Riara University students Elijah Cheruiyot, Carol Emmanuela, and Allan Obat will travel to Germany to exchange knowledge with leading researchers in different fields and also attend sessions geared towards boosting innovation.
The budding innovators will further receive funding and advisory services towards building and deploying their projects in the marketplace with a focus on enabling them to partner with key stakeholders.
Two projects showcased by the students emerged in positions five and six at the UNI:INNOVATORS Startups-in-Residence Program Demo and Showcase Day at iHub along Galana Road in Nairobi. This event, held on Thursday, was organised by the Co-Creation Hub and GIZ Make-IT in Africa.
Elijah Cheruiyot emerged fifth with his project EJ_SmartFarm_254, an Internet of Things (IoT) based smart farming system that incorporates a couple of sensors to provide insightful data to the farmers. Cheruiyot partnered with Gloria Waweru and Amos Kibet in his project.
Carol Emmanuela, a 4th-year student from the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at Riara University and Allan Obat, from the School of Communication were sixth with the Grey Water Blue Project.
Grey Water Blue seeks to address water scarcity and stress in Kenya and beyond by incorporating a device that recycles grey water (wastewater from sinks, laundry and swimming pools) thus making water readily available and affordable for all, reducing the problem of water scarcity and stress.
University of Nairobi (UoN) students secured positions one to six. Mariam Salim, a medical student, was number one with her project titled Hygiea - derived from the word hygiene.
Nafisa Agil, a medical research student was second with Deaf Health, a project seeking to better the lives of deaf PWDs. Arakovina, a project which uses saliva to detect breast cancer and CareConnect which eases the lives of expectant mothers were at positions three and four.
UNI:INNOVATORS Startups-in-Residence Program
UNI:INNOVATORS program, which runs across Nigeria, Kenya, and Namibia, began in June 2023 and will run until May 2024, with a vision to drive technological advancement and innovation within Higher Education Institutions for a better society throughout Africa.
The Nairobi edition showcased the student-led innovations from the University of Nairobi (UoN) and Riara University, which are beneficiaries of the program. The Kenyan teams were part of 30 that participated in the competition within the continent.
18 of these student-led teams who scale through after the Demo and Showcase Day will participate in a knowledge exchange with leading researchers in their fields and get the opportunity to travel to Germany for physical sessions to help strengthen their prototypes.
The teams will then receive funding and advisory services towards building and deploying their projects in the marketplace and partnership with the industry.
The selected startup teams showcased their designs and prototypes focused on Greentech and smart city solutions in specific sectors – Agriculture, Energy, Circular Economy, Water, and Healthcare.
More Riara University Participants
Andrew Simiyu, Leah Mutugi, Gideon Kiplangat, and Pauline Chelagat showcased IntelliDrip which empowers farmers through informed drops. IntelliDrip uses Machine Learning Algorithms to determine perfect watering times by analyzing soil, crop and weather data.
Shanniz Mbaire, Nina Salaton, Caleb Ekaale and Shanice Kipsang all pursuing International Relations and Diplomacy also presented their project titled Recyclartists. The project aims to motivate the public to take part in recycling and generate revenue from the process.
In attendance at the event were stakeholders from various sectors including Tech and Education. Among the notable names were Vice Chancellors, Prof Stephen Kiama (UoN) and Prof Robert Gateru (Riara University).
Speaking at the event, Riara University VC Prof Robert Gateru challenged education institutions and stakeholders to support students and nurture innovation.
“Universities should be a place where students create things and not learn things. What amazes me is how innovative our students are. There is a whole well of potential that perhaps we are not tapping in well. The key question for us in academia then is how do we convert education to be about student outcomes that change or transform the society?” Prof Gateru highlighted.
“For us at Riara University our institutional motto is nurturing innovators. For many years we have been grappling with how to actualise it but we are now seeing the answers come to fruition,” he added.
He also encourages universities to partner together and present joint innovation projects that will solve problems within Africa.
Judges based their evaluation on the uniqueness of the project, scalability, target audience demography, location and more factors.
The adjudicators included George Otieno, a senior researcher at iHub, Cecil Kang’ara, an Alumni Relations Analyst at Yali, Esther Mwikali, an Investment and project manager at Renew Capital and Wangechi Wahome, CEO and Founder of Anza Village.
The judges encouraged the students to patent their ideas by filing applications with an institutional, national or regional intellectual property (IP) office.