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iHub By Jessica Colaço / November 1, 2010

The rise of the lady “techpreneur” at IPO48


The beginnings… 52 days after the launch of the iHub in Nairobi,  a group called AkiraChix was born at the *iHub_. Akira is a Japanese word that means ‘energy’ and ‘Intelligence’, those are the two words that aptly describe this group of young ladies, who have channeled their energy and intelligence in various ways within the tech community through projects such as Akishika which gives girls in poor urban communities IT and life skills. These ladies have proved to be hardcore developers and budding entrepreneurs giving rise to what we call the :”the lady techpreneur!”

The journey… Two AkiraChix members embarked on an entrepreneurial journey when they learnt about IPO48 organized by HumanIPO and HumanIPO is a startup platform founded in 2009 and focuses on bringing together small investors with entrepreneurs and startups by collaborating and networking via a social media platform. More in the video snippet below:

There were 18 ideas developed over the 48 hours and M-Farm developed by Jamila Amin and Susan Eve who are interns at the iHub and members of AkiraChix, scooped the Ksh.1,000,000 (10,000 EUR) cash prize award to catalyze M-Farm further.

Susan and Jamila

M-Farm is a mobile Information Resource Center that focuses on delivering real time information to the farmers on current market prices,weather alerts and agro-supplies within the location, and bringing farmers together in a collaborative forum via the mobile phone.

These young ladies have a long journey ahead of them as there are a million people out there with a million great ideas, and their all trying to be entrepreneurs. They all want a piece of that yummy pie as they try to build a makeshift company. With so much competition and the hardships of the economy, most of them are going to fail. So what sets the winners apart? Passion.  So I’ll ask you again, are you passionate about what your doing?

You have to be passionate about what your doing to be successful in this world, it’s a must. You cant just like it, you gotta love it! Because if you dont, someone who does love it will come along and do the same thing your doing. And they will do it better. So seriously reflect and think about: What am I truly passionate about? And if what your doing comes to mind, then proceed to the next question.

If your unsure about what you should be doing then maybe you should re-evaluate your priorities. Go look in the mirror, do you see an entrepreneur staring back at you? Or are you sure its not just an idea person? Some people are very good at coming up with ideas, but not very good at carrying them through to fruition. Just being an idea person does not make you an entrepreneur, instead you have to have the ability to take that idea to reality.

Part of being an entrepreneur is not so much asking will there be setbacks, because there will be setbacks, but more so asking yourself do I have the determination and drive to get through those setbacks.  You never know if the next time you try something that will be the time you succeed so you should never stop until you are a success. If you fail along the way then you learn from your mistakes and try again at something else. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. it’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.

Author : Jessica Colaço

Jessica Colaço is currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She is passionate about Innovation, Research, Mobile and Robotics Technology, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in Kenya as she uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. As an upcoming angel investor, she courts local and international investors to invest in great tech ideas and companies at idea and concept stage. She is also a Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenya's business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her endeavour is to put Kenya and Africa on the map for technology achievements and spur innovation within the country and continent! She blogs at:

  • Alex Nyika at 06:56:27AM Monday, November 1, 2010


  • William Nguru at 07:05:28AM Monday, November 1, 2010

    Congratulations ladies!!

  • Tweets that mention The rise of the lady “techpreneur” at IPO48 *iHub_ -- at 07:39:33AM Monday, November 1, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jessica, Sara-Jayne Farmer, victor oloo, Marie Githinji, Maryanne and others. Maryanne said: RT @iHubNairobi: The rise of the lady “techpreneur” at IPO48 [...]

  • Kagai Macharia at 07:41:24AM Monday, November 1, 2010

    Thanks for the tips on what separates entrepreneurs from idealists. Quite insightful. Cheers guys an keep the good work

  • Eric Kotonya at 10:57:50AM Monday, November 1, 2010

    What a team!

  • Andrew at 15:14:15PM Monday, November 1, 2010

    congrats to Jamila and Team …Go Akira Chix…

  • Kigen at 06:49:41AM Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    …….. Congrats…………! Sue wow….!!!

  • Bernard at 08:44:45AM Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Kudos Jamilla and Susan, u’ve really done us proud, probably a bit envious, but very proud, keep up the great spirit.

  • Nairobian Perspective at 12:39:11PM Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Quite a practical idea, very relevant to the common mwananchi, congratulations are in order to the team.Kudos!

  • polly at 17:14:55PM Thursday, November 4, 2010

    a Noble Idea from insightful ladies…

  • oscar at 16:10:07PM Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Lovely…keep it up guys

  • AITI Alumni Success « The MIT AITI Blog at 11:05:08AM Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    [...] But it’s not all about the iChecki team.  Susan Eve Oguya, another AITI alum, was part of the team that won 1 M Kenyan Shillings (12.4k USD) at the IPO48 contest with her M-Farm idea!  See articles here, here, and here. [...]

  • Africa has some Fabulous Women in Tech : The Next Women at 09:34:47AM Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    [...] Catherine Kiguru. Susan Eve, and Jamila Abass. Watch the Video Pitch of IPO48 Winner m-Farm. Read more of the story on [...]

  • AkiraChix honoured as Unsung Heros by US Ambassador Ranneberger in Nairobi *iHub_ at 16:54:41PM Monday, March 14, 2011

    [...] continually urge members to come up with innovations and one major achievement of the AkiraChix is M-Farm. Five members of the AkiraChix participated in the IPO48 competition where different groups were [...]

  • Before Anybody Convinces You That NGO’s Are Messing Up The Tech Ecosystem in Africa140friday at 16:23:48PM Friday, June 13, 2014

    […] on the startup space 88Mph, they went straight to the NGO funded communities at IHUB and run a competition that offered 1 million shillings to the […]

  • Making Agriculture Cool | Bankelele at 15:42:22PM Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    […] and 30# were from people aged 18 – 25 years.- Finally M-farm, an information resource for farmers scooped the top prize in last week’s IPO48 entrepreneur […]


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