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Celebrations Kenya Wants to be Kenya’s Biggest Online Directory for Weddings & Events

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celebrationskenyaFounded in 2011,CelebrationsKenya.com wants to be the country’s premier online directory for weddings and events giving readers important contacts of service providers for their big day and also giving the service providers a platform to reach out to the public.
According to the founder Christina Engell Andersen, a University of Cape Town graduate and also Head of the digital at Yolanda Tavares Public Relations, ” Celebrations Kenya is the premier online website directory for weddings & events in Kenya. Our aim is to help you plan your wedding or event from start to finish with a wealth of information,” she writes on the site.
Yolanda Tavares Public Relations is a Kenyan communications, public relations programmes and event management and fundraising firm formed in 1986.
With info on where to get wedding accomodation, Bar services, bridal accessories, cakes, catering services, dance lessons, DJs, Decor, where to have your honeymoon among others, the platform helps users to prepare and plan for their weddings in time and conveniently.
402850_418234548223052_249656913_nThe platform also gives advice on how to spend the wedding budget, doing wedding DIY solutions and how to decorate among others.

“Weddings these days are becoming more about making a statement. In which ever you look at it. A statement of displaying your love to your nearest & dearest, or a statement of showing just how lavish a couple you actually are. Regardless, weddings are all about the details and making your guests have a memorable experience,” they write on their site.
1554545_621954174517754_1089749419_nApart from wedding advice, they also inform users on venues which they say are one of the most important aspects of any wedding. From urban venues to venues in the wild such as tented wilderness camps, riverbanks or remote safari lodges, the platform has them all. They also have a blog to document their advises interested platform users.

15 Startup Lessons From IMF Chief Christine Lagarde On Her Visit to Kenya

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image  by Sam Wakoba,

1.Stick to your guns

IMF MD Christine Lagarde has said that the body will revise upward its global growth forecast of the economy, as she was wrapping up her two-day visit to Kenya.  She was visiting after a final disbursement of the a $750 million loan to Kenya. Analysts argue the loan may have been unwisely as the government is looking to raise a soft loan from IMF again, a month after the final disbursement.

The misuse symptoms could be the causes behind the IMF’s raising the global growth forecast just three months after it lowered them in the October World Economic Outlook report. According to the IMF economies in the emerging markets are losing momentum as advanced economies rise due to change from easy-money policies which have slowed capital inflows to emerging market economies.

As a CEO of your startup do what is right even after a party with your friends, team or investors, you are the CEO.

2.Stand out, be an outlier

Firstly, she is the first woman to head helm of the IMF, she has beat many odds to become who she is today,and she is fiercely competitive world. She didn’t come from nowhere, she was a finance minster back home in France.

As a teenager, she took to two swimming after French schools shut down in a student uprising. She went ahead to win a bronze medal in the national swimming championships. She says she learned, ‘Grit your teeth and smile’,” which has been helpful to her in the political world. It a game of resistance and endurance. Being in tension and in control. She has been everything most french women just admire to become but minus the effort and determination to achieve.

3. Don’t be predictable

She might have partied and smiled with Kenyan dignitaries but she stuck to her guns. Never be predictable like her, she might grit her teeth and with her lovely white teeth, everyone will smile, but in her mind she will be making decisions on raising growth standards.

4. Be confident

VC’s want founders who are confident-note we are not talking about sales speeches here. The IMF chief doesn’t undermine herself, she instead wants to help women who do. It’s argued that her stay way from France saw her rise to who she is. She has a strong command of English and knows what she is up to, to finer details. Do your homework, be confident in the truth you know, be knowledgeable with facts not boasting in crappy sales speeches.

5. Face your fears

Before her election to the top job, she had to convince the world that she was worth being voted for. She went to China to do so. She convinced the stakeholders in an afternoon. If you fear, you will never go out to do it. She ventured into Law, French politics and international finance which are a reserve for men in her society and she has been good at it.

6. Be Lucky and use your luck

She is the only girl to her parents. She was born on New Year’s eve. Her dad was an English professor and she is so good at it. Her mum was a Latin teacher, she went to America’s to study. Even when her father died when she was just 17, she knew she would make it. She is beautiful and knows her charm keeps men listening.

7. Never give up or think you are weak

After studying in America, she came back home to study law, She failed the exams to get into the French civil service twice and therefore not allowed to practice law in France, she then joined Baker & McKenzie, an international law firm where she rose to board chairman. Now she is the chairman of the IMF, not chairperson.

8. Be quick to respond to change

When was asked to join the French government in 2005, she left in a hurry and forgot her glasses behind and couldn’t recognize people who sat with her in the first cabinet meeting. Then as a the finance minister she asked for a review of the 35-hour working week.

9. Make friends and keep them

Lagarde made many friends from across the world which were helpful to the French government. She persuaded the German government to reduce VAT in French restaurants. One night she called Henry Paulson, the then US treasury secretary not to let AIG to collapse. She visited her former Chicago apartment-she lived their six years ago but because she made and kept friends, the janitor ran to her, kissed her and said she had been missed so much.

10. Work out regularly

Apart from her swimming, she is a vegetarian, religiously goes to the gym every day and cycles over 20km once a week. She believes that success is an endless combat and each morning more tests for combat.

11. Give praise where it’s due

She praised the Kenyatta government for making great strides towards economic development.

She said, “I congratulated President Kenyatta and his colleagues for the remarkable progress made over the last few years. Kenya’s economic conditions have continued to improve thanks to a far-reaching reform agenda. The external and fiscal positions are now stronger, inflation has been tamed, the economy has maintained solid growth, and rapidly expanding financial inclusion has given millions of Kenyans a stronger stake in the economy. In short, Kenya has achieved the objectives set by its economic program and supported by the IMF.

 

12. Let your staff be self-driven

Give time and chance to your staff and let each department minus less supervision and just walk in to evaluate. She gave Kenya money to do with as they wanted, then on last disbursement of the $750 million loan she came to inspect. We shall soon see her recommendations.

13. Give everyone a chance

As a CEO of a startup, forget growth-hacking, experiential strategy and product design or UI for sometime, focus on the people, let them do what they want or know best, then as the several align their tasks to your companies objectives. Startups will be geat if they got this peope-first mentality in them. As IMF chief, she gave Kenya a loan and minus SAPs, etc, Kenya had its own budget and timelines, they had a chance to use their money as it best suits their needs.

 14. Give attention to details

She wanted special emphasis on; a) Fiscal devolution is essential, b) Improved public spending needs to improve by providing more resources to infrastructure investment and social programs, and by strengthening revenue mobilization and transparency, especially in the management of natural resource wealth. c) Regional integration.

15. Be down to earth

Meet everyone, even your janitor and be nice until they mess up and see the lion in you

She met President Kenyatta, Treasury Secretary Rotich, Central Bank Governor Ndung’u, and other senior government officials. Then she also met parliamentarians, civil society organizations, women leaders, and the private sector and the press.

 

 

MKO Abiola’s Daughter Disrupting UK Student Internships With InternAvenue.com

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 dupsy_abiolaLaunched September 2012 by Dupsy Abiola, Intern Avenue went ahead to amaze Dragon Den’s judges just a month after launch and became the first job platform to raise investments to help connect interns and employers online, in the UK.

