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Nairobi played host to yet another round of the African Women in Tech Conference (AWIT). This latest conference #AWITKenya2017 brought together women professionals and budding female techies within the local STEM industry.

This event was not only geared towards encouraging young women to pursue STEM-related education and careers. It also provided an opportune platform where the seasoned professional women and women just starting out in the STEM field to meet. The former acted as mentors while the latter were gladly looking forward to mentorship opportunities.

The attendees comprised of young women who are barely starting their undergraduate studies in Computer Science to those who had just completed their Ph.D. in the same field. The two ladies, at the opposite side of the spectrum, were sharing notes and learning from one another.

One of the most noteworthy attendees and speaker at the event, who also happens to be an excellent mentor and role models for the young women in attendance include Dr. Chao Mbogo.

The Event before the Event

On June 28, AWIT held a networking session at the Nairobi Garage. A closed-group-invite-only session that saw established business women and female professionals come together to network. This session took place in the evening 5 pm – 8 pm, it was the event before the main event meant for networking.african women in tech awit awitkenya2017

The event was also an opportune platform for female entrepreneurs to interact with one another. In attendance were professional women running their startup businesses, and were on the lookout for partnership and networks that would scale their reach.

Day I of AWITKenya2017 Conference

AWITKenya kicked off on the first day with a lot of steam. On Thursday, July 29, the conference opened its doors at 7 am, and the ladies started streaming into the Michael Joseph Center hall and greeted with warm breakfast as they took to their seats.african women in tech awit awitkenya2017african women in tech awit awitkenya2017

AWITKenya kicked off on the first day (June 29) with a lot of steam, with Janet Kemboi head of communications Uber East Africa, taking the first session. Kemboi talked matters taxi hailing app, and how it has made life convenient for both the drivers and commuters.

The Founder and CEO of IBOM LLC, the parent company of AWIT and Innov8tiv, Anie Akpe, also took to the stage to talk about funding. She spoke of the numerous funding opportunities starts could get from crowdfunding platforms, as an alternative to the conventional funding channels. Giving examples of Kickstarter and Indiegogo as some of the best platforms to explore when startups are looking for funding for their young ventures.

“Today we are going to talk about funding, we have quite a few people who will talk about businesses and entrepreneurship, we are also going to talk about careers, education and machine learning which our new product right now for those who don’t know but has been in the industry for a while so we are looking forward to it, and I am excited.

This year we have partnered up with investors who are willing to look at our entrepreneurs and see if their businesses are viable products and if they are, they are willing to invest from $50,000 to $250,000” – Anie Akpe.

James Mwai took to the stage to walk the attendees through “From Idea to Execution: Using Google Products to Grow your Platform.” Mwai was essentially talking to startup techies on affordable and readily available Google platforms that could help them deploy and scale their app faster and wider.

AWITKenya2017 Pitch Competition

BuuPass: This is your go-to platform for bus bookings. You know how we all hate queuing up in line and wasting time to get onto a bus? Well, BuuPass makes it easy for you to book a bus on your phone and never have to deal with all that hassle.

FARMALL: Is a platform that makes agricultural tools and resources available to farm seekers and lenders. If you’re interested in farming, but you do not have land, the machinery, and financial resources to start, FARMALL matches you with landowners with a parcel of land they are not using, owners of farm machinery they’re not fully utilizing and money lending institutions to give you the capital to start farming.

Oriel Adapters: They have a product that is an innovation of your typical extension cord for wall power outlet. The extension, other than bringing wall power outlet closer to your devices, it also protects your device battery from overcharge and surging current. This device is particularly important when you want to leave your device charging overnight. It will cut off the power supply to your devices once it dictates that the battery is fully charged.

Parmat: It’s an agribusiness startup that does value addition to the banana food crop. They process the bananas further to make flour that can be consumed in a number of ways; such as porridge.

Verdict

  • 1st Place Winner – BuuPass: BussPass knocked the socks off the judges’ feet and came up as first place winners for the AWIT Pitch Competition.
  • 2nd Place Winner – FARMALL: Came in second place.

The first and second place winner walked home with cash awards, and they got 3 months office space at the Nairobi Garage.

3rd Place Winner –  Parmat: Coming in third place, Parmat walked home with a cash award.

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