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Kenyan beats ICT world to Sh80m

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by Certified, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. C

    Certified Member

    #1
    Sep 17, 2010
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    A week ago, Mr John Waibochi was having drinks with his peers at a Nairobi hotel discussing his child’s birthday party held the previous weekend.

    ‘Murats’ (as his peers call him), concerned about what the future held for his child, spoke passionately about how he wanted to create opportunities for the millions of unemployed youth in Kenya. And on Wednesday night, the 40-something former St Mary’s graduate was catapulted to the world stage when he received a Sh80 million ($1 million) grant from mobile manufacturer Nokia for his software creation.

    “In the future, success will depend on ability to adapt to technology and embrace mobility. This is one of the avenues that companies can now easily use to ensure real time access to the entire supply chain,” said Mr Waibochi, the chief executive of Virtual City, a software company, which he founded in 2000.

    The firm’s solution dubbed Mobile Distributor — aimed at streamlining the supply chain for distributors and retailers of fast moving consumer goods in emerging markets — emerged the winner in the Nokia’s Growth Economy Venture Challenge.

    The product is designed to improve distribution systems for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the fast moving consumer goods market.

    The solution aims to boost profitability of SMEs by increasing the number of transactions and improving inventory management, the accuracy of records and reporting from the field.

    “It enables distributors and retailers to sell in the market using the Nokia mobile phones for their sales, deliveries, orders and cash collection,” said Mr Waibochi.

    The Nokia Growth Economy Venture Challenge calls on innovators from around the world to create mobile products or services that can improve the lives of people in developing nations and compete for the chance to win venture capital investment of $1 million.

    But industry analysts point to the fact that Virtual City beat 54 other products from around the world to win the challenge as an indicator of wider developments in the country’s software industry.

    Although official figures from the ICT Board indicate that the country makes just over Sh700 million from software development on an annual basis, the figure is said to represent just a fraction of what several Kenyan firms make from the sector.

    Local software house Compulynx, which develops point of sale solutions for the retail sector, said it made Sh400 million in software exports in 2009.

    “This is definitely a growth market for Kenya. The software industry has recorded almost double growth annually for the past couple of years. The challenge is for us to create solutions that the world does not already have,” said Mr Brian Ambajah, the head of marketing and business development at Turnkey Africa, a local software development house.

    Analysts say that the country is carving a niche for itself in designing unique mobile solutions such as the one for which Virtual City was honoured.

    This is attributed to the relatively high uptake of mobile services in the country and the availability of a rising crop of young university graduates specialising in technology-related fields.

    Export destinations include countries such as Sweden, Nigeria, and India, reputed to be the world’s software development hub.
    For the last five years, international firms such as Google, Facebook, Nokia and Blackberry have combed Kenyan universities searching for developers able to create unique solutions for mobile phones or the internet.

    The company’s host annual conferences where they ask students to create solutions for world problems, offering them the opportunity to be absorbed into the companies or to interact with global thought leaders on future trends, with Strathmore University emerging as a popular venue for recruitment drives.

    “There is significant entrepreneurial, innovative and technical talent in East Africa that can be harnessed in this area,” said Judith McHale, US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

    The US Department of State is one of the most recent entrants into the race for a larger share of the local software market, which aims to become part of the global software sector currently estimated to be worth $1.2 trillion.

    In the last year, a string of initiatives have been launched, aiming to position Kenya as a global software hub, hoping to tackle industry challenges such as how to get financing for ideas and creating links between companies and individual developers.

    Some of the biggest challenges developers face include finding financial backing, sourcing equipment, and bridging the divide between industry and education systems.

    Revenue earners

    In recognition of the potential of the sector to contribute to economic growth, the government has hinted that it will shift its focus from the business process outsourcing industry to the Software and Animation sectors, as both have proved to be attractive revenue earners for local developers.

    The ICT Board plans to adopt a cluster approach, using an incubation programme to focus on upcoming entrepreneurs who want to grow in applications development both for local and export markets.

    “For the established, a software developer standard that is globally accepted is in the offing to ensure that products from Kenya and the region are competitive and give the client assurance on quality. We believe this will set the country off on a success trajectory and acceptance as a global player,” said Paul Kukubo, ICT Board chairman.

    Analysts view Mr Waibochi’s achievement as the trigger needed to boost Kenya’s software development aspirations.

    Ten year-old Virtual City has designed technology solutions that have enabled local and international organisations to maximise the value of their investment by aligning IT with their business requirements, increasing agility, managing risk and making full use of IT infrastructure.