The online recruitment tool allows employers to access graduate interns in their areas of interest. Companies can create a profile and search through prospective interns to find those candidates with the exact skills they are looking for, rather than posting a regular job ad.

Inspired by her little sisters inability to find an internship and her firms difficulty in acquiring talent,  she raised £100,000 seed from Dragon Den’s Peter Jones to help firms find and hire bright students and graduate interns minus the great pain it is now. The platform helps users have direct access to intern candidates and at the right time. The online recruitment tool allows employers to access graduate interns in their areas of interest. Companies can create a profile and search through prospective interns to find those candidates with the exact skills they are looking for, rather than posting a regular job ad.

Dupsy Abiola, the founder is the daughter of the late MKO Abiola, a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist  who in 1993 was set to be elected president before the annulment of the election by the military which led to his arrest in 1994 and  his passing on four years later. Though Dupsy is her daughter, she is a UK citizen, an Oxford graduate and a former UK barrister, yes; she is not a Nigerian lawyer.

Abiola says Intern Avenue is the first professional hiring platform designed to connect the most talented students and graduates with employers instantly; and is positioned to fill the large gap between Facebook and LinkedIn.

To make it suitable for interns, the platform is free for students but companies pay a surcharge to access the qualified candidates. Businesses use Intern Avenue to find interns by instantly searching the Intern Directory or by advertising internships online.

internavenueShe wants people to know this is not another job board, only aiming at students but an on-demand introduction agency which aims to help companies acquire talent and also help students be headhunted and find accurate jobs in a crowded job market.

She says on the site, “Internships are a great route into your dream industry. All Intern Avenue internships also pay at least minimum wage. Finding an Internship couldn’t be easier – simply complete your profile, adding as much relevant information as possible, and let the employers come to you! Speed up the search by applying for internships online.

 

Intern Avenue was created with the single aim of being the easiest possible way for employers and future junior hires to connect online. We provide an interactive platform which automatically matches talented interns with top employers and relieve the time-consuming burden of repetitive job posting and application processes, whilst also opening up market visibility for interns and employers alike.

The platform is expected to help students, graduates and MBAs create their own profiles, join the private database and be easily searched and accessed by hiring firms around the clock.

Don’t worry even if you are in first year, join Intern Avenue and keep updating your professional profile each year about your interests, achievements, and on-going availability, rather than giving a fraction of this detail on a vacancy by vacancy basis. As an employer, you can hire directly from campus and have access to the right talent pool at the right time.

 

Alicia Keys Out As BlackBerry Global Creative Director | Celeb Addicted to iPhone

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aliciaBlackBerry® Global Creative Director, Alicia Keys, who was also the The BlackBerry Scholars program head is set to leave her position at Blackberry on January 31.

The major reason for her leaving has not been made public but the artist got into trouble last year when she tweeted using her iPhone that a BB10 and major US tech blogs ran with the story. The firm has also bean suffering major exits of co-founders and other executives.

Recently, co-founder Michael Lazaridis sold his 3.5 million shares after the firm reported a $4.4 billion loss in Q3 2013. In October, Lazaridis and his other co-founder Douglas Fregin mulled a bid to buy the company but by November the firm was out of the deal. Chances are that the job was taking up the artists time or with her 2 million plus following on Instagram, a popular photo and short video sharing service, BB10 was standing in her way to reach more fans, with its issues.

Blackberry has signed a five-year deal with Taiwanese device manufacturer, Foxconn which also manuctures devices for Apple to run its devices arm while it shits it focuses to enterprise software. BBM, a messenger app from BlackBerry has also been made available for Android and iOS.

Keys is not the first artist to enter into the corporate foray as  Lady Gaga holds the  same position at Polaroid, 50 Cent had such a deal at the now Coca-Cola-owned Glaceau’s Vitamin Water,  Will.i.am holds the same position at Intel and U2 had such a deal with Apple.

Lavishbeauty.co.ke Wants to be Africa’s Victoria’s Secret

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Image:Victoria Secret

960x640Lavishbeauty.co.ke is a new Kenyan beauty products online retailer set to change the country’s eCommerce landscape, for good.

Founded last year by Charles Kariuki, the platform sells jewellery, handbags, nail polish, accessories & make up and is adding to its inventory day by day to be the regions go-to place for all products related to beauty and fashion.

Kariuki told TechMoran that before launching the online portal, the firm used to sell its products door to door but it became so bulky as the business expanded, making it tedious and cumbersome to reach more buyers.

“We then realized that we could simplify our business by having an e-commerce platform leveraging on social media showcasing all our products, 24/7 where buyers can place orders at the comfort of their offices, homes or even mobile phones.”

“We do deliveries all over Kenya. Deliveries within Nairobi are done by our in-house delivery team. For out of Nairobi deliveries, our courier partners are ‘Data Rush Couriers’ & ‘Wells Fargo’,” he told TechMoran.

603230_544451498899308_1046305362_nTo stand out from other online beauty platforms, Lavishbeauty.co.ke said it imports stuff from reputable wholesalers in: Asia, UAE & Europe and since October 2012, the firm has sold close to $20,000. Kariuki uses the daily profits to plough back into the firm that has since been running on his personal savings.  He is also considering taking in seed investment from a number of angel investors who are carrying out due diligence and valuation of their startup, with plans to invest in it.

“We have not finalized any deal so far. The last valuation we had from an interested investor in November was $166,666,” said the 31 year-old Information Systems and Technology graduate. In two years, Kariuki wants to see Lavish Beauty, which he began in his bedroom to be processing over 100 orders a day, plus have its own delivery fleet of 10 motor biker riders.

He also wants to grow the startups product portfolio to include clothes, hats, sunglasses and world renowned cosmetic brands and be a go-to place for women’s lingerie like Victoria’s Secret. He also says, if all goes well , he will launch a home and babies’ line dubbed as ‘Lavish Home’ to cater for those who need to decorate their homes and also for mother’s who shall need products for their babies.

Though talking with ease, Kariuki says things are not always rosy, especially for him running an online startup, especially due to lack of trust from first time buyers.

“We solve this by offering ‘Cash on Delivery’ services. This works well for first time buyers who can view the products and verify their quality before paying for them.  Another being fraudulent buyers, who may claim that they made an online payment yet they did not. Others are those who order online and upon delivery they avoid receiving the goods. We solve this, by screening buyers, though this is not always full proof,” he said.

Now at the helm of Business Development & Operations, the laid back fellow says this is just the start and hopes to drive the business to greater heights. However, he reminds us that despite his busy entrepreneurial itinerary, he  spares time for his girlfriend and his friends from Church and his other passion, cars. He advises other entrepreneurs not to forget that they are normal people who need to care for others and also need love.

“I love cars, and I always keep all the performance stats in my head. For “boy toys” Subaru’s reign for me, especially the WRX Sti and for “Grown Men Cars” Benzes. I also love Gospel Hip Hop and you can catch me listening to “Flame” or “Lecrae” most of the time,” he advises.

