Solutions for the Next Billion Mobile users, that’s the theme of this year’s Mobile Garage by Akirachix which happens to be the second one running. Akirachix is a group of women in tech from Kenya who seek to make differences in the society they live in. Part of the activities they involve themselves in are computer skills training of the less unfortunate in society. Mobile Garage is one other project they have where they reach out to developers in far fetched parts of Kenya.
Akirachix President, Judith Owigar says that Nairobi is where things are happening and little else elsewhere. Akirachix has been organizing mobile boot-camps for developers in Universities outside Nairobi, Kenya. These are Kisumu, Kakamega and Mombasa. They also do outreach in Nairobi. Ms Owigar notes that talent is available to all, opportunities on the other hand are not and that’s what they seek to give in the best of their abilities.
Akirachix want these students to be entrepreneurs at the end of the day, but they have to start somewhere, by thinking about the business of their apps and the relevance of the apps they are pushing out to consumers. Akirachix also link the developers during the outreach programs to other people they can work with like having entrepreneurs talk to them and tell them their story. Many people venture into entrepreneurship after having it get painted as a rosy picture, they want these people to listen and ask questions from people who have been there done that.
Today at the second Mobile Garage, developers from various Universities across Kenya got to showcase their apps at iHub to a group of judges and audience. They got to explain how things work, get questioned on variables like how they intend to scale, and other judging criterion. There will be award winners sponsored by Samsung which is a huge partner of Akirachix and iHub for the mobile applications ecosystem. Samsung will also work with the apps that show value to get their apps published to the store and also push them from within the store.
“Apart from the apps showcase, this will be a brilliant learning opportunity for the participants, since it will incorporate a panel of re-known entrepreneurs who will talk of their failure stories and lessons learnt. This is a platform where the students can hear of the reality of entrepreneurship and the challenges in the journey. They will have an opportunity to ask the entrepreneurs how they overcame their challenges,” Said Samsung Electronics East Africa HHP Business Leader, Manoj Changarampatt. Manoj who loves talking about business told the developers that they need to ensure they either have skill-set needed to scale or get partners who have them. He added that they need to do a dipstick to see if what they are sending out to consumers really is useful to them.
After the Mobile Garage there will be an Entrepreneur fail-talk session where they will talk about their entrepreneurial journey, successes, failures and challenges. Judith Owigar says she is so impressed that there was even apps submitted by Kenya Medical Training College students.