The Kenya Tech Winners and Losers 2010

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2010 Winners (#Success)

iHub

It doesn’t come better than iHub…Nairobi’s Innovation Hub for the technology community. Launched back  in March in the year of our lord 2010  and since then it has lived to its billing.  I real conducive environment where smart, ambitious tech gurus exchange ideas, services and even money to create wealth.  Some of the great tech events this year took place  in iHub…You remember Barcamp Nairobi, Adobe Creative Suite 5 launch, Social Media Day, Africa Gathering Nairobi, just to mention a few

Virtual City


What could you possibly say about a Kenyan company that stands out and outshine the very best in the World? Virtual City won  Nokia Innovation Challenge Award , beating companies from 54 different countries.  We normally talk about putting Kenya on the World map, this was one of those times and the prize was $1 million (Ksh 80 Million)

And they did not stop there. Two months later they won The World Summit Award (WSA) on Mobile content 2010. Agrimanager Solution under the category of m-Health and Environment emerged the best and consequently awarded the Outstanding Regional Achievement Award for 2010 at the Winners Gala, Conference and Expo held in Abu Dhabi.

Kachwanya.com hereby declare Virtual City Tech company of the year 2010…Kudos

Mind Speak


Mindspeak, monthly  business club meeting at SilverBird Westgate has really captured the imagination of many Kenyans. According to Alykhan Satchu the brain behind it, the idea came to his  mind when he was at an event at San Francisco where he had a chance to meet Guy Kawasaki (former chief evangelist of Apple).   Full house is an understatement, when describing the attendance. And how about the speakers?  Top top top talents …..Liza Mucheru-Wisner , Bob Collymore CEO Safaricom, Martin Oduor Otieno CEO KCB, Jeff  Koinange All Kenyan All the Time ……and many more. Get more at Rich.co.ke

ICT Board

People have issues with the  Government in many areas but there is one branch of Government in Kenya that majority would give 100% pass …ICT Board.

Grants

In the course of the year ICT Board called for applications and successfully funded different Tech projects in the tune of  $4 million :

Government Information Portal’ grant  Winners

  • Octopus ICT Solutions Ltd for their ‘HIV and AIDS in the workplace e-Learning Course
  • . Infotrack Strategic Solutions Ltd for their ‘Teacher’s Portal’
  • iBid Labs for their ‘Kenya Online Museum’
  • Foundation Support Services (FSS) Ltd for their ‘IVR Tax Filing Solution’
  • BTI Millman Company Ltd for their ‘eMazingira Software Application’
  • RiverCross Technologies Ltd for their ‘EDUWEB – An education institution listing and interactive mapping portal’
  • JBA Advertising Co Ltd for their ‘Lost and Found Project’

Private Sector Category winners

  • Media Edge Communications -Farmer Mobile banking and mobile e-Services Transaction Platform
  • .Kenya School of Technology Studies -Development and Implementation of Mobile Learning in Kenya.
  • KenyaBuzz -Mobile phone applications to promote events, business and social networking in Kenya.
  • Jumuika Media Solutions -Jumuika Mobile Advertising and Marketing.
  • Ask A Doc -Project Afya: AskaDoc.co.ke.
  • Mediae Company- ‘Makutano Junction and Development of Digital Content for TV series
  • Outside the Box Africa -JAMOBI – Empowering the Jua Kali Sector through Mobile Software.
  • Dr Peter Wagacha- Mobile phone utilities for the blind and visually impaired.

Tandaa Kenya events

Tandaa Symposiums, some people criticized the idea  but for me, it has been a wonderful forum for  Kenyans to redefine their purpose in tech space. Great info..great ideas..great networking space..and great meetup.

Wezesha Initiative

Last but not least ICT Board launched ‘Wezesha’-a laptop ownership initiative for university students across Kenya covered here.

Wamathai Spoken Word


Yes, before 2010 poetry was never my thing until i got an invite from @Wamathai to attend Spoken word to celebrate his blog turning one year old.  @Jamesmurua captured the unexpected :

With the event at the Secrets Lounge it promised to be pretty cool although I was not expecting a huge turnout. The event after all had just been promoted on a few friendly blogs and on twitter. How many people could turn up anyway right? Getting to view park towers where Secrets is ensconced, I realised that this evening was not going to happen as anticipated. There were people at the door who were being told that the place was full up and they could not get in.

From that humble beginning WamathaiTheBlog Speoken Word monthly event was born. And with time it grew even bigger…congrats

Kenyans on Twitter

As much as Facebook is the supreme social networking site in Kenya, Kenyans on Twitter set the agenda for the others.  From the look of it Kenyans on twitter are probably around 10k but can be described as the most vibrant lot you will ever see anywhere. Despite that small number which does not appear on the radar of the numerous social media infographics i have seen around, they have  managed to make some topics being discussed locally to trend worldwide.  Started with the name #Raila, during the promulgation of the new Constitution, then came  #KCPE2010 and not long ago #Muthaura after he was named on the Ocampo 6 list.

Zain Kenya …..Airtel

Airtel Logo

Airtel Logo

The 2010 was the best year in Kenya in terms  of the communication affordability thanks to Bharti Airtel. They came,  they took over and they conquered.  Their tit for tat fight with Safaricom was legendary.  It is the first time many of my friends completely switched to Airtel without just threatening to do so  and actually threw away Safaricom lines. Well, the battle is not won yet but the round one went to Airtel.  I can’t wait for them to deploy the 3G network in the first quarter of 2011. Data…data…and yes data.

2010 Losers (#Fails)

Safaricom Innovation Board

From the beginning i had my doubts about it , deespite the fact that some of the  people whom i highly respect in the ICT sector were pushing and actively going for the nominations on the so called Innovation Board. It is an open secret that many people in the tech sector have suggested the  creation of such a board but this was totally wrong whichever way you look at it. So how was this going to work ?  Safaricom as a company is trying to do everything in the tech space..they sell laptops so forget about that, they register domains and host sites, they are internet providers, they mobile phones network operators, they sell  phones, they are big in the mobile banking. Ok let slow down abit, how do you as innovator work around that without being a direct competitor?  Only if there are APIs for some of their core businesses which are not there!

For the future such aboard should be constituted by neutral bodies…ICT Board for me is the best option

Nation media Online

For the company which boast of being the biggest News Organization in the East and Central Africa, it was shocking to see them totally unprepared for the traffic increase  during the Announcement of  Ocampo 6 ( Post elections Violence Suspects). And it was the  same case  during the Referandum back in August.   Reliable source within the company indicated to me that  the Management was warned in both occasions but simply did not care. Ok buying extra servers for once off events like that might not make business sense but truth is there are servers for hire like for  Amazon unless you are Wikileaks.

Mars Group Kenya

Kenyan Wikileaks? At one point we all almost believed that until someone tried to build app to access their data. While Julian Assange and the Wikileaks are fighting powerful Forces to remain online Mars Group Kenya closed their website over such petty issue. And then came the big threat over twitter:

“To all concerned. Mars Group Kenya’s databases and content is copyrighted. Any unauthorized use of our copyright content will be prosecuted.”

It seems to me that most people in Kenya still don’t understand how third party developers all over the world have helped companies like Facebook and Twitter to scales never seen before.

Again let me ask what was Mars Group Kenya original aim? Do they want people to buy the data and if so why are they not stating that clearly? When your twitter profile reads like this.. “From Dictatorial Impunity to Democratic Accountability in Kenya. Mars Group Kenya a leadership, governance and accountability web portal for Kenya since 2006. We expect much not the following”

Mars Group Kenya Website

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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