Daily Beast,Vimeo & Match.com’s Justine Sacco Fired Over Racist AIDs Tweet & Twitter Account Shut Down

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justinefb

After sparking controversy online with her racist tweet about Aids in Africa, Justine Sacco, a PR manager for millionaire media mogul Barry Diller who runs IAC/InterActiveCorp, a firm that runs the Daily Beast, Vimeo, ASK.COM, OKCupid and Match.com among others has been fired.

Sacco’s insensitive tweet put her in the limelight for all the wrong reasons, and even causing anger and outrage globally, and portraying her ignorance about Africa, AIDS and showing her deep-seated racism against Africans because she’s white.

IAC, announced that it had relieved Sacco of her duties calling the her actions as “outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC.”

Leaving London to Africa, Sacco tweeted Friday: “Going to Africa, hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding, I’m white”. After her tweet, majority of disgusted followers and Twitters followers began #HasJustineLandedYet debate which has since been trending, as people allover the continent discuss her insensitivity about the continent.

This is not her first controversial tweet, media reports says she last year tweeted about her desire to have sex  with autism victim.
justine-sacco-01Some organizations are reportedly working to see this reversed while others are taking advantage of it to raise funds against AIDS in Africa, or just for their own good. Several voices online argue that the American PR consultant, working for a consumer internet company, might as well know the implications of her behavior online and wouldn’t expose her hate for Africa online when she was coming to Africa. The fact that she thought AIDS is just for blacks was racist.

To protect their business and not the person of Sacco, IAC has fired her and distanced itsself from her actions online and whatever the hell she was coming to do in Africa.

Early, TechMoran received reports that billionaire Barry Diller,was spinning Match.com into a separate company to allow for its global expansion as Match Group.

Justine-Sacco

TechMoran learnt that Match Group would run Tutor.com, DailyBurn and Skyllzone and would have Greg Blatt, IAC’s chief executive as its chairman while Sam Yagan, would remain as CEO of the Match.com, which was acquired from  Ticketmaster, in 2003.

We wish the girl all the best though!

Dell in Kenya 2013: Interview With Jean Cox Kearn, Dell’s Director of Compliance

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BappyT6CYAAy2BzDell recently launched  the East Africa Compliant Recycling – the region’s first large-scale e-waste recycling facility and also created a new e-waste business in the country.

The hub was designed to help women in Kenya’s Mukuru slums to make money out of selling e-waste collected from the slums and from around the country.

According to Intel, in developing countries, e-waste has monetary value. That value, combined with the lack of a sustainable e-waste recycling infrastructure in East Africa, likely would have abated the effectiveness of common regulatory approaches to funding and managing e-waste collection and recycling, such as import fees. Those means also could make computing less affordable for Kenyan citizens and public and private-sector organizations.

The four hubs set up-shipping container-housed collection points located throughout the country will each act as collection points and independent small businesses, purchasing e-waste from newly-trained individual collectors to sell to the main hub set up in the city. Dell plans to roll out forty more.

TechMoran caught up with Jean Cox Kearn, Dell Director of Compliance and this is what she told us.

 

We learned that Kenya is the first where Dell is running this initiatives, why Kenya?

There are three separate initiatives in Kenya:-

1.       The development of a regulation to suit the new recycling model being implemented – this has been led by the ‘E-Waste Solutions Alliance for Africa’ comprising of Dell, HP, Nokia, Philips and Reclaimed Appliances UK limited.

2.       The development of the Recycling Infrastructure that will be supported by the new regulation – primarily led by Reclaimed Appliances Uk Ltd,  who have now created EACR (East Africa Compliant Recycling) working with Industry.

3.       The Microfinancing of womens groups to create collection networks – this is a Dell project.

How much has Dell invested in this Kenyan operation?

Dell has invested 3 years of in-kind support,  regularly travelling to support meetings,  helping with the development of the solution.   We have financed two collection points in Nairobi and Mombasa and we are separately financing collection networks.

Any plans to launch more of these hubs and where?

Ideally Kenya will become a hub for East Africa but we are also working in a number of other African countries and in other regions globally  influencing legislation and ensuring that the models implemented are the ones that suite the economic environment of the country.

What’s Dell’s expertise on this?

Dell has been working on Take Back programs since 1999 and has many programs available globally that support our work – All details can be easily found here.

How sustainable and independent are the projects without Dell?

These project will continue to be supported by Dell,  but the overall structure of them should mean that they will continue to be effective irrespective of any individual producers participation.   For Dell however we believe that where we are is just the first big step,  we now need to see the regulation implemented and working so that Kenya can be really showcased as the new working Model for E-Waste in developing countries.

 

BappOmVCcAAc9Gp.jpg largeWe all appreciate the move to empower women but is there such a plan for men as well?

There will be many collection points across Kenya that will create hundreds of green jobs.   There will be opportunities for both men and women within the overall collection network.   What Dell has done at Mukuru is to enable women to also become collectors of e-waste in an environment where many of the households are women led.

How will the project help Dell gain significant PC market share in Kenya?

This project is mostly about showcasing Dell’s commitment to the environment and to our new Legacyof Good. We believe that by investing in the solution in Kenya we are demonstrating that we are responsible for our brand.  We have other  programs in Kenya where we are supporting education through IT.   All of these programs should help to drive awareness of our brand and how it can be utilized to enable people to grow and thrive.

Ex DealDey’s Financial Controller Launches Mamalette.com to Make Nigerians Good Parents

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mamaletteAnike Lawal, former Financial Controller of the popular e-commerce deal site, DealDey has launched Mamalette.com, a new website for parents and would be parents in Lagos.
The platform launched last month in Lagos Nigeria aims to be the country’s biggest and best parenting website with free parenting resources, latest news and events as well as articles on parenting, pregnancy, family life and more.
“The site features various tools useful to parents and parents to be. e.g Nigerian baby name database, due to date calculator, ovulation
calculator, development milestones chart, pregnancy week by week guide and a database of common ailments. The site also features a parenting directory that lists various services that would be relevant to the needs of Nigeria families,” said Lawal, the site’s editor.
“We want the site to be the voice for Nigerian parents, so the parenting forum on the site, Mamalette Talk allows parents and would
be parents to ask questions and talk about topics that are relevant to their needs.”

Lawal added that at the moment Mamalette is the biggest and best parenting site in the country today. The site has put together information and tools that are tremendous benefit to parents and would be parents. The whole idea is to the lives of
parents easier using Information Communication Technology ICT.

Tanzania’s Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service Hits One Year | Reports Over 21 Million Messages Sent

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Mobile phone users receive SMS from their friends and family and even work mates everyday. Though this SMS text messages are important, one organization in Tanzania has decided to use the simple format to reach pregnant mothers and their husbands with messages of life.
The The Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service, an initiative of mHealth Tanzania Public Private Partnership Tanzania and Text to Change, is helping give advice to mothers and fathers to be in a country with over 22 million mobile phone subscribers. With over 21 million messages sent, the service is looking forward to a greater 2014, and more partnerships to help reach more Tanzanians.
Khalifan Ramadan, is one of the 300,000 Tanzanian registrants who signed up for the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service which has been promoted across the nation and offers a large range of maternal health and early childcare topics via SMS directly to his phone.
gI_65990_Preggie-phone-focus-bellyRamadan says he receives about 3 or 4 messages to his phone every week with a lot of maternal health advice.
“This is our first pregnancy. It is easy to do something wrong, but these messages inform us how to do it right. Also, I don’t need to pay for the service,” he said.