    Mr Waibochi said his goal is to help companies realise the need for innovative use of technology that would save them money, instill efficiency, boost productivity and improve their bottom-line.

    For Nokia, the $1 million award provides a “solution that will bring value to a large number of beneficiaries comprising thousands of small and micro enterprises in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market through the smart application of mobile business and cashless payment technologies,” it said in a statement.

    The project is expected to generate revenue for the partners Virtual City and Nokia, while increasing the income of the stakeholders in the supply chain by opening up increased product sales coupled with additional benefits of mobile payment capabilities, transaction fees revenue and loyalty programme benefits, facilitated by inexpensive and affordable mobile phones.

    The money will be invested in venture capital and carries a commitment from Nokia to help turn Mr Waibochi’s idea into a business reality.

    According to Mr Waibochi, mobile solutions such as the one that won the award allow managers to make informed decisions at any time of day since they are accessible to what is happening in the field real time.

    “For instance, a manufacturing company can easily adjust production depending on the latest demand statistics on the market saving on losses in revenue due to less stock or waste resulting from unsold stock,” he said.

    Virtual City has developed a number of mobility solutions to cater for the needs of supply chain companies locally and beyond.

    The tea industry has taken up some of these solutions and the firm is targeting half a million tea farmers by the end of the year.

    “We have already covered 60 per cent of the tea farmers and going by our progress, we intend to bring on board the remaining by the end of the year. This will see tea farmers benefit from revolutionary technology that improves efficiency and transfer of data at tea buying centres,” said Mr Waibochi.



    Source: Business Daily: *- Company Industry*|Kenyan beats ICT world to Sh80m
     
  2. U

    Ubungoubungo JF-Expert Member

    #2
    Sep 21, 2010
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    hawa koloni la waingereza wana shida sana. mawazo yao yote hata bila kuambiwa unajua tu kuwa ni mkenya. pole kwa kujiongelesha mwenyewe, nobody is interested with what you've posted here. kila mtu anaona unapoteza muda.
     
  3. m

    masssaiboi JF-Expert Member

    #3
    Sep 21, 2010
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    Wabongo mmeanza wivu wenu
     
  4. C

    Certified Member

    #4
    Sep 21, 2010
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    :confused2::confused2: Am i offending you by posting this article? if nobody is interested let it be and don't waste time to reply.
     
  5. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    #5
    Sep 22, 2010
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
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    Kenya pumps Sh230m in building a software hub

    [​IMG]

    People go about their work at the iHub offices at Bishop Magua Centre along Ngong Road in Nairobi, September 18th, 2010.


    By JEVANS NYABIAGE,
    Posted Monday, September 20 2010 at 15:37

    The outlook for technology and innovation in Kenya looks bright. As the country positions itself to ride the wave of web and mobile products and services, an merging group of talented software developers, made up of fresh IT graduates and tech entrepreneurs, is opening a new growth area using technology.

    In a country where mobile phones are accessible to more than 50 per cent of households, high uptake of the technology is pushing more software developers to create solutions to tap into this global growth.

    Inspiration is coming from a number of successful software companies in Kenya, such as Craft Silicon and Software Technologies, two of the software pioneers in Kenya. University curricula are being updated with specialist courses.

    Big opportunities lie in the opening up of data, which will see more value-added services that will address emerging consumer needs.

    Mr Moses Kemibaro, co-founder of Dotsavvy Ltd, a digital services provider, says although Kenya has a number of local software development firms and entrepreneurs doing everything from building Sacco applications, mobile and web applications, it still lags behind.

    "We have a long way to get to where India is today," Mr Kemibaro says.

    India is the capital of software development and outsourcing in a global market estimated at $303.8 billion in 2008, an increase of 6.5 per cent from the previous year, according to market researcher DataMonitor, which forecasts that in 2013, the global software market will be $ 457 billion, an increase of 50.5 per cent from since 2008.

    Its software industry, mostly based in Bangalore, generated four million jobs, which accounts for 7 per cent of India's total GDP, in the year 2008. India exports software and services to over 95 countries.

    It is these kind of stories that have the Kenyan government smitten with the tech industry. It has created a Sh320 million ($4 million) content generation grant for developers.

    "We have seen the number grow," says Communication and Information minister Mr Samuel Poghisio. "It is a clear indicator that Kenya is rife with innovative talent and with requisite investment. It is expected that content will transform the way Kenyans live, work and play."

