Kenyan youth with information technology skills are utilising them in a big way. The 'techpreneurs' are developing mobile applications and marketing them on social media.
This is helping many beat the quagmire of unemployment, with about 40 per cent of the country's labour force estimated to be jobless and actively looking for jobs.
Some local start-ups such as M-Ledger, M-Farm and Ma3Route are gaining popularity even as they create opportunities in doing what they are best at. Ma3Route, for instance, provides traffic updates in the city.
M-Ledger and M-Farm offer financial record keeping assistance and farming-related updates respectively.
"There is a lot of talent and if developers were to get enough funding, they will create considerable jobs for themselves and others," Okune says.
"The convergence of technologies empowers virtually anybody to harness information technology for business advantages," it says.
Reduced barriers to entry, new opportunities for exploiting information and unprecedented speed to reaching the market are the factors driving the digital industrial revolution, according
In 2010, entrepreneurs in the Kenyan technology sector formed a web-based platform known as the innovation hub or iHub - a "nerve centre of
The iHub, m:lab
It is no doubt then that techpreneurship is becoming a revolution in growth of the Kenyan e-commerce landscape.
In fact, investments in research and development in the sector are increasing.
"... the investment in iLab
Ilab Africa's director
Sevilla is optimistic that iLab will nurture start-ups that will walk in the footsteps of
Samsung is adding innovative apps developed locally on its Android phones, helping developers to cash in on their talents.
"Kenyan universities and colleges are churning out a great number of IT graduates each year. With the emergence of tech companies that continue to create jobs in the local markets, we're beginning to see increased absorption of the jobless youth by start-ups," said
Ngeru says the local tech start-up scene has grown rapidly over the past five years, driven by need for locally relevant apps that help solve problems.
"Penetration and use of smart phones has grown rapidly and the beauty is that it has resulted in an increase in usage of apps," he says.
At PIVOT East, an annual forum initiated by m:lab
"Techpreneurship is a growing market that is trending globally. We are investing in start-ups in order to empower entrepreneurs in
The mid-tier bank was one of the sponsors of this year's competition. One of PIVOT East's 2014 objectives is "to facilitate discovery of the next wave of high potential mobile start-ups". The conference has been held since 2011.
But as success in the local tech world gains momentum, developers are becoming prone to theft of ideas. Software firm
"Most African innovators function on the premise that the idea is theirs until someone else takes it to market, or duplicates it. As innovation flourishes, the future remains uncertain if these promising ideas are not supported and protected properly," Otieno says.
The Kenya Copyright Board has itself been campaigning against use of unlicensed software, but the threat to start-ups remains potent.
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