Empire for visibility, attract new business, as well as partners and investors. It will strategically position ourselves in the market and give as a strong brand value to capture more projects,” Mworia told TechMoran.

Like he said earlier, Mworia insists the listing and the raise is not for money to run the company but do the ICT projects the firm has planned countrywide and continue rolling out many others with its current partners. It would be a way to value the company minute by minute for its own price discovery which would help the firm attract more investors.

“Different people want to grow themselves. They are those who go up to sixty or seventy to list. We want to show the market that you can start small,” he says adding that Empire will be a case study for Kenya just like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp for Silicon Valley.

Though the journey looks so smooth, Mworia says there have been challenges like IT Skills in the country and high employee turnover in the ICT sector. He also also says Capital and the constant changes in technology means every day is a training day and brand visibility is also a lot of work.

There was a time when signing a deal in his early 20s was a hindrance but now things are different.

Mworia works 14 hours a day and the rest is family time.

 

 

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Image credit: www.3mteamblog.com

Image credit: www.3mteamblog.com

14 startups from Africa are among SWIFT Innotribe’s 60 finalists out of the 370 early-stage and growth-stage startup applicants, to participate in the 2015 Startup Challenge.

This years competition will see the startups get the opportunity to pitch their new products during the regional showcases in London (22 April), Cape Town (6 May), Singapore (28 May) and New York (18 June).

The Cape Town Semi-finalists include:South Africa’s 2Quins, Zimbabwe’s BitFinance, Bristlecone Holdings,  Creditable, Ex Nihilo Labs, Uganda’s Intelworld, SA’s Kulea Consulting, LulaLend, MyDigiVault, SA’s Notafy, Nigeria’s SafePersona Services, SA’s ScanMan, YueDilligence and ZAQ. The Cape Town leg of the startup challenge will see a hand-picked audience of financial services experts, angel investors, venture capitalists, and global bank decision-makers attend the Cape Town showcase and vote for the top five companies which will progress to participate as finalists in the Innotribe Startup Challenge Grand Finale, which will be held on 14 October 2015 at Sibos in Singapore.

 Now in the second year running, the challenge brings together global innovators and investors, strategists, and influential decision-makers in fin-tech to help bridge the gap between the startup ecosystem and the financial service community.

Fabian Vandenreydt, Head of Markets Management at SWIFT said, “The regional showcases represent a unique platform for discussion, debate, and high-level networking for our community and are a great opportunity for the startups to meet face to face with potential investors, partners and customers. We are excited to start this year’s journey and look forward to seeing the startups pitch their innovative products with determination during the regional showcases.”

Each semi-finalist will receive complimentary coaching sessions with seasoned entrepreneurs to give them advice ahead of the formal pitches to a select audience of judges from across the financial services industry.

The Innotribe programme  gives coaching to startups in how to engage the more established financial services providers and between how startups and banks practice innovation, and is a meetup to evaluate new technologies and models, and helps our startups identify appropriate partners and investors.

 

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slotomaniaGaming has been highly entertaining ever since the arrival of the desktop versions of the various games. Later, the smartphone games started entertaining commuters, and the games were trimmed to suit the needs of the smartphone gamers to pass on their free time and to carry out their entertainment. Also, it has to be taken into note that the games are varied for the iOS and Android users. Here are the some of the popular free iPad games available in the market.

Monument Valley

This is a puzzle game that inspires from the optical illusions, and the MC Escher Prints shadow too can be seen. The players need to guide Princess Ida through the weird monuments and structures. The players are interested in the touch controls and can be used to rotate the screen, and they manipulate the environment. The players have a responsibility to guide the princess through the safe path, and the gamers have to navigate through the optical illusions which are seemingly impossible to move through.

Plants vs. Zombies 2

The sequel to the plants vs. zombies is this game, and this has been anticipated for long by the players. The solid tower defense mechanics and the cute graphics combo make this game more fantastic. The new plants like the lightning Reed and the bloomerang. There are also new zombies, like the chicken wranglers and the pirates. The players can find themselves in the captivating scenes of Egypt, Wild West, Piracy, and with new scenarios come the new challenges.

