University students have been challenged to go beyond their academic work in the lecture halls and strive to forge and cultivate proactive and close networks with people and organizations who can challenge and propel them towards actualizing their career aspirations and entrepreneurial ideas.
Speaking to the third and fourth year undergraduate students pursuing Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Computer Technology, Business Information Technology and Computer Science at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology during a Career Mentorship Talk on Technology and Entrepreneurship, Thursday, July 12, 2018, the Kuza Biashara Founder, CEO and Chief Mentor, Mr. Sriram Bharatam gave insights from his own life experiences to reinforce the fact that the best time for any one especially students to come up with great innovative ideas is when they are still on the campus.
“The best time to do an innovation is when you are on campus. Use the resources around you- the tools, Internet, Facebook. Tweeter to develop your idea…most successful people started their ideas when still on campus,” Mr. Bharatam observed.
During the entire session that saw speakers share useful tips interspersed with anecdotes from personal experiences, the Kuza Biashara CEO – who was accompanied by Kuza Biashara’s Design Strategist, Mr. Stanley Mwangi and RoseIrene Githige (in charge of Partnerships and New Business) – gave examples of renowned innovators and entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, among others, who came up with significant innovations and urged students to explore the many innovation and mentorship forums around Nairobi to horn their skills.
Characterizing Kuza Biashara as a social technology enterprise that is focused on providing entrepreneurship and personal development opportunities to micro and small enterprises since its founding in 2011, Mr. Bharatam posed: “Can you identify a problem and solve it? If you have a goal and it’s just in the mind, there are chances that it will just remain in your mind. But if you have it and you put it on paper, chances are high you are likely to achieve it 60 percent.”
Most people, Mr. Bharatam stated, have wonderful ideas that unfortunately end up dying at the execution level. He urged students to simplify technology to solve the problems affecting people in the society, and encouraged students to believe in what they do and remain focused without giving up. “If you are trying to reach someone, try up to eleven times. Do not try one, two, three times and give up. Reach out to people who can challenge you.”
Bharatam encouraged students to engage Kuza Biashara and explore the opportunities in data sciences, IT mobile technologies, artificial intelligence, among others.
Mr. Mwangi decried what he identified as a major bottleneck hindering Africa’s progress. “It is not the hardware, but the software. The peoples’ mindset is the greatest obstacle to achieving their objectives in life…” He challenged the students to change their mindset: “To address these challenge, we need to rethink and re-evaluate how we perceive the world and our thought processes,” Mr. Mwangi stated.
On her part, Ms. Githige told students that the situation an individual is in today – the micro environment – can actually define them differently, and advised them to look around and identify their strengths, and further called upon students to “know the right people, network and identify opportunities. The people and the opportunities will enable you to become the person you really want to be.”
Ms. Githige noted that “at KUZA Biashara, we are job creators and help individuals to create jobs. We are here to encourage and challenge you to analyse your strengths and weaknesses and build on them for personal development.”
The Director, School of Computing and Information Technology, Prof. Stephen Kimani, appreciated Kuza Biashara team for finding time to mentor the students, noting that the mentorship event builds on the JKUAT and KUZA Biashara partnership that affords talented students the opportunity to be mentored, trained and supported in innovation incubation as well as academia-industry engagement. The event was also attended by staff from the School of Computing and Information Technology.