This past Saturday, we had the privilege of having Dr Bitange Ndemo
conduct his first of a monthly series of Entrepreneurship Forums at the iHub . I was quite excited to have him start this series, especially as his weekly columns in the Daily Nation and the Business Daily have a attracted a wide readership, and sparked lots of useful discussion on the state of the Kenya economy, entrepreneurship, industrialisation, and are a source of motivation to many who aspire venturing into entrepreneurship and harnessing modern technology.
"The hand-cart is a national shame. Instead of killing our people with ethanol, let's make a two stroke engine to pull goods" ~ Dr Ndemo
Dr Ndemo sits on the Advisory Board of the iHub and has lots of experience having worked in government and now as a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Nairobi. This first event came together in the days following Dr Ndemo’s article in the Daily Nation of Monday 12th May
on thevalue chain of livestock farming as a basis of wealth creation, and attracted over 7o participants from various backgrounds. This event was free of charge. Daktari promised to ensure that there was a world class panel during each of these monthly forums as he curated each session. This time round, Dr Kamau Gachigi from the University of Nairobi's FabLab
and Dr Katharyn White from IBM formed the panel.
"Small ideas over a period of improvement become big ideas, and big business" ~ Dr Ndemo
Dr Ndemo started the session by sharing his ideas on innovation and entrepreneurship , and the importance of harnessing technology as well as enhancing the value chain in various industries. He admitted that he was initially certain of the form this event would take, but decided that to just start it - a lesson in of itself for aspiring innovators. The iHub has previously attracted entrepreneurs in the tech space, with mobile and web developers forming a large chunk. It was thus quite exciting to have a diverse group of people in the room, something that can spark new ideas and products.
"FabLab Nairobi can make "almost anything" " ~ Dr Gachigi
Dr Kamau Gachigi
from the UON FabLab talked about growing industrial prototyping and production in Kenya. With hardware innovations like the BRCK
as well as facilities in spaces like the UON FabLab and soon, GearBox
, high tech manufacturing can take off in Kenya, with a focus on manufacturing products that are useful in the developing world. Katharyn White next talked about opportunities available in developing solutions that harness IBM's Watson
. There was also present several entrepreneurs, ranging from dairy goat rearing in an agribusiness enterprise, to a 3D printing startup.
"Data is now a natural resource" ~ Katharyn White
The forum wound down one hour past the scheduled stop time; such was the excitement in the room and the exchange of ideas and thoughts, with many looking forward to the next month's session.Dates for the next#EntrepreneursForumKe will be communicated on our blog once firmed up.