Quiz Up

This is a trivia game, and with the more polished features like the interface the lots of trivia questions are thrown up. The gamers can enjoy the set up of diverse questions and it can be played up with the rest of the players across the world. The players can make a choice of the category to be played, and you can find the app finding partners for you instantly. The players are given the score based on how they answer the questions that have multiple choices. The rounds can be ultimately entertaining, as they are fun and furious.  The players can also find this game helping them to get involved in the chats discussing the questions and making friends quickly.

World of Tanks Blitz

The war gaming combat MMO goes mobile in this game. This game for the iOS comes for free, and you can see that this is a version that is minimized from the desktop version to suit the smartphones. The players need to take control over the Russians, Americans, and Germans. You can engage in the 7 vs. 7 multiplayer game modes. There are lots of maps available and modeling of shell physics and the performance of the tank is also done. The game controls are available as intuitive and meant to enhance the user experience on the touch screens.

Slotomania

This free iPad slots app is enjoyed by millions of people across the world, and there are lots of features that make the players enjoy this online slot game. The players never get bored of the Slotomania slot games, as there are new games updated more often. The gamers can also enjoy the promotions and offers. The points you have earned can be sent as the free gifts to the friends who also play this game. The graphics and sound are excellent and bright. Over 90 slot games are available in Slotomania, and players can enjoy free rounds, spins, and gifts frequently. The game assures continued excitement from all the corners of the world regardless of the time frame.

 

 

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new-startup-grindBy Emmanuel Simon

Startup Grind is set to be held in Dar es Salaam Tanzania this 31st March, 2015 at the BUNI Innovation Hub space within Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology building at Science Kijitonyama.

More and more today’s economic scene is driven by meaningful connections. Be it Apple Computers in the USA, Semco Group in Brazil or Safaricom in Kenya, the most successful companies have found ways to leverage meaningful connections between people, ideas and technologies to direct their value creation activities and propel them into becoming leaders in their industries.

Picture44How did they go about creating these meaningful connections?

 Have you ever met the “pitch-preneur”? After half an hour talking to this type of entrepreneur, they are still trying to tell you about how their ideas are the most important thing that ever happened to mankind. That there is no higher purpose you could ever achieve other than investing your time and/or money into their dreams. They have not listened to you for a single second. They make you wonder why you dint find an excuse to move away from them after the first minute…

On the other hand, there is this business person you meet and they make you feel like they were put on this earth to help you achieve your dreams. They want to listen to you talk about your interests and your struggles. They even give you advice on ways you could overcome these hurdles, and don’t really ask for anything in return. They are not trying to pitch you; they are actually rooting for your success. Days after meeting them, you still find yourself wondering how you could return the favour. Needless to say, the first chance you get to bring business their way, whether directly or through referrals, brings you joy and makes you feel just as helpful as they had been to you. You want to tell people about them because you think they would gain as much as you did.

 Being helpful is the secret of forging meaningful connections in business.

 People form business relationships with people. Not brands or companies, but actual human beings. Listening to them and knowing what they need is one of the hardest, yet most valuable lessons any entrepreneur could learn. The more you help people – the more you invest in them – the better the future of your business becomes. Apple wanted to help people increase productivity, Semco wanted to help make their workers’ lives more meaningful, and Safaricom wanted to help bring banking services to the millions who could not access it. And therein lay their success.

 Picture46(1)Startup Grind is founded on fundamental values; making friends and not just contacts, helping others before we help ourselves and always giving more than we take. With these values we have spread to more than 150 cities in 65 countries all over the world, showing that meaningful connections is of universal value and sought after by all businesses no matter where they are founded.

 Startup Grind Dar es Salaam is a forum for founders and entrepreneurs to form these meaningful connections with each other and the more established players in their industries. Our monthly fire-side-chats, meet-up events and conferences seek to empower through connecting, educating and inspiring entrepreneurs from all fields of business. Anyone who has started or would like to start their own business shall find friendship, understanding and much needed support on this difficult entrepreneurship path so few have chosen to undertake.

Come journey with us.

 

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kaymuElectronics and fashion items sell fast in East Africa and Kaymu knows that. In a move to double orders from stores on its site, Rocket Internet’s Kaymu has scrapped off delivery fees for both women and men’s wear and electronics to takes on its competition.

