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Nairobi’s iHub acquired by Nigeria’s CcHUB

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Nairobi's iHub PHOTO|COURTESY

Co-creation Hub (CcHUB), the leading technology innovation centre in Nigeria, has acquired Kenya’s iHub for an undisclosed fee.

The deal will see iHub’s team become part of CcHUB’s wider central support and strategy network, whilst retaining its name and senior management structure. CcHUB’s co-founder Bosun Tijani continues as CEO across both locations. As part of the acquisition, CcHUB will now make key hires in innovation consulting, people management, programme management and community support, as it looks to strengthen its pan-African network and mobilise its far-reaching resources, network and relationships to accelerate the growth of technology innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.

An industry first for the African tech hub community, the acquisition of East Africa’s most prolific and reputable technology centre is the next step for CcHUB as it continues its mission to connect entrepreneurs, technologists and public bodies across the continent. The move comes just seven months after CcHUB expanded into Kigali, Rwanda, with the launch of its Design Lab – the first creative space in Africa to focus solely on product design and technology innovation.

‘Bosun Tijani, CEO at CcHUB says, “We are long-time admirers and collaborators of iHub – a world-class community of developers, entrepreneurs and business people who have been instrumental in growing Kenya’s extraordinary technology ecosystem.”

“CcHUB’s mandate is to build a formidable innovation ecosystem with a deeply rooted network, cultivating strategic partnerships and practical industry know-how that can support entrepreneurs in building thoughtful, relevant and scalable solutions. We believe we can only do this if we are intentional and proactive in how we scale and grow our reach, not only across Africa, but also internationally. This is the reason behind our acquisition of iHub and we continue to be bullish in our combined efforts in creating hundreds of thousands more opportunities for businesses across Africa”.

Launched in 2011, and partnered by international companies such as Google for Start-ups, Facebook, Oracle and organisations including Omidyar Network and Ford Foundation, CcHUB is Africa’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space, home to technologists, social entrepreneurs, government bodies, tech companies, impact investors and more. Arguably one of the most prolific tech hubs in Africa, the Lagos-based hub has built a vibrant community of over 14,000 people and has incubated and provided support to a portfolio of over 120 early-stage ventures, providing solutions to social problems with technology including Lifebank, Riby, BudgIT and WeCyclers.  In 2012, CcHUB played a major role in converging key stakeholders to deliberate and action ideas that led to the emergence of one of Africa’s most organic technology clusters in Yaba, Lagos.

iHub, launched in 2010, is home to internationally-recognised companies such as BRCK and Ushahidi, as well as start-ups such as Zayride, Eneza Education, Taimba and Optimetriks and has seen over 500 companies receive business support services, 100+ of which have gone through incubation and accelerator programs.

Nekesa J. Were, Managing Director for iHub adds, “Over the past 9 years, the iHub has been a catalyst for regional tech acceleration and a role model for innovation hubs across emerging markets. To-date, over USD40m has been raised by iHub startups in early and growth stage financing and iHub portfolio businesses have contributed over 40,000 jobs to the East African economy. Their products have impacted millions.

“CcHUB has an unrivalled track record of building out a dynamic tech ecosystem which extends past Nigeria. Similar to us, they have been committed to delivering impactful support services, at scale, supporting tech and business communities and driving social capital for economic prosperity in Africa. In short – they share our mission to make businesses and the business environment on the continent, better for all. We are very excited to work with them to support entrepreneurs transforming our communities”

Erik Hersman, CEO BRCK and founder of iHub adds, “Bosun and I have known each other since the beginnings of the tech hub explosion across Africa, and we’ve always made sure that the CcHUB and iHub had a good relationship. A decade later, it’s exciting to see the evolution of the space, and to have two of the largest and most impactful hubs consolidate and provide an even larger target for the tech communities they represent, as well as the businesses, investors and media who work so closely inside the ecosystem.”

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Patent YSK Innovations Free of Charge, Orders President Uhuru

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Kenya’s Deputy President Dr William Ruto celebrates with Shree Cutchi Patel Samaj School Students Iyad Taher and Tanvi Hirani after being crowned as the 2019 Young Scientist Kenya (YSK) National Science and Technology Exhibition at KICC in Nairobi

Kenya’s Head of State President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the Ministry of Education and that of Industry, Trade, and Cooperatives to develop a framework to secure the Intellectual Property rights of students’ participating in Young Scientist Kenya (YSK) National Science & Technology Exhibition.

The president ordered ideas and innovations that have ever been presented at the Safaricom BLAZE organised Young Scientist Kenya (YSK) National Science & Technology Exhibition to be patented by the Kenya Intellectual Rights office.

“I direct Kenya Intellectual rights office to patent viable innovations generated during the past, present and future YSK exhibition free of charge,” ordered President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Recently, Shree Cutchi Leva Patel School 16 year old students Iyad Taher and Tanvi Hirani were crowned as the 2019 Young Scientists of the Year for showcasing the best innovation.

