m:lab East Africa held its inaugural graduation for the first and second wave trainees on Monday 16th July, 2012 at the iHub. The graduation saw 23 former trainees awarded certificates in Mobile Application Development and Entrepreneurship. The chief guest at the ceremony was Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication and Key Guests included Erik Hersman (Founder,iHub), Ken Mwenda (Managing Director Emobilis) and Dr. Moses Rugutt (Deputy Council Secretary, National Council of Science and Technology). m:Lab Corporate partners, invited guests, family and friends joined the graduates in celebrating this milestone in their lives.
The graduation ceremony saw two startups whose formation had been inspired by the training receive trophies for commendable traction after the training. The two startups were Fomobi Solutions Limited led by Jacob Mwema and Mobilab Limited led by Patrick Mutahi. Fomobi Solutions had two applications(MTracker and SchoolBursar) in the Pivot East Finals and won in the Financial Services Category with SchoolBursar. Mobilab Limited was a Pivot East 2012 finalist with their MVerified product in the finals Utility Category. Pivot East is East Africa's premier mobile entrepreneurship competition and pitching conference held annually.
Jacob Mwema with his trophy Patrick Mutahi with his Trophy
During the speeches session, Victor Karanja in his Valedictory address termed the training experience as “Life Changing.” He said the course encouraged him to be his own boss and that to him was the greatest thing he gained from the training. Ken Mwenda of Emobilis reminded the trainees that we live in interesting times in Africa, when mobile penetration is 74% in Kenya, and that they should take advantage of that. Karanja Macharia, Mobile Planet CEO, gave the graduates his personal experience story on how to make it. He told them that success comes from honesty and fair treatment of employees. He advised them to work with people who have marketing skills to help push for their products as well to acquire and maintain clients. m:lab partners also sent representatives to speak and give wise counsel to the graduates. These included inMobi's Moses Kemibaro, Nokia's Peter Karimi, Samsung's Job Kingori, Google's Chris Kiagiri and Mercy Corps' Elliot Wilkes
The 23 graduates given the "power to code" were: Dickson Nganga, Caroline Muchai, Mukeli Matei, Mwema Jacob, Nimrod Kibua, Samuel Kimani, Patrick Mutahi, James Losikany, Allan Onchuru, Nelson Bore, Nyambura Muhia, Daniel Thuranira, Richard Mujyambere, Anthony Mutisya, Njoro Kitindi, Michael Wanyama, Simon Mutua, Joe Okatch, Vera Onunda, Kevin Ngeno, Nicholas Waweru,Carolyne Kariuki, and Victor Karanja. Congratulations to them all, we wish you all the very best.
The next intake (wave 4) will start training in September 2012. Applications for this intake are open on the m:Lab’s website. The call for applications closes on Sunday 12th August 2012. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.