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Innovations have been touted as the gateway to economic growth and solutions to challenges facing humanity in the world.
Like in other countries globally, Kenya has made significant steps in terms of spurring innovations, some of which have materialised a great deal.
Some of Kenya's innovations have been so worthwhile to an extent of warranting recognition internationally. In addition, some of the minds behind key innovations have attracted accolades and prizes to the tune of millions.
This story has summarised some of Kenya's most notable innovations that earned international recognition in the recent past.
Margaret Nyamumbo-Kahawa 1893
Margaret Nyamumbo, a Kenyan entrepreneur based in New York made headlines after a video of her astute presentation on her business idea promoting Kenyan coffee before Shark Tank investors went viral.
Nyamumbo, who is the owner of Kahawa 1893, was one of the participants in the Shark Tank, a popular show in the United States which gives entrepreneurs a chance to pitch business ideas in anticipation of securing capital from the investors who sit as judges.
With her impeccable courage, Nyamumbo took the Shark Tank by storm with her presentation about her coffee company through her concept centred on empowering Kenyan women economically through her Kenyan-grown products.
After her presentation, the US-based entrepreneur received accolades from all over the world and subsequently announced that she had landed a deal with a United Kingdom-based investor.
"We source our coffee directly from women farmers in Africa, but that’s not all, we go one step further, our customers can tip the coffee farmers and we match the tips," she stated during her presentation- promoting her coffee as the best in the world.
Peninah Wanja - DigiCow(Ksh187 million)
In February 2022, a group of three Kenyans was feted in the AYuTe Africa Challenge held by Heifer International after their innovation of a digital platform aimed at helping small-scale farmers to increase their production.
The three, Peninah Wanja, Vincent Kimani, and Jemimah Wanjiku were part of the winning group which scooped Ksh187 million prize money.
DigiCow provides mobile phone apps and virtual platforms that offers free livestock management advisory services for African dairy farmers.
In addition, the technology gives farmers fast and easy access to skilled and approved veterinarians, artificial insemination providers and feed supply services.
Eco-bana Ltd- Sanitary Pads From Bananas
In September 2022, a group of four students from Kenya's St Paul’s University won the 2022 Hult Prize for their business innovation of manufacturing sanitary pads from banana leaves.
The four namely, Lennox Omondi, Keylie Muthoni, Dullah Shiltone and Brian Ndung’u, won a Ksh120 million prize as capital to boost their business in the awards held in the United States of America.
Since then, the innovation has received praise from Kenya abroad- including a special mention in President William Ruto-s led innovation week in December.
Weed Removing Robot- JKUAT Students
The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has also established itself as an innovation hub in various fields.
In 2020, two students from the university won the 18th edition of Microsoft’s annual Imagine Cup Championships with their innovation of an automated robot designed to use artificial intelligence to identify and remove weeds from rows of crops.
The duo left with a Ksh2 million prize for their outstanding innovation and contribution towards enhancing agricultural production.
Joseph Nguthiru- Water Hyacinth Remover
In May 2022, two students from Egerton University won Ksh1.6 million for their innovation of a machine designed to remove water hyacinths from water bodies.
The two, Joseph Nguthiru, 24, and Charles Rugendo, 25, were recognized for their concept that had the potential of solving the problem of the stubborn weed encroaching on key water bodies in Kenya.