Young Kenyan innovators, Michael Mwaisakenyi and Kenneth Gichira, from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology have won $16,000 Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Championships.
The two Kenyan innovators were named the regional winners of the 18th annual Imagine Cup Competition which saw thousands of students across the world submitting innovations to impact their communities. They were part of the six teams, including a team of bright young minds from Kenya to join the World Championship and present their projects to compete for the 2020 trophy on the biggest stage yet—the Microsoft Build digital event.
The regional winners, The Knights from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya, created an automated robot using artificial intelligence to identify and remove weeds from rows of crops. Their solution uses cameras as sensors to gather input from the environment and eliminate farmers’ need to use environmentally harmful pesticides in their weeding. As part of winning the regional finals, the team won 8000 USD each. Prizes also included Azure credits and a spot in the Imagine Cup World Championship event.
“We are also extremely proud of The Knights, who by making it to the championship event, have reaffirmed Kenya and Africa’s immense potential to create solutions that directly address socio-economic needs within industries such as the agricultural sector,” says Kendi Nderitu, Country Manager for Microsoft in Kenya.
Held in virtual format this year in light of the health safety recommendations, World Finalists pitched their projects during Microsoft Build’s inaugural digital event. This year the event was judged by innovation experts spanning a variety of technology, diversity, and social change-centered experiences that align to the core of Imagine Cup’s mission.
Judges selected Team Hollo, from the University of Hong Kong, won the grand prize for their mental health companion web app leveraging Azure analytics and AI services to advance youth therapy practices.
The grand prize included 100,000 USD, a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and 50,000 USD in Azure grants. Making to top six position was a Team RedWalls from Tunisia National Institute of Applied Science and Technology with their I-Remember mobile application designed for the well-being of both the Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.
“We are thrilled for Team Hollo and look forward to future updates surrounding their winning solution. At the same time, we are also encouraged by the sheer talent of all this year’s finalists who clearly put a lot of thought behind their unique tech innovations. As we continue to navigate through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, particularly in such uncertain times, I am confident we will continue to see innovations from young bright minds not only in Africa, but the world over,” concludes Nderitu.