The simple service has now send over 21 million messages to pregnant women, mothers with newborn babies (up to 16 weeks) and supporters of women, like this father to be.

Those who are just in need of general healthy pregnancy information can also sign up. The objective of the service is to offer men and women – located in every corner of the country and from any income level – healthy pregnancy advice and early childhood care information. This information includes time sensitive reminders for such events as antenatal clinic visits and taking of malaria prevention medication. This information is carefully timed and relevant to the specific registrant, like pregnant women or their supporters. The carefully targeted large range of healthy pregnancy topics, from ANC visit reminders to birth planning and ‘fun’ informative information for all these types of audiences, makes this a unique service. However, there are other important aspects that make this service so special.

According to Muttah Saulo, mHealth Tanzania Public Private Partnership project manager of the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby – Text Messaging Service,“The service is truly an example of the perfect implementation of expertise sharing and pooling of resources. It is important to understand that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) Reproductive Child Health Services (RCHS) section is the overall leader of the service. Together with many technical partners in the maternal health and early childcare fields the RCHS team provided key input to the development of the messaging service and content and will continue to do so when the service expands with information reaching beyond the age of 16 weeks of a baby.”

The Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service was launched in November 2012 with the Wazazi Nipendeni (Parents Love Me) Safe Motherhood multi-media campaign and funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and US Presidents Malaria Initiative, through the United States Agency for International Development.

Also using radio, TV, billboards and posters to promote the free short-code (15001) and the registration keyword ‘mtoto‘(‘baby‘), the campaign directs the public to register and receive the information for free.

Now with over 300,000 subscribers on the platform, the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service is free to use with subsidies paid by the US Government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With a two-year partnership with Airtel Tanzania, the SMS service reaches a large number of registrants who access it for free.

Google Gives $2 Million in Grants to Samasource for its Technology-Driven Social Innovation

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indianGoogle has granted, Samasource, a non-profit that trains and provides computer-based work to impoverished women and youth with operations in Haiti, India, Kenya and Uganda.

The $2 million Google Global Impact Award will be used to create technology-enabled jobs for thousands of youth and women globally, to enhance Samasource’s robust technology platform, the SamaHub, and to support expansion of the organization’s  microwork which gives digital skills and jobs to women and youth for free.

“We are grateful to receive this investment from such a forward thinking and leading organization as Google,” said Leila Janah, founder & CEO of Samasource. “Being able to benefit from Google’s engineering support enables us to effectively and efficiently serve more marginalized women and youth than ever before while also delivering high quality, affordable services to our clients. With this generous support, we will dramatically change the lives of thousands of poor women and youth by providing them with what they want most: fairly-paid work.”

Samasource was founded in 2008 and trains these women and youth to fulfill the digital needs of large global brands such as eBay, Google, and Microsoft. To date, Samasource has connected more than 4,000 marginalized people in Africa, India, Haiti and the U.S. to paying work, totaling over $2 million in wages paid out.

“We are excited about Samasource’s unique combination of technology, operations and mission to help reduce poverty around the world,” said Chris Busselle, principal of Google.org. “We look forward to supporting Samasource’s mission to make an even greater impact on those in need by offering them a sustainable gateway into the digital economy.”

Apart from the $2 million grant, Google is a client of Samasource and provides jobs directly to its teams in Africa.

Nigeria’s IT landscape is suffering from negative trade balance – minister

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Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s minister for communication technology has revealed that despite the impressive figures available on the nation’s IT sector, Nigeria’s information technology landscape is still battling with a clear negative trade balance.

Speaking at the e-Nigeria conference 2013 held in Abuja, the minister said the economic value generated locally with imported technologies used by Nigerians is still extremely low.

“As impressive as Nigeria’s figures may seem, the Nigerian IT landscape suffers from a clear negative trade balance, as the economic value generated locally with imported technologies used by Nigerians is still extremely low,” Johnson said.

Speaking on the theme of eNigeria 2013 which is “Local Content in ICT Development in Nigeria: The Journey so far”, the minister said the nation has reached a significant milestone in the journey to the target of 50% local content.

She however warned that a lot of work is ahead of the stakeholders in the IT industry using the the guidelines on Nigerian Content Development in ICT.

She said: “These guidelines are expected to level the playing field to facilitate the movement of many of our local ICT companies from the fringes of the market to be larger and more strategic companies while at the same time enlarging the pie so that we keep our valuable international partners interested and engaged in investing in the local industry.

“Having multi-nationals and international companies co-exist with our local companies ensures that the industry is working to the best international standards, challenging our local companies to set aspirational standards for their products and services in order to remain competitive.

“This philosophy is based on empirical evidence that demonstrates that despite the strong growth that we are witnessing today there is still a lot of value that remains to be unlocked in this sector.”

Dell Unveils an E-Waste Recycling Hub & Marketplace in Africa to Boost the Lives of Slum Women

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Dell-Women in Mukuru Slums
Dell-Women in Mukuru Slums
Dell-Women in Mukuru Slums

A Dell-sponsored a project in the Nairobi’s Mukuru slums has micro financed and created jobs for 27 women in Kenya, changing their lives for good.

The project aiming at women in the infamous slum, trains the women, loans them funds via mobile money to purchase and resell waste which they earn a profit on. This is expected to see the women come out of poverty, prostitution and crime popular in informal settlements. In its first two weeks, women participating in the Dell-Mukuru collected 1.5 containers of e-waste, which was resold to the new recycling hub. Prior to the program, women from Mukuru often used unsafe and unhealthy means to collect and resell e-waste to the informal market.

The global PC maker has also joined Nairobi’s E-Waste Solutions Alliance for Africa to unveil the East Africa Compliant Recycling hub–the first large-scale e-waste recycling facility in the region.

The two groups have also launched a new e-waste business to be supported by a regulatory model tailored for developing countries but  developed by Kenyan officials and representatives from non-governmental organizations and the IT and e-recycling industries. The hub was designed by industry, in collaboration with policymakers.

According to Jean Cox-Kearns, Director of Compliance, Dell Takeback, “It is so exciting to see this sustainable model be implemented on the ground in Nairobi, creating green jobs and implementing a solution that deals with e-waste being generated both in Kenya and the greater East African Region, and providing environmentally sound management of e-waste collected.”

An innovative business model that creates jobs

The e-waste hub has shipping container-housed collection points located throughout Kenya and each collection point functions independently as a small businesses, purchasing e-waste from newly-trained individual collectors.  Four collection points have been established already with two fully funded by Dell – and forty more are planned.

Once a shipping container is filled to capacity, its contents are resold to the main hub where the e-waste will be sustainably processed into material fractions and sold back to the technology industry.  The e-waste collectors earn, the collection points earn and as well the main hub earns and thereby  protecting the environment.

The model is aimed at creating thousands of green jobs at the facility and across supporting logistics and collection networks, in part by converting existing informal-sector e-waste “pickers” into trained and legitimately-compensated e-waste collectors. Dell and others have invested in training programs to educate workers on the safe collection and recycling of e-waste.

