The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has named three social enterprise hardware inventors from Africa as regional grand prize winners of the prestigious 2019 ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW), held May 9 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The three – one from Kenya, and two from Ghana – were among the eight finalists selected from across Africa who competed for a share of $30,000 in seed grants and technical support to help bring their design innovations to market.
Each winner will also receive a ticket to the ISHOW Bootcamp in New York in October 2019, where they’ll meet six other regional winners from Bengaluru, India, and Washington, D.C.
Kenya’s Savanna Circuit Tech pitched a “MaziwaPlus Pre-Chiller”, a mobile solar-powered chilling in-transit system that can be mounted on motorbikes, offering quality control, traceability, and maximized profits for dairy producers and cooperatives. The solution was developed in Kapenguria, Kenya in response to milk post-harvest losses due to transportation over great distances in rural Kenya.
Ghana’s SAYeTECH pitched a “Multi-crop Thresher” which produces multi-crop threshers to reduce grain waste and empower grain farmers. The multi-crop thresher can reduce post-harvest losses by up to 30%, providing enough food to feed Africa’s growing population, while also increasing income of smallholder farmers — especially women — by up to 50% every year.
The third one, also from Ghana, Sesi Technologies Ltd developed a “GrainMate Grain Moisture Meter”, a low-cost grain moisture tester that helps grain farmers reduce post-harvest losses by making it easier to accurately measure grain moisture content before storage.
At $100, GrainMate is more than four times cheaper than conventional grain moisture meters and offers superior accuracy.
“We are proud to offer a forum for engineering problem-solving that truly improves lives,” said ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile. “We are continually impressed by the creative talent of ASME ISHOW participants and their passion for helping underserved communities around the world.”
In addition to the three grand prize winners Kenya’s Solar Freeze received special recognition and an in-kind prize of 20 hours of design support, courtesy of Catapult Design, for its portable solar-powered cold storage innovation which strives to alleviate the significant challenge of post-harvest food loss for farmers of perishable agricultural produce in Kenya.
Sesi Technologies’ GrainMate was also declared “fan favorite” and awarded a $1,000 (USD) cash prize for receiving the most votes cast via social media.