“IT is not an industry on it’s own, it’s an enabler that cuts across all sectors, it is a very integral part of each sector” Erik Hersman, co-founder at iHub Nairobi. He said this during the just concluded Pivot East mobile start-ups competition that saw techies from around East Africa meet at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala for a two day intensive pitch session from start-ups.
We have had several innovations, mostly in Kenya that revolve around payments and money solutions. Solutions like M-pesa have won global acclaim and we are looking for the next M-pesas. This has been echoed by enough people in many forums. Developers and startups want to be part of the future that we talk about and whose products we use. That’s why the Start-ups that pitched in Kampala at the Pivot East Event had huge focus on products that impact lives of many in a huge way.
Pivot East Startups competition was divided into five categories, Mobile Finance Category, Mobile Enterprise Category, Mobile Society Category, Mobile Entertainment Category and Mobile Utilities Category. Out of the 25 products pitches by startups, 6 of them were focused on education. These span out across Mobile Enterprise and Mobile Society solutions categories
- SchoolMaster Solutions: An information portal for parents and school administrators, available as a web application as well as a mobile app for Android devices.- Uganda
- echorest Technologies Ltd: echorest, an android application that is a real-time,proximate-based buyer-powered market place that tries to connect buyers and seller through sms and email. – Kenya
- Mank and Tank : Virtual Classrooms on mobile devices that allow users to access educational material,create digital content,present & share info. – Kenya
- Kytabu: Kytabu, is a micro-leasing textbook subscription application that enables students to get just the material they need to learn, when they need it, wherever they are and pay for just that piece of content while they have it. – Kenya
- Ecademy Africa: eShule, a mobile app that will offer career and college counseling, and alternative eLearning via online courses and exams for high school students.- Kenya
- Code Vision Ltd: BrainShare, a mobile and web application that enables students to easily access academic content such as past papers and simplified notes. – Uganda
Kenya Government recently had pledges on the education sector including budget allocations to hand out laptops to class one students, at this level, it was clear we want as much exposure to technology to our people as early as possible. Developers on the other hand are also eyeing this opportunity to ride with the wave and be part of the solutions providers of today.
Kytabu, Mobile Society Category winner is one such a start-up that has already angled to provide solutions which stand a chance of creating a very huge impact on the lives of young ones at an early age by making education more accessible and cheaper to access.
“Regional governments need to invest in developing core curriculum that has current relevance not only in Universities but also in colleges that absorb the bulk of secondary school leavers,” said Agatha Gikunda – Intel Software Services Lead East Africa. Intel has currently created OpenCourseWare on cutting edge topics and are currently working with Strathmore College and University of Nairobi to enable them build locally relevant courses and to install software incubators that will help students come up with today’s revolutionary and innovative solutions. This is in their goal of promoting world class learning and education for Africans.
Many developed countries are reaching their saturation point. “We have barely scratched the surface in terms of the things we can do, even with Kenya and the region being branded as the lead in mobility innovations,” said Daniel Stern, Board Member at Hive Colab and founder Mobile Monday Kampala Chapter. Goes to show there is still huge opportunities in this and other sectors for the IT solutions providers.