By James Ndiga
Two months ago, iHub devised an outreach initiative to reach out to universities and high schools students with an aim of creating awareness about iHub, its initiatives, and opportunities available for students at the iHub. Later, we merged with start-ups to talk to students about the challenges and opportunities of being ICT entrepreneurs and advice for those looking to become ICT entrepreneurs.
As part of this ongoing outreach effort, on Friday, 5th July, a team of volunteers from the iHub went to visit with the computer science and engineering students at Egerton University. iHub team, lead start ups and visiting fellows from IBM-Cameroon and iWinPay-Cameroon went to talk to them about iHub and the various initiatives and opportunities in it, their experiences and challenges as start ups and the opportunities in ICT entrepreneurship. Students from Nakuru Town Campus and Njoro Campus gathered at Njoro Campus and the venue was packed to capacity with many eager students.
The event was a big learning experience; speakers presented their startups one after the other with different stories about their challenges, opportunities, and their unique paths to “success.” Some of the startups started as university projects and ended up becoming sustainable products.
To most of the students, the event was even better than what they were expecting. They learned about new areas that they can work on, most notably the Raspberry Pi. Students were also very interested in Africa’s Talking API for bulk SMS and USSD, the Softkenya application and the Gigwapi application.
One of the key challenges noted by the students was that they lack exposure to the opportunities available to them. Specifically, one of the students was developing a similar application as one that was presented. Were it not for the outreach session, he stated that he would not have considered the possibility of merging with an already established start-up.
Students also felt that they are being left behind in technological development due to their marginalized locations outside of Nairobi, with the fact that most events such as hackathons and bootcamps are never hosted in these areas.
All in all, the session was a great experience for students and most of them felt inspired after the event. “We are looking forward to more events like this and even more startups sharing their experiences with us,” said Stephen Muiruri, Project Manager EUCOSSA.
If you are interested in participating in future outreach events, please contact Ndiga@ihub.co.ke.