    This wave has given rise to hubs and labs to nurture innovation. One of them is Nairobi-based iHub, shorthand for Innovation Hub, founded by tech nerds and blogging enthusiasts, which seeks to link technologists, innovators and investors.

    Nailab, also based in Nairobi, incubates space for ICT-based start-ups. Nokia has also been active, with its Research and Sub-contracting Lab and User Experience Unit at the University of Nairobi.

    On its application store Ovi, Nokia is promoting two local applications – Afro Hot and Wazzup – developed by two students at the University of Nairobi.

    Afro Hot is a vanity application that rates how hot you are while Wazzup gives tracks what is happening in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique.

    The world's leading mobile handsets maker, Nokia, awarded a Virtual City, a Kenyan IT company, Sh80 million in a global competition for innovative applications.

    Tech giants and telecoms players are vying to win software developer mindshare to add value to their devices and networks. No wonder Nairobi is home to tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Nokia, HP.

    Last week, Google launched Android Market in Kenya, a distribution platform, to help developers sell applications developed for use on Android-powered cell phones. Recently, Safaricom unveiled Safaricom Academy at Strathmore University build IT talent for its business.

    Software developers have formed Skunkworks, a group that hosts online discussions with occasional real-life meetings.

    Probably one of the Kenya's biggest software innovation success stories is Ushahidi. The open-source platform was developed in the aftermath of the disputed General Election of 2007 and was used with Google Maps to identify hotspots of ethnic tension.

    It uses the concept of crowdsourcing, which involves outsourcing tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call.

    Daily Nation:*- Smart Company*|Kenya pumps Sh230m in building a software hub
     
  6. M

    Mnairobi JF-Expert Member

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    Sep 22, 2010
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    Great article. Wow i didnt know was such a multi-billion dollar industry. Kenya has been triyng hard to break into it, im not sure why there hasnt been much success on this front. Im sure you can get at least 5 million Kenyans with good and clear English to work in call centers, Lets hope the future comes with success.
     
  7. RealDeal

    RealDeal JF-Expert Member

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    Sep 22, 2010
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    iHub Nairobi.

    Welcome to the community_. Open Space for technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in Nairobi. © 2010 iHub_ Nairobi | All rights reserved

    ihub.jpg
     
  8. eliakeem

    eliakeem JF-Expert Member

    #8
    Sep 22, 2010
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    Again your true colour revealed.
    You are known for being a good example of the effect of colonialism. why not luo, or other kyn vernacular to work in call centres. Du poleni sana.
     
  9. Nyaralego

    Nyaralego JF-Expert Member

    #9
    Sep 22, 2010
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    it seems that your problem is not only with kenyan ppl but a major part of this problem is with the luo pple ha hahaha what a weird problem ...they exist with or without you. mayne get a grip!!!
     
  10. M

    Mnairobi JF-Expert Member

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    Sep 22, 2010
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    Dont expose your stupidity, do you understand the concept of call centers in the first place??????? Is Luo an international language??
     
  11. RealDeal

    RealDeal JF-Expert Member

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    For those with Computer related know-how, Adobe CS5 had a Kenyan launch early this year, and now with iHub in town, I'm sure soon enough we as East Africans are going to start using our own softwares soon enough, made by us.
     
  12. RealDeal

    RealDeal JF-Expert Member

    #12
    Sep 22, 2010
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    Coulda just ignored em. :noidea:
     
  13. eliakeem

    eliakeem JF-Expert Member

    #13
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    Is english the only international lingua (may be the only you know)? Huh!!!!! What about other international lingua? Emancepate yourselves from mental exploitation. Buul Shitti.
     
  14. eliakeem

    eliakeem JF-Expert Member

    #14
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    How will it help the common mwananchi?
     
  15. eliakeem

    eliakeem JF-Expert Member

    #15
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    you dont get me. just leave.
     
  16. M

    Mnairobi JF-Expert Member

    #16
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    Are you gonna answer my question or not???
     
  17. M

    Mnairobi JF-Expert Member

    #17
    Sep 22, 2010
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    What is the dominant language used in out sourcing, Kisukuma??????
     
  18. eliakeem

    eliakeem JF-Expert Member

    #18
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    Luo
     
  19. M

    Mnairobi JF-Expert Member

    #19
    Sep 22, 2010
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    Freakin troll
     
  20. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

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    Sep 22, 2010
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    Slow down son you killing em
     
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