Their winning innovation, a Universal Healthcare system, seeks to enable the government and relevant agencies to solve health-related challenges affecting the country in the 2019 Young Scientist Kenya (YSK) National Science & Technology Exhibition.

Over the years, providing and funding high-quality healthcare has come up against a number of challenges. Limited access to health care facilities, lack of adequate personnel and expertise to address the medical needs, poor Infrastructure where most facilities do not have the proper facilities to handle the medical challenges and lack of enough qualified personnel.

The innovation addresses these issues of access to healthcare services and also to offer solutions that will provide a seamless access to records and efficient delivery of services.

 The innovation established by Taher and Hirani in line with the Kenyan government’s big four agenda on Healthcare.

The duo, were among 500 students from all Kenya’s 47 counties who submitted 235 groundbreaking projects powered by a Safaricom youth network BLAZE.

They were closely followed by first runners up Daraja Secondary School’s Sophia Ndunge and Brenda Nkara from with their Homemade Lift pump innovation which seeks to ease access to borehole water.

The pump can be made at home with readily with cheaply acquired available material to enhance its availability at a low cost.

The overall winners took home KES 100,000, a scholarship to Strathmore University, mobile phones from BLAZE, and a trip to Ireland to participate in the 2020 BT Young Scientists and Technology Exhibition.

On the other hand, the first runners-up walked away with KES 80,000, mobile phones from BLAZE, and a fully paid trip to France.

Ideas showcased at the exhibition cut through Biology and Ecological sciences, Chemical, Physical and Mathematics Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences and Technology categories.

In its second year running, YSK has since scaled its programme from 10 counties in 2018 to all 47 counties in 2019, reaching a total of over 45,000 students across the country.

The scale-up is aimed at inspiring students to take Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and pursue the STEM pathways through outreach, linkages, and extension programmes, and showcase their innovations for further research and commercialization.

“As a company whose growth is driven by innovation, we are excited by the reception of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and we believe that with the right support, Kenya’s position as Africa’s innovation hub is guaranteed,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom.

Young Scientists Kenya (YSK) is an exciting project that provides a platform for young secondary school students in Kenya to come together to investigate theories, discover new technologies and advance current knowledge through research and innovation.

YSK gives young students the opportunity to demonstrate that science, technology and engineering are not only interesting and exciting, but also easy.

YSK affords students with a chance to participate in scientific learning experiences away from the classroom and to explore the unlimited potential of science.

The proposed model is based on the BT-Young Scientist and Technology Exhibitions (BT-YSTE) of Ireland which was started in the 1960’s by Dr. Tony Scott (who attended the YSK launch at CEMASTEA) and the late Fr. Tom Burke.

This initiative has been hugely successful and has directly contributed to Ireland’s success as a leading European knowledge economy.

Kenya’s Deputy President Dr William Ruto celebrates with Shree Cutchi Patel Samaj School Students Iyad Taher and Tanvi Hirani after being crowned as the 2019 Young Scientist Kenya (YSK) National Science and Technology Exhibition at KICC in Nairobi

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Twitter’s 4,900 Employees To Work from Home

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey |Charles Platiau|Reuters

Twitter has mandated that its employees to work from home until further notice, in order to help slow the spread of Covid-19. Twitter had already “strongly encouraged” employees to do so in an announcement early last week, but is now making the directive mandatory across the world.

The social media giant will continue to pay contractors, hourly workers, and vendors for standard working hours if they’re unable to perform their duties at home. The company will also be providing reimbursement for home office setup expenses, as well as for parents who may have to pay additional daycare costs.

Tech companies including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have issued similar guidance to employees in various regions, but Twitter’s order to its entire 4,900-strong global workforce is one of the strongest yet amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Uganda warns Citizens against use of Cryptocurrency

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Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have become popular and valuable in the last decade and have become an alternate mode of payment. However, governments are still weary about their use and we see this coming up from time to time.

In Uganda, the government is warning citizens from using cryptocurrencies. According to the Independent, Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija issued a strong warning to Ugandans who are investing in cryptocurrencies where he said the government does not recognize them.

Apparently he told reporters that the government will not be held responsible in case anyone loses money to organizations selling cryptocurrencies. The minister said as the Central Bank, they don’t believe cryptocurrencies meet all the characteristics of genuine currency.

Mr Kasaija said that these currencies are exposed to risks that includes fraud and they are not backed by any assets, which makes it a high risk venture.

“Let me state clearly that the online cryptocurrency businesses are not regulated at the moment and therefore carry a significant risk of loss of savings, with no recourse to protection or insurance by the government,” Bank of Uganda’s Deputy Governor, Dr Louis Kasekende said.

There are several types of cryptocurrencies out there with the most famous one being Bitcoin. Bitcoin in particular became quite famous and its value skyrocketed to a high of $19,000 per Bitcoin in December 2017. This wild rush in value got people interested in the cryptocurrency market. Governments all over the world are yet to catch up to the cryptocurrency and blockchain wave and such moves by the Ugandan market are the typical reactions you see.

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