 

The Honorable Amina A. Abdalla, MP, Chairperson, Committee of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenyan Parliament  said the country is looking at ensuring that e-waste is recycled in such a manner that ensures people not exposed hazardous materials.

“We’ve invested in getting out a regulation that is more proactive managing e-waste. With the regulation, its enforcement, and partnering with not only recyclers but producers, we’ll go a long way in addressing these challenges.”

A practical, sustainable regulatory approach

Developing regulations from Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority will help generate capacity for the new e-waste hub by requiring electronics companies to meet certain thresholds for e-waste collection and treatment.

Underscoring the regulatory framework is the recognition that, particularly in developing countries, e-waste has monetary value. That value, combined with the lack of a sustainable e-waste recycling infrastructure in East Africa, likely would have abated the effectiveness of common regulatory approaches to funding and managing e-waste collection and recycling, such as import fees. Those means also could make computing less affordable for Kenyan citizens and public and private-sector organizations.

Agreeing to the fact that e-waste has monetary value and could make life better for all Akinyi Kaudia,  Environment Secretary,  Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources said, “We are seeing green technology is good business sense, not just because it creates profits, but if the persons working for such a company are of higher health status because of a good environment, then productivity also goes up. We want to create jobs, particularly for our youth. So it’s a triple way: We have a clean environment, we have jobs created, we have industrial growth and economic growth of the country.”

Other African nations have monitored the development of new regulatory model, with a view to replicating the approach.

Advancing Dell’s Legacy of Good 2020 goals

As a global leader in the collection and recycling of e-waste, Dell’s 2020 Legacy for Good Plan aims to recover 2 billion pounds of electronics and reuse more than 50 million pounds of recycled-content plastics in its products by 2020. Integral to both goals is the ability to access e-waste in developing countries, using methods that do not put people or the environment at risk.

 

 

Microsoft Appoints Africa’s First Female Country Manager in Ghana

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fujiMicrosoft has officially appointed Otema Yirenkyi as the company’s first country manager for Ghana in a vision to establish a robust presence in the country.

Otema, a native Ghanaian with over 14 years of ICT experience, has been at the helm of Microsoft’s investment in Ghana from September, and today Microsoft officially confirmed her as Country Manager, as a public confirmation of  its ongoing investment in this critical market. She will be Microsoft’s first female country manager on the African continent and holds a BSc degree in Industrial and Labour Relations, as well as an MA in Development Studies.

“This is an exciting time when the country is rapidly transforming, both economically and socially,” Otema says. “I hope to inspire a culture of innovation driven by technology and I am excited to be leading Microsoft’s era of expansion in Ghana.”

“We have seen tremendous growth in broadband availability and internet penetration in Ghana, as well as the introduction of newer devices such as tablets and smartphones, which have fundamentally changed how consumers experience and use technology,” says Otema.

Otema’s focus in Ghana is on continuing to improve access to technology, skills development opportunities and resources. “I think once African entrepreneurs have increased access, affordable technologies and the ability to monetise innovative ideas, they will create solutions that solve many of the economic and social challenges confronting Africa,” she says.

One of Microsoft’s core projects in the country is its partnership with the Ghanaian Ministry of Education and the British Council, to set up ICT hubs in local schools and communities to accelerate digital literacy across the country. Falling under a regional project called Badiliko, 17 digital hubs have been created in Ghana and Microsoft has trained 26 local Master Trainers who are serving as Digital Ambassadors and School Leader Facilitators in the hubs, helping over 1,700 people in Ghana become trained to date.

The firm which has been operating in Ghana through its partner ecosystem for 10 years says Ghana remains one of its critical investment markets in Africa and Otema’s appointment is an investment in Microsoft Ghana’s future growth as it as it shifts its global focus to devices and services offering.

Ghana’s current mobile penetration rate is at an estimated 112%, after the country hit the 100% mark at the end of 2012. These numbers are the highest in Africa, placing Ghana 49th in the world, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

“This always-on, always-connected era that we find ourselves in holds new promise for what technology can bring to people’s lives and to businesses. And it gives us an opportunity to use our technology, talent, time and money to help create sustainable growth in the country and across the African continent.”

Over the years and through a number of programmes, Microsoft has trained 15, 000 teachers, impacted over one million students, created over 1, 800 jobs, and supported 35 successful startups in Ghana. The company’s flagship African investment and growth initiative, Microsoft 4Afrika, was launched in February this year to actively engage in Africa’s economic development, and has further entrenched the company’s commitment to Ghana and its people, ensuring that technology plays a key role in the developing economy.

Building on the success of its programmes and initiatives in Africa, Microsoft continues its commitment to a strong, successful history on the continent and strategic economic hubs like Ghana will become more integral partners to its African business strategy.

“We are delighted to have Otema on board in this critically important role,” says Hennie Loubser, General Manager of West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands. “She has the track record and credentials to help grow this dynamic market, and she is deeply committed to Africa’s economic development.”

 

 

 

 

Akida Wants to Address the Challenges of Staff Attendance Verification in Africa

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Kate Kiguru picWhen Kate Kiguru was growing up in a small village in Kenya, she was brought up like a boy. It wasn’t by design.

She was the middle child in a family of four girls. Her parents had twin girls first. Her mother was occupied with them, so she ended up spending most of her time with her dad. “That’s why I’m so comfortable working in a male-dominated field,” she told me, 30 minutes before she was scheduled to pitch her startup to investors and advisers last Friday in Washington, D.C.

Kiguru, 26, was at the World Bank last week to promote and raise funds for Akida, a mobile application that addresses the challenges of staff attendance verification in large organizations. She was invited by infoDev, a global multi-donor program of the World Bank Group that aims to enable entrepreneurship for sustainable, inclusive growth and employment in developing countries.

Kiguru and 16 other entrepreneurs gathered for infoDev’s Mobile Startup Camp, designed to help early stage mobile entrepreneurs from emerging markets. As Kiguru shared her story, it wasn’t hard to internalize that youth are a driving force behind the rising Africa.

More than 200 million people in Africa are between ages 15 and 24. Like Kiguru, they are rapid learners and fast implementers of their knowledge despite challenges. She grew up in a village without electricity or running water. Her parents passed away when she was young, but she continued her schooling with help from her sisters. She saw computers for the first time when she was 13 years old.

Now, 13 years later, she is not only traveling halfway around the world to raise money for her venture, but also helping girls in her home country learn how to code. Her hopes of solving problems and inspiring others persuaded her to persevere in a culture where girls are expected to stay within the boundaries and follow patriarchal norms.

She recalls her college days when she was the only female student in her computer classes. Working in the technology sector was no different.

“I’m sort of stubborn,” she quipped as she talked about her determination to not blindly follow the tradition. To ensure that other young women in Kenya reach their potential, Kiguru works with Akirachix, a community of tech women, to inspire Kenyan girls to learn about technology.

At the Mobile Startup Camp, there were roughly equal numbers of male and female entrepreneurs, all of them eager to learn to refine products, business models, and marketing pitches. As I listened to their pitches, it was clear that all of them are committed to a cause, whether it’s helping farmers in remote parts of the world sell crops easily or making sure jewelery from African slums reaches the global market.

