Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology staged the 8th edition of the Tech Expo, November 9-10, 2017. Speaking during the opening ceremony, the Chief Guest, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of Couture Africa Magazine, Ms. Olive Gachara, acknowledged that the success of an entrepreneur is pegged on finding solutions that put the needs of the user first and coming up with innovations that are marketable.
“Your products and innovations have to provide solutions that are relevant to the market needs. Always focus on what works for the customers,” advised Ms. Gachara.
Ms. Gachara, the Serial Entrepreneur, lauded JKUAT for coming up with the Directorate of Intellectual Property Management and University-Industry Liaison (DIPUIL) but urged the innovators to move their innovations to the next level and push them to the market.
“The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams and are persistent in their course. Discipline, determination and drive are the key components for a successful entrepreneur,” opined Ms Gachara. She pledged to support the top three innovations of the Tech Expo to fruition.
JKUAT Council members led by Eng. John Tanui marveled at the exhibitions being showcased at the Expo. While lauding the students’ innovations, the Council indicated that innovation was the way to go if the country was to transform. They acknowledged that the innovations being showcased aimed at tackling the challenges faced by the country especially in agriculture and the health sector.
“To tackle unemployment in the country, we need to encourage the students to continue coming up with innovations that can lead to wealth creation and betterment of their lives,” said Eng. Tanui.
Eng. Tanui, also the CEO of Konza Technology Development Authority, advised the students to take their innovations to the next level and liaise with the relevant departments of the University to help them commercialise thus creating wealth for both the institution and the innovators.
“As a Council, through the university, will help the innovators find relevant partners and investors to propel their innovations to the next level,” opined Eng. Tanui.
Eng. Tanui was accompanied by Council Members; Mr. Archer Arina, Ms. Felister Kivisi and Mr. Maurice Odhiambo Onyango.
In a speech read by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Academic Affairs, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, said JKUAT is focused on producing quality graduates with entrepreneurial minds. “In order to sustain the entrepreneurial culture, JKUAT introduced a compulsory Entrepreneurship Unit across all disciplines to inculcate a spirit of entrepreneurship among our students,” opined Prof. Imbuga.
The Vice Chancellor implored the innovators to be in the forefront of championing agricultural innovative technologies that will help grow and modernize agriculture. She said agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods for 40% of today’s global population but lamented that Africa only accounted for 10% of global agricultural output.
“This shortfall is largely due to low use of modern agricultural tools, techniques and technologies. If our youth can invest their knowledge and skills in agricultural innovation there is no doubt that agriculture can be a profitable venture for our young generation and help communities thrive and prosper,” said Prof. Imbuga.
On her part, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mary Abukutsa, said the JKUAT Tech Expo strives to create a culture of job creation among the students at a time when Africa is viewed as the world’s most youthful continent.
She challenged the innovators and students to make it a culture to innovate and think through ideas, while mulling over ways of converting them into viable products. “The University’s ultimate goal is to streamline the innovation and entrepreneurship culture down the spine of each and every student, because it’s only through that, that real positive change will be felt,” said Prof. Abukutsa.
This year’s expo was also graced by Nova Pioneers, a secondary school whose mantra is developing innovators and leaders of the future. “In a bid to incentify an innovative and creative foundation among the young generation, this year we brought on board young and creative innovators from Nova Pioneer,” said Chairman, JKUAT Tech Expo, Calvin Kebati.
The JKUAT Tech Expo 8.0 edition themed: ‘Changing Lives through Innovation’ saw the Domestic Avocado Oil Extractor project exhibited by Betty King’ori and Susan Njeri emerge winners. The project aims at revolutionizing the avocado fruit farming industry by diversifying the capital a farmer can make from the sale of different avocado products especially avocado oil in order to empower themselves.
Pascal Aloo and Maureen Nkatha with their innovation, Simatech Automated Vending Machine (SAVE), emerged second in a field of 28 innovations. SAVE is an innovative liquid vending machine that leverages on mobile money to allow for autonomous operation.
Agriculture, the backbone of our economy was not left behind. Bamboo Enriched Yogurt project led by Kiura Kambi scooped the third position. The project aims at providing yogurt with a very high nutritional value with the help of bamboo powder.