Taita Ngetich, University of Nairobi Student became the proud winner of the Kenya Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) competition, a program of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Taita, 22, bested his competitors with his innovative Illuminum Greenhouses Kenya, an agri-tech startup that is constructing affordable greenhouses made with local material that he runs while also attending University.
Taitawas declared the National Winner after beating out 8 finalists whom were selected from over 50 applicants.
This local entrepreneur will go on to represent Kenya at the 2016 GSEA Global Finals in Bangkok, Thailand. He will be competing against the top student entrepreneurs from around the world in the hopes of winning over US$400,000 in cash and donated prizes.
In order to qualify for this award, Taita had to be an undergraduate student and the owner of a for-profit (revenue generating) business that has operated for at least six consecutive months.
lluminum Greenhouses Kenya is an agri-tech startup that is constructing affordable greenhouses made with local materials. Its solar panel and sensor technology creates a controlled environment in which to grow crops. In doing so, it addresses many of the challenges faced by African farmers, including climate change, unpredictable weather, pests, crop diseases and outdated farming technology.
The sensors collect data on temperature, humidity and soil moisture and send this to farmers via text message, allowing them to monitor and regulate their greenhouse without having to be on the farm. Irrigation can also be turned on and off via text message. This enables the system work with all types of phones including basic phones with no internet connectivity and the use of solar power makes the solution ideal for rural areas with poor access to energy.
“We are excited about this award because it means that it is possible to balance both school and entrepreneurship. This goes a long mile in encouraging students to take up their ideas and build startups which will be leading companies in the future and I am humbled to have been chosen to represent Kenya at the finals in Bangkok.” Taita, the winning student from the University of Nairobi.
Jamie Pujara, the GSEA chairperson for Kenya, said “I’m incredibly pleased for Taita, he was a clear winner and I feel he has a very strong chance of going to Bangkok and winning the Global finals. In general, the level of competition and entrepreneurship amongst these students was incredibly impressive. I’m inspired by their stories and determination. Having spent time with these talented young men and women, I feel a little more optimistic today about or country’s future.”