The World Bank is helping these entrepreneurs to take their ideas, as Valerie D’Costa, program manager of infoDev put it, from “mind to market.”

Kenyan-Nigerian Auditor’s Chaotic Resignation Letter Goes Viral Online

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A Kenyan-Nigerian woman has lit the internet on fire as she wrote a dramatic “I quit” email to her employer PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The woman then sent a hashtag laden email to her colleagues at PWC. Glory explains she was only in accounting “because of family and cultural pressure from her Kenyan mother and Nigerian father. See her story below.

The Hollywood trope for epically quitting a job is hard to beat. From Bridget Jones telling her boss, “Frankly, I’d rather have a job wiping Saddam Hussein’s a–,” to Andy in “The Devil Wears Prada” throwing her cell phone in the Place de la Concorde fountain, these carefully constructed scenes would be hard to replicate in real life. But a young woman from Texas proved that it’s not entirely impossible. Glory — a name she coined to keep her anonymity — resigned from her position as an associate auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) by sending out an eyebrow-raising email to her colleagues, complete with hashtags, describing her hatred of auditing and her “#chattycathy” co-workers, as well as the 10 reasons why Beyoncé is the queen of the world.

GloryThe over-the-top email which talked about “fake” colleagues who “stink” and who are “so in love with their animals” made its way to various blogs and Glory found herself on YouTube, explaining her actions to thousands.

In two separate videos, Glory admits that after joining PwC in September, she “had been planning to quit since I started.” And while her bluntness may lead some to think this drama is a hoax, Glory’s email appears to be 100 percent real.

In response to questions submitted by a blogger, Glory doesn’t hold back. A few highlights from the interview:

How are you handling the exposure to Internet infamy? “85 percent of the comments are racist,” she says, explaining that for every person who has been motivated to follow in her footsteps, there have been five times more haters, which really shocked her. She added that some people accused her of being a “diversity hire,” but she responded by saying Caucasian people are crazy, too.

Why would you become an accountant after you didn’t like your previous two internships in the field?
Because of family and cultural pressure from her Kenyan mother and Nigerian father, Glory says. Her parents wanted her to pursue a professional career like going to law school or becoming a nurse, she said, “things that Nigerians really promote.” She ended up taking the position at PwC to make her father happy, but it clearly didn’t work out. “I’ve quickly learned throughout all of my experiences that at the end of the day, it’s me. So now I’m living for myself and I’m doing things that I love to do and accounting isn’t one of them.”

Your mindset when you wrote the email?
“I wasn’t mad or sad,” Glory says. After missing a flight to a conference, she decided she was comfortable staying in bed and sent out the email instead. “When I pressed the send button I felt a sense of liberation. I was just living my truth at that moment. I pressed send and I felt so free. Do I have any regrets? No I don’t have any regrets.”

Your response to people saying that the email is immature and unprofessional?
“I truly wouldn’t argue that. …I was just wanting to be uncut, raw, myself, unedited, I didn’t really care about professionalism, or whatever. …When you die, ‘professional’ isn’t written on your tombstone.”

What about future employers? “I’ve been keeping track of my Google search results. …At this point in my life I just can’t be bothered by that.” Glory claims that “this email does not define me, the email does not define my work ethic, it does not define my competency.” Clearly.

Responses to Glory’s quitting strategy have been mixed. Uriah Muhammad, who commented on NoirCPA, an accounting site for the black community that exclusively interviewed Glory for the Youtube videos, says, “I’ve been in external/internal accounting field for over 5 years now and each year there is a crazy email or two. I always wonder WHO wrote or if it was authentic or not. This is an awesome behind the scenes.” And Gennatay, a commenter, commiserates with Glory: “I felt like writing one of these emails when I left an employer, so glad I didn’t. But I 1000% know wheres she’s coming from.” Awesomerobot, on the other hand, says, “Sounds like she wanted attention more than she wanted to quit her job. The email almost entirely consists of superficial personal attacks. Really petty stuff.”

Glory may not be pursuing another job in the auditing sector, but if history is any indication she may have a job offer already on the way. Last month, Marina Shiffrin, the woman who posted a YouTube video of an interpretive ‘I Quit’ dance set to Kanye West’s “Gone” that subsequently went viral, received a job offer from “The Queen Latifah Show” just five days after resigning. Internet notoriety definitely has its perks. Zach Hodskins, a one-handed basketball player extraordinaire, was recruited to the University of Florida team after staffers saw a video of him showing off his dribbling and shooting skills.

Here is Glory’s entire email (names redacted, along with profanity, genitalia, and explicit remarks). You can see the unedited version on GoingConcern, where it was originally posted earlier this month.

See the original email here..GoingConcern

Source:JamboNewsSpot

 

CEO Weekends: Airtel Chama Tool Launched By Airtel, GSMA & Grameen Foundation in Uganda

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WOMEN CHAMAAirtel has partnerd with the Grameen Foundation to launch a project that aims to provide mobile financial services to over 45,000 chamas (Savings Groups) in Uganda.

Dubbed ‘Airtel Chama’ , the project aims at reducing Savings groups’ reliance on cash and seeks to introduce the benefits of mobile technology to approximately 900,000 people in Uganda. The Airtel Chama service is expected to help reduce fraud and theft from the predominatly cash-based chama. It’s also ecpected to bring efficient and transparent in the processes.

“In some cases, women cannot save their earnings because they are obliged to give any money they have to their husbands. With Airtel Chama, women’s savings are private and digitized; these women will be more empowered because their husbands will have a harder time taking their money away”, explains Chidi Okpala, the Director of Airtel Money Africa.

He added that Airtel hopes to use innovative telecommunications solutions to transform communities and praised the Chama initiative as one that will promote more economic transactions in the rural areas, lead to rural development and reduce poverty.

airtel (1)Airtel Chama service will also provide credit to those who don’t have access to it through traditional channels. Given that at least 70% of savings groups’ members are women, the innovative service will be a catalyst for women empowerment in Uganda. Thanks to the Chama platform, women will have better access to credit facilities and their loan applications will be processed faster in financial institutions. The Airtel Chama service answers the government call of empowering women and enabling them to contribute towards development.

GSMA mWomen has lauded Airtel Uganda’s efforts and has awarded the Innovation Fund grant to the telecommunications company. Airtel will use the money towards decreasing the gender gap in mobile access and increasing women’s use of mobile in Uganda. The Grameen Foundation will monitor the social impact of the Airtel Chama service on Ugandan women.

Airtel plans to further develop the Chama initiative and is eager to implement it across all its markets on the continent.

 

 

CEO Weekends: Kenyan Woman Entrepreneur Forsakes All to Launch This Tech Startup

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Women-in-TechJanet Ngugi, has beat all odds to build a platform with over 3000 courses from 47 institutions in Kenya.

Dubbed StudyinKenya.co.ke, the platform is a one stop portal with information on all universities and tertiary colleges in Kenya for users to search for programs and compare with others in the country’s institutions of higher learning.  Ngugi is now building a section that will allows users to apply for courses and pay for them directly through site and track their progress remotely.

