Varsity Showcases Innovations at Pre-GES Expo

Kenya's Ambassador to UN Habitat, Hon. Sam Ongeri gets a feel of the Taifa Laptotop

Kenya’s Ambassador to UN Habitat, Hon. Sam Ongeri gets a feel of the Taifa Laptop

As the world turned its attention to Kenya for the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology took centre stage in showcasing its innovations and novel ideas to prospective investors and the public.

Through the School of Entrepreneurship, Procurement and Management, JKUAT sent 80 students to the Pre-GES Expo and Knowledge Sharing in which the University presented 30 innovations between 22 and 23 July.

Among the innovations was Taifa Laptop, the first locally conceived and designed computing device to retail in Kenya. Through the laptop, JKUAT has demonstrated its engineering ingenuity to offer globally competitive solutions to Kenya’s technology needs as the country transitions into a knowledge-based economy.

Then there was Waste to Wealth (W2W) project that aims to transform waste into usable products. On display were jewellery and teaching materials from waste paper; pen holders and vases from bones; and purses and bow-ties from plastics.

A student displays some of the products made from wastes under W2W project

Margaret Mwangi, a PhD in enterpreneurship student  displays some of the products made from wastes under W2W project

On another stand was a dynamic shoe that could be turned into open, or closed, even into a boot, depending on the need and taste of the user.

JKUAT has over the years cultivated a culture of creativity innovation and entrepreneurship among students and stuff, a practice that has not disappointed. The university has produced a number of innovations and undertaken technology transfer initiatives, impacting lives across Kenyan counties.

Team leader at the Expo, Henry Bwisa who is a professor of entrepreneurship, said the event exposed students on how to start and run businesses out of their innovation. The students also had a chance to receive constructive critiques about their ideas which Prof. Bwisa believes will ultimately lead to better concepts from the ones showcased.

Bwisa revealed that JKUAT has taken a new dimension in entrepreneurship teaching and research by integrating technology and innovation as a unit. In this approach, exams constitute actual innovations and ideas instead of written.

Prof. Bwisa (left) receives Makueni County Senator, Mutula Kilonzo Jnr at JKUAT stand during the expo

Prof. Bwisa (left) receives Makueni County Senator, Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. at JKUAT stand during the Expo

“We are moving into experiential learning, where an exam is a project and the marking scheme is the customer,” espoused Prof. Bwisa.

The innovations attracted a number of corporates including Equity Bank, Haco Industries, CCTV and BBC. Delegates from a number of counties also made stopovers at JKUAT stands.

The Pre- GES Summit Expo was staged to showcase Kenya’s innovations and investment opportunities. The 2015 GES is jointly hosted by US President Barack Obama and President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi for the first time in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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