Should every Tech Blog In Kenya Be About Start-ups? Well, that made headlines after one techie realized that many startups and Kenyan based developers are not given the support they require. Institutions have come up with offices that incubate developers and other tech related businesses. However, technology in Kenya is still crawling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Barclays Kenya has come up with an initiative to empower Kenyan software developers. Barclays has today opened the Barclays Kenya Product Lab in Nairobi, an agile product development program that will give local developers access to a pool of resources to come up with solutions that could potentially change the future of the financial industry.
The lab is the first of several initiatives that Barclays will be rolling out in Kenya as part of its global innovation drive focused on accelerating the development and adoption of new technologies in the financial industry. Through its global innovation drive launched in July, dubbed Rise, Barclays is keen on investing in strategic partnerships with renowned technology leaders to develop disruptive fintech solutions that could revolutionise its interaction with customers.
“Our innovation initiatives in Africa are a hugely important part of our aim to create a network of strong innovators across the globe – connecting and co-creating together to create the future of financial services,” says Lubaina Manji, Director of Barclays Open Innovation Programme.
The product lab is a partnership between Barclays Kenya, Moringa School, East Africa’s top coding school, and global start-up investment firm, Nest. Moringa School will offer training on design thinking and user research while Nest will manage the program and provide mentorship.
“The launch of this program attests to our commitment as a company to invest in youth-focused initiatives that accelerate access to new innovations in the industry,” Barclays Kenya Marketing and Corporate Relations Director Caroline Ndung’u said.
In the initial phase, which kicks off on October 19th, the Barclays Kenya Product Lab will work with local developers, who will be taken through a 10-week comprehensive training program and tasked to come up with superior innovative solutions.
Through the program, Barclays will give the local developers access to resources available in its Global Rise Innovation Hubs across the world as well mentorship from the Barclays global open innovation teams in London, Manchester, New York and other planned locations in the Middle East, Africa and India.
“Throughout the entire program, each developer will be tasked to conduct market research, user research, building product prototypes and pitch their solutions in front of Barclay’s senior executives and program partners,” Ms Ndung’u added.
To join the program, developers are invited to file their applications online through https://thinkrise.typeform.com/to/KAuEhd between today and October 6th. Applicants will be selected based on their technical capability and business skills.
“We’re very excited about the Barclays Product Lab as it gives developers unbridled access to executives, developers and resources in one of the leading banks in the world. It’s a great environment for developers to grow their skills among other talented peers and gain the experience and network to succeed.” CEO & Co-founder of Moringa School Audrey Cheng said.
The developers will be based in Barclays Kenya innovation space within the bank’s headquarters. Besides the in-depth training and mentorship, the best solution to come out of the program will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and the developer will get a chance to continue working with Barclays on the innovation.
The Barclays product lab comes hot on the heels of the launch of the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge- a Pan African competition inviting young technology enthusiasts aged between 18 and 35 years to come up with innovative solutions that can create transparency in supply chain management using Blockchain technology.
The winner of the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge will receive $10,000 in cash. As at 2nd September, the challenge had received about 85 entries from more than 15 countries in Africa and beyond, 60 per cent of which originated from Kenya.
To participate in the Barclays Kenya Product Lab visit https://thinkrise.typeform.com/to/KAuEhd and apply before 6th Oct. 2015