At the moment, she says her platform is the most comprehensive where users have access to the up to date information on universities and courses in the country. Users can download application forms, paperwork requirements, see college’s bank accounts or contact information from one portal.

TechMoran caught up with Janet and she told us how tough it has been and how she kept hanging on.

What inspired you to launch Study in Kenya?

Before starting my University program 5 years ago, my parents approached friends and family for resources regarding schools and programs available in Nairobi, information about my grades and career path helped them provide me with information. Today, 5 years later I started receiving those calls and to my surprise, not a lot of information is available through the internet. I know from experience that the only way to get real information is to research and apply for University directly by visiting Nairobi or having friends and family do so for you. It’s a time consuming effort that costs a lot of money. While technology is capable of offering this information first hand and is the only way to do research in many countries, Kenya lies behind in this matter; I decided to bridge the gap of information that will connect finalist studentswith the universities at a much lower cost and with most updated and current information.

 

How many courses and colleges so far on the site?

So far, I have researched and compiled information from about 47 higher education institutions mostly public and private universities and a few colleges and I have t over 3,000 courses. This content is the result of my team’s hard effort to research programs and universities on our own; however, we’re aiming to partner with the Universities in a way that we can confirm that our content is always up to date. This is to us but it is more beneficial to them!

 

How much did it cost you to set up?

Upfront, it didn’t cost too much, I was able to program the site on my spare time and leased a server. However, the costs started increasing as soon as I took over it full time, as any entrepreneur cash flow is important to grow to the next level. Running the business at this moment is relatively cheap, but the costs of running and marketing will knock at my door shortly after we start the beta period.

 

studyinkenyaWhat is your business model?

As I mentioned before I just recently took over full time, I am supporting myself and most StudyinKenya (SiK) expenses out of savings and some in-kind grants for office space, pro bono work from other professionals, and volunteers. The GrowthHub especially have provided office space and invaluable in- kind support with brainstorming and strategy. Fortunately the horizon is bright in terms of seed funding, and hoping that my investment funding will be much more aggressive in the coming months. I do have adsense up and running on the site so, this helps in terms of easy cash flows. My focus is now to get the Universities into a formal partnership with SiK which will allow us to meet our goals both financially and in product quality.

Other than adsense revenue, nothing much to talk about seeing as we are still defining our business model. However, I can tell you the outlook is bright.

 

Any challenges along the way, how did you overcome them?

I’m sure you have interviewed hundreds of other entrepreneurs so I won’t lie, it is hard to stay motivated when so many things that are new to you come knocking at your door unannounced. I will keep them short though.

1) Understanding the business, it was a challenge to understand what efforts should go to the product creation, which efforts go to business development, and which ones to customer acquisitions and partnerships. Once I figured out that these three are related but really a job on their own, I focused in growing the team. I have found people who share the same passion for this project and this has really released a lot off my back, I can focus on the product and being a CEO, while I can rely on others for more specific work on growing the business and acquiring customers. Still, I have a lot to learn and I am looking for lawyers and finance people to join the team. Shortly we will start recruiting our Ambassadors (this is the people who will help us gather new customers in high schools).

2)Raising capital, no news to you I guess, raising capital is a job on its own, while I could have focused my efforts in raising money just with an idea in hand, I am a developer, I needed to have a running project to show and so I did. I am confident of my product and am building a business around it, I have gotten the approval and guidance of people from all over the world about the potential of my project, now we’re speed tracking our efforts to meet every grant deadline. I will focus in pitching for investment very soon, I just finished a program that prepared me to have all the resources needed to go get the big bucks.

3)Time, well if you are an entrepreneur like me you will understand when I say I literally eat-live- sleep Study in Kenya, balancing a personal life and a business don’t seem to be inclusive. It harms relationships that require your time. Time is the one thing I can’t offer to people who are not part of my dream at the moment. But my dream is much bigger, I have proven to myself this is a good business and will help a number of people, so at least I have that to keep me inspired and working around the clock.

 

Any external funding, how much, from who?

I have been fortunate as Study in Kenya is among 5 start-ups to receive $5,000 seed funding from the GrowthHub incubator program towards the pilot. Although the big bucks have not yet showed up, I am pretty confident all my efforts will start paying off soon, maybe sooner than you can imagine!

 

studkenyaIs finding a course or college a problem in Kenya?

Yes! It is, it’s so impressive how Kenya is considered the Silicon Valley of Africa, and how many of our people have travelled the world to get quality higher education, and yet in our very own backyard you can’t manage to put one and one together. During my market research I found interesting data mostly pointing at the miscommunication between the universities and the potential students. Students are looking for courses and the universities/colleges that offer those programs, and in order to match them both you have to physically visit the institutions. The lines at their admission centers are crazy! And yet, many people have missed deadlines for applications after returning home because they weren’t advised or relied in friends and family to pass the information along without taking into consideration dates and requirements.

 

Do you have any competition? How unique are you from them?

In these times ruled by technology there is always competition, however, we’re not selling information, we’re selling a one-stop shop for higher education. We’re about to start an aggressive partnership campaign where we invite all universities to join our site for free, we’re not just listing courses, we’re partnering with them to present the most updated information, we’re actually allowing them to communicate directly to all potential students. Some milestones will be even more exciting but we’re not talking about them yet, we will once we have figured out some costly programming. We hope to become the number one site for students aiming to continue their higher education to get informed, get important resources, and eventually apply directly.

 

How does your platform work?

Study in Kenya is a one stop shop that allows you to search universities and programs and allows the student to compare up to 5 courses. They have access to the most updated information and courses directly sourced by each university and they have also access to all resources (application forms, paperwork requirements, bank accounts, etc) to download, contact information for admissions at the University and timelines with important dates. Soon we will allow them to apply directly through our website and track their application, we’re still working on protecting this information, this is probably the most costly part of our platform but because we really think this is a great advantage to both universities and students, we are confident we will unveil this service in our second year.

 

Where do you expect it to be in the next two years?

Ideally I will be partnered with all public and private universities and colleges in Kenya. By the end of the two years people should be able to apply, pay and track their application all through their user interface. I am also aiming to not only provide university courses to high school students, but all sorts of educational courses available for everyone in Kenya, from short courses, certificate courses, technical courses, graduate degrees, as well as a resources section that will feature scholarships, grants, and opportunities abroad for Kenyans. Many countries currently have all their application process for foreigners go through a similar website, I want this to be the one place where all Kenyans and foreigners alike apply for school, hopefully the department of education will support our efforts!

 

STEM-logoIs being a woman in business or tech a challenge?

Yes it is. The reactions I get from people when they learn that I am the one behind studyinkenya.co.ke is usually precious. The reaction I get when they learn that I am also the developer behind it is priceless. Those reactions speak volumes about how women are viewed in society and especially expectations of women in technology. When I was pursuing my undergrad, there were only 8 ladies in a class of 45. The enrollment numbers in some institutions are sad. No wonder people get shocked by women techpreneurs and I think women need to rise above the stereotype and prove that we are capable of being business people too. We need organizations looking to aid women start-ups to come in and help revolutionalize women’s start-ups in Africa. There are many initiatives seeking to increase the number of women enrolling for STEM based courses but I think more needs to be done to give them an idea of what they are capable of once in the space.