The Free Shipping Category includes top selling electronics, men’s and women’s fashion enabling buyers enjoy the free shipping service.

In a statement made available to us, Kaymu Kenya Managing Director Aleeda Fazal said, “Customers are doing all they can to save their money come  this April holiday and we are excited to offer free shipment as an early Easter present to them.

We saw an enthusiastic response to our drop of shipment fee from Kshs 200 to Kshs 70 over the past one month and we are hoping our customers will see even more value with this new Free Shipping offer.”

According to the firm, buyers will also benefit from low prices, fast delivery (typically within 2-4 days) and a safe and easy “Pay on local pickup” payment system. Kilimall, a Kaymu competitor has quickly become popular despite the fact that Kaymu is an AIG firm run by multinational investors and telco’s MTN and Millicom and probably heavily funded than Kilimall which is also planning African expansion.

Kaymu is now present in over thirty five countries across Africa and Asia and recently-launched mobile application and scrapepd off fees for store online stores in a move to become the number one online shopping community for buyers and sellers in the country but Kilimall is still leading if the stats from Alexa.com mean anything.

At the moment, the two are not even able to saturate the Kenyan market and two more bigger players are needed to get every store in town online.

 

 

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 banner-03The fact that digital migration has been the talk of the continient means that it must have a humble beginning; and this humble beginning started in the early 2000 when a number of countries from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regions 1 & 3 including Europe, Africa, Middle East expressed interest to introduce digital broadcasting.

Consequently, the ITU held the Regional Radiocommunications Conference in Geneva in June 2006 for planning of Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting Service in the frequency bands 174-230 MHz and 470-862 MHz, and drew up the Agreement and associated plans. The Agreement, known as the Geneva 06 (GE06), covered the use of Terrestrial Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB-T) standard for Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting Service and Terrestrial Digital Audio Broadcasting (T-DAB) standard for Digital Terrestrial Sound Broadcasting Service. Kenya is party to this Agreement.

The GE06 Agreement came into force on 17th June 2007 while the Transition period is from 17th June 2006 to 17th June 2015, during which the existing analogue assignments shall be protected. Thereafter, the analogue frequencies will be cancelled by the ITU and cease to be used in the countries party to agreement.

This is How It Sunk Its Roots In Kenya

a) Digital Television Committee Set Up

Arising from the GE06 Agreement, Kenya set up a multi-stakeholder national migration task force constituted in March, 2007, comprising of the then Communication Commission of Kenya ;CCK(now CA), representatives from the then of Ministry of Information and Communications (now Ministry of ICT)-, Media owners Association (MoA) and the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) to advise the government on a framework for migration so as to meet the international deadline of 17th June, 2015 deadline.

Thus the Digital Television Committee (DTC) was constituted in February, 2008, comprising of; Media Owners Association (MOA), MoICT, CCK, National Communications Secretariat (NCS), KBC, signal distributors, Digital Decoders Dealers Association, Consumer Groups, Digital Broadcasters Association, and Pay TV service providers to implement the recommendation of the National Migration Taskforce. As at January 2014, the DTC had held a total of 74 meetings since its inception, in addition to several other meetings held by its constituent subcommittees namely: the technical, regulatory, and consumer awareness.

b) What Is Pay (Subscription) Broadcasting

Pay TV Broadcasting refers to television and radio services broadcast in encrypted form requiring any person with the appropriate receiving equipment (eg Set Top Box) and to (pay) subscribe to receive the programs (channels) in addition to the initial cost of acquisition of the receiver.

c) How About Self-Provisioning License?

A Self-Provisioning Broadcasting Signal Distribution (SPBSD) license is a license that allows an entity to roll out its own network or utilize its existing infrastructure network to carry its own content. However the entity will in addition be required to have a broadcast content license.

d) Do You Require A SpecificSet Top Box (STB) To Receive FTA Channels?  

NO. Consumers do not need a specific Set Top Box to receive and watch Free-to-Air (FTA) channels. Any Type approved FTA set Top Box should be able to receive all Free to air channels.

The Authority Type Approves set top boxes and Integrated Digital TVs for use in Kenya, details are available on the Digital Kenya website:  www.digitalkenya.go.ke