It was pomp and fair as the JKUAT Tech Expo marked 10 years of excellence. The students’ run expo premiered 2009, in a bid to encourage and support students’ innovative ideas in order to come up with creative, world-transforming innovations billed to offer solutions to real problems affecting humanity.
The JKUAT Tech Expo strives to align its projects with the SDGs with the aim of driving innovation and creating value to the society. And this was no different, as the University staged the two-day annual event for the tenth time, February 27, 2020.
Out of the 17 SDGs, the expo, dubbed JKUAT Tech Expo 10.0, hinged on SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and community), SDG 12 (Sustainable consumption and production patterns) and SDG 13 (Climate action).
Over the years, it has been said that the youth are the main beneficiary of the SDG goals and their enthusiasm and ingenuity need to be harnessed to foster development. Lauding JKUAT for providing an enabling mentorship environment, facilities and resources required to develop students’ project ideas into viable projects, Ms. Wambui Mbesa opined, “It is gratifying to note that the annual JKUAT Tech Expo has ensured over the years, that students are note merely passive bystanders but active engineers of solutions to problems facing humanity. And most importantly through technology.”
Ms. Wambui, Chief Executive Officer, INTRASOFT International East Africa, and Chief Guest of the expo, urged the students to take advantage of the digital age to innovate without fear, push their innovations to the next level and venture into the real world.
“Technology is the precursor of globalization and the emerging trends of Big data, mobility, cloud computing, IoT, AI, Block chain, ML combined with the proliferation of devices cannot be ignored. These trends are opening up opportunities for the curious mind,” said Ms. Wambui.
She further appealed to the government, academia and private sector to initiate programs that are youth-centric, aimed at empowering them to be part of the national effort in providing tangible solutions to the challenges facing the Country.
On her part, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi informed the congregation that the JKUAT Tech Expo, over the past decade, has given birth to great ideas from brilliant minds committed to providing solutions to Kenya’s socio- economic challenges.
The Vice Chancellor cited the success stories of Dennis Chang’ach, co-founders of AgriQ & Automations Start-up Company; Freshia Sackey, an Electronic and Computer Engineering student, who bagged the innovator of the year award in the 4th edition of the Nairobi Tech Week 2019; Abel Masai, the founder and CEO of Kocela; Prince Charles Oduk, founder of Prince Automation and Innovation Company and Emmanuel Simiyu, Founder and CEO of GoIP, a company that offers Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions, all alumni of JKUAT and past Tech Expo innovators.
Prof. Ngumi said the University will continue to produce quality graduates with entrepreneurial minds and JKUAT’s training ensures that they exploit the knowledge gained in class to produce professionals, scientists and entrepreneurs across their various fields of study.
Council member, Mr. Joseph Gitonga, lauded the innovators for their creativity and ingenuity and said as a council they were committed to promoting the spirit of research and innovation for sustainable development. He further advised the innovators to come up with solutions that focus on what works well for the end user for scalability and success.
On her part, Deputy Vice Chancellor (RPE), Prof. Mary Abukutsa under whose docket the Expo is domiciled, said the JKUAT Tech Expo strives to create a culture of job creation, and challenged the innovators and students to make it a habit to innovate and think through ideas, while mulling over ways of converting them into viable products.
This year’s expo was also graced by various industry partners including Konza Technopolis, Coffee Board of Kenya, Communication Authority, L’Oreal East Africa Ltd among others.