 

What is your word to Kenyan women on entrepreneurship? Should they leave it for the men?

Alot of successful entrepreneurs are men but that doesn’t mean that there are no successful women entrepreneurs. In Kenya we have Njeri Rionge, Juliana Rotich, Julie Gichuru, Cynthia Nyamai, Tabitha Karanja, Suzie Wokabi, and Joanne Mwangi to only name a few. But it is sad that for every woman entrepreneur, we can probably name 30 men. Very little is expected of women in business and I believe that the best time to excel is when people expect very little of you since then you have everything to prove to yourself and nothing to lose. The downside to this is that you have to work twice as hard to have a voice let alone become a force to reckon with and the upside is that everyone loves it when the underdog triumphs. The choice is yours.

Angaza Design Wants to Light Your World With Pay-As-You-Go Solar Solutions

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angazaFounded in Nairobi in 2012 by Lesley Silverthorn,  Victoria Arch  and Bryan Silverthorn, Angaza Design is an alternative energy startup providing Pay-As-You-Go solutions to resellers and distributors.
The founders say their Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) technology allows users to buy solar-ready products at affordable prices as if they were buying mobile phone airtime.
 The low cost solar energy products include a solar lamp dubbed the SoLite3 which was build from Angaza-designed hardware and software. The startup is also working on a PAYG-enabled 3rd party lamp later in the year.
SoLite3 is a PAYG-enabled solar lamp and mobile phone charger which is being sold via distribution partners in E. Africa. The team believs the lamp will end the woes of lack of power and light especially for people in communities without access to grid electricity.
The firm is also working on making their technology available to manufactures to use their PAYG  technology into their lamps for mass production.
 According to them, over 1.2 billion people have no access to electricity globally and end up spending millions using kerosene lamps and generators to light their homes and power home appliances. Kerosene and diesel and the disposable lithium batteries have effects to the environment and are also expensive.
It even worse in East Africa, where a typical family spends over 30 percent of their annual incomes on lighting their homes and charging their phones.
With over 16 million mobile money customers, Angaza’s PAYG platform can help rural and peri-urban consumers buy solar lanterns and fit them in their homes and pay using flexible terms of payment.
All a customer needs is commitment and  then Angaza will supply them with their products and follow their payment records remotely.
 Just like voice calls, the more a consumer uses their solar lanterns, the more they’ll pay.
The Angaza PAYG platform collects and respond to customer payments in real time, securely and reliably, and across countries and currencies. Angaza’a PAYG technology allows consumers to purchase PAYG-ready products over time, in affordable increments, just like they purchase cellular airtime.

DHL Donates Computers to Zawadi Africa Education Fund to Support Bright but Disadvantaged Girls

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(Seated) Mr. Peter Kuya showcasing the computer to Mr. Kenneth Kaunda HR DHL Express, Eva Ntalani Program Manager Zawadi Africa Education Fund- Kenya and Mrs. Anne Kyoya Executive Director Zawadi Educational fund
(Seated) Mr. Peter Kuya showcasing the computer to Mr. Kenneth Kaunda HR DHL Express, Eva Ntalani Program Manager Zawadi Africa Education Fund- Kenya   and Mrs. Anne Kyoya Executive Director Zawadi Educational fund
(Seated) Mr. Peter Kuya showcasing the computer to Mr. Kenneth Kaunda HR DHL Express, Eva Ntalani Program Manager Zawadi Africa Education Fund- Kenya
and Mrs. Anne Kyoya Executive Director Zawadi Educational fund

Logistics firm DHL wants to be part of your success.

The firm today donated computers and internship opportunities to the Zawadi Africa Education fund, a not-for-profit orgainzation supporting academically gifted but financially disadvantaged girls in Africa, in a move to change lives and through education and  employability.

Though DHL Kenya gave just 5 laptops, it will work with the foundation to build competency and skills at a personal and professional level and later give them opportunity to advance their careers through internships and life advice.

In a statement, DHL Express Managing Director for Kenya Mr. Alan Cassels said apart from empowering the girls intellectually, the initiative will add value and prepare the girls for the job market, which will go a long way in contributing towards the employability of the girls.

“We are here to help. This initiative will bridge the gap within the transitional phase of high school to that of an independent productive member of the society,” said Alan.

The donation is part of DHL’s comprehensive corporate social responsibility program structured along three pillars namely; Go Teach, for support of education activities; Go Green, for the environment; and Go Help, disaster management and prevention.

“We are confident that this donation will be a major boost to our efforts as Zawadi Africa in empowering the African girl child to be further empowered and equipped to make significant contributions to their communities. We are grateful to DHL for their worthy contribution and we look forward to furthering this partnership to enable us equip the girls with world-class education, and the right character development,” said Ms Ann Kyoya , Zawadi Africa Education Fund Executive Director.

Facial recognition gaining traction in HR – Accsys

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Teryl 2010_casual(1)HR experts say facial recognition is increasingly becoming popular for access control in commerce in South Africa beating biometric technology, based on fingerprint identification.

Security remains a priority for South African businesses and according to solution management specialists at Accsys, clients are beginning to take a vested interest in biometric solutions that are based on iris identification.

Accsys is a member of the Business Connexion Group (BCX) and national supplier of people management software and hardware solutions within the HR, payroll and time & attendance space.

The Sandton-based Company has established a leadership position within key business disciplines of time & attendance and access control solution development, integration and support.

 Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys, says whilst the domestic market has not yet gained maturity in terms of the full rollout and widespread commercial use of hardware based on facial recognition (readers, for example), the company has experienced a greater number of enquiries as to availability and cost.

“When it comes to reader technology, fingerprints remain the dominant technology within systems. However, facial recognition is also considered highly accurate and very difficult to manipulate or copy, which means less fraud and ultimately less risk to the company and cost reduction,” Schroenn explains. “We do receive enquiries about the level of development, availability and cost of integration and support for this technology.   There is also the “no touch” aspect to facial recognition, bringing in an hygiene factor.”

One of the main reasons for the increase in investment in biometric solutions by businesses is the desire to not only protect their resources, but also enhance the regulation of employees. As such biometric solutions seriously address issues like ‘buddy-clocking’ and the cost of arduous, outdated systems based on old-style clock and reader infrastructure.

 Technology that ‘reads’ the biological ‘make-up’ of an individual’s iris is on its way, but a great deal more research and development has to be completed before service providers can distribute and support it.

However Schroenn adds that when the market reaches this state of organisation, Accsys will be there to support local adoption, integration and application.

Accsys is an award winning supplier of payroll, HR, time & attendance and access control solutions that are designed to optimise the management of people and processes in business.  Accsys is an acknowledged market leader with customers in 13 countries.

Part of the Business Connexion Group of technology companies, Accsys’ success as an industry leader in the provision of HR solutions is built on a solid base of product excellence, customer satisfaction and total support.

The Accsys offering combines modern software solutions with high standards of service and an emphasis on training and skills upliftment.   Accsys prides itself on keeping a balance between consultants with strong academic qualifications and those with extensive industry knowledge.  The solutions have been developed in South Africa since 1981 and are geared towards enhancing local and African conditions.