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Submissions Open for Uganda's 3rd Annual Communications Innovation Awards

challenges

March 18, 2013

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), a body that regulates the communications and broadcasting sector in Uganda will be holding the 3rd Annual Communications Innovation Awards. The Annual Communications Innovation Award was established in 2010 to recognise stakeholders within the industry, who have over a defined period of time, delivered innovative communication services to the Ugandan market. The Awards are aimed at promoting greater local involvement in developing innovative products, services, content, and approaches that exploit or enhance communication platforms for development and in recognition of the fact that the communications industry is a key player in the growth of other sectors of the Ugandan economy at large. On 23rd January 2013, Uganda Communications Commission launched the 3rd Annual Communications Innovation Awards.The Annual Communications Innovation Awards themed “ICT Innovation for National Development” will take place on 7th June 2013. Submissions are open to any: individual, school, institution or organization. The deadline for submissions of entries is on 30th April 2013. The awards categories are as follows; 599609_247499298703099_168930927_n 1. Young ICT Innovators Award

  • Uganda’s rising stars – this award shall recognize extraordinary applications of ICT by Secondary school students towards the reduction of the digital divide in Uganda. This may be with regard to ICT access, affordability, availability and/or it’s applicability.
  • Uganda’s ICT Visionaries – this award shall recognize an ICT based innovation developed by students in tertiary or a vocational institution thats seeks to make the city or town of their choice smarter.

2. Business Excellence Award

  • This award shall recognize outstanding use of ICT by an organization, whose core business is not ICT, to improve the organization’s performance, efficiency, effectiveness or both.

3. ICT for Development Award

  • This award shall recognize the extraordinary use of ICTs to improve the livelihood of communities by facilitating Uganda’s achievement of any of the millennium development goals.

4. Service Excellence Award

  • Enabling communication for all – this
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    award shall recognize outstanding innovative approaches licensed telecom providers to eliminate barriers to ICT inclusion in Uganda.

  • Content for all – this award shall recognize the most creative programming that ensures accessibility and applicability of information to the diverse local audiences.
  • Modernising post and courier – this award shall recognise the best use of systems and technology by the postal or courier operators to enhance operational efficiency towards a better quality of service.

5) Digital Content Award

  • This award shall recognize the outstanding compilation of text, images including video, or sound into an application or product that enhances the value and use of communication networks and services within local communities in Uganda.

For more information and the link to nominate your candidate go to http://acia.ug/ or contact [email protected].

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Introducing Pivot East 2013 Producer – Moses Kemibaro

PIVOT East

March 11, 2013

Pivot East is East Africa’s annual mobile startups competition and conference organized by m:lab East Africa and its partners. Pivot East 2013 will culminate in a pitching conference for East Africa’s 25 hottest mobile startups in Kampala, Uganda on 25th and 26th June. m:lab East Africa which is a consortium comprising iHubeMobilisThe world wide Web foundation and University of Nairobi has engaged Moses Kemibaro to be the producer of Pivot East in 2013.

Moses Kemibaro, the 2013 Producer, is one of the most experienced and well known experts of the region’s mobile and tech scene. He is Founder and Strategic Advisor at Dotsavvy, a successful full-service Digital Marketing Agency founded over a decade ago. In 2012, Moses served as Sales Director for Africa at InMobi, a leading Global Mobile Ad Network. He was instrumental in successfully driving Pan-African sales development, management, and growth for InMobi through key accounts in major mobile markets such as Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt.

Prior to InMobi, Moses was the founding Regional Manager at Dealfish East Africa (now known as OLX Kenya) which he grew from scratch to become the leading online classifieds web site on mobile and desktop in Kenya and Uganda. He has been helping businesses in Africa succeed through digital and mobile platforms for over 15 years with origins at pioneering Internet companies in Kenya such as Africa Online and 3mice Interactive Media. He is also an award-winning TechBlogger at MosesKemibaro.com where he rants and raves about all things digital in Africa.

m:lab East Africa is pleased to have Moses playing the key role in making Pivot East 2013 another annual success as he brings on board vast knowledge and experience in Africa’s mobile ecosystem. Moses’ leadership for Pivot East 2013 will have strong on the ground support by the teams at m:lab, m:lab’s consortium partners, and technology hubs across the region to make the competition and conference a success.

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Working with intellectual property rights in East Africa

PIVOT East, Workshops

January 31, 2013

One challenge that mobile startups have continued to face recently in East Africa lies in the question of whether to spend time, money and other resources in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection. Startups are often convinced that their ideas and innovations are unique and that they only should rightly pursue monetization for the ideas and innovations. The entrepreneurs are often seen to go to great lengths to keep their ideas secret or at least protected from disclosure to “idea thieves”. Prioritising execution of the idea versus securing Intellectual Property (IP) rights for the same becomes a dilemma for many.

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More often than not, it turns out that many other people within the target legal jurisdiction or somewhere else in the world have had the same idea. Sometime startups discover that someone else even went ahead to execute the idea. Worse still the same idea or innovation may already be protected through patents or other types of IP assets and the startup’s further execution of the idea potentially infringes on the other peoples formerly secured IP rights. Having to participate in competitions such as Pivot East with products of such ideas becomes a further challenge of protection and disclosure to startups. Then

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there is the argument of whether or not ideas by themselves are protectable. Some lawyers even go further to argue that most East African IP regimes are such that it is not possible to patent or otherwise protect software beyond default copyright rules. With such dismissive arguments, startups often perceive local lawyers as too simplistic and discouraging to their IP protection ambitions. General professional suspicion and perceived costs of legal services do not help either to support startups ambitions of participating in the global IP rights value chain. Going back to global technology trends, it has become apparent that accumulating an arsenal of patents and other IP assets is an important strategy for global IT players to secure future revenue streams. The question for local entrepreneurs and innovators therefore becomes: if Google, Samsung, Apple and others are aggressively securing IP rights then what can we do to be part of that ostensibly lucrative global IP rights value chain? It is common expectation that with East Africa leading in various aspects of mobile innovations, regional innovators are dealing at the cutting edge of related technologies. Mobile money is definitely one of the aspects where the region is leading. It should therefore not surprise many to see local innovators lodge successful claims to IP rights for innovations that are globally unique and patentable. Given these questions and challenges, Pivot East 2013 organisers will hold a workshop for entrepreneurs and IP practitioners to network and exchange views on how to navigate IP rights issues for competitive advantage. An emerging trend where professionals other than lawyers are offering IP support to entrepreneurs as IP practitioners will be explored. The workshop will be on Tuesday 5th February 2013, 3pm – 5pm and will be hosted at iHub – Nairobi. Entrepreneurs, lawyers, business advisors and IP practitioners are invited to contribute to the discussion and to network. A keynote presentation on global trends in IP practice will be made by Dr. Derek Palmer, the Managing Director of ProspectIP, an Intellectual Property Management company based in the UK. Derek Palmer is also investor and non-executive director of a number of technology companies. The workshop will also see officials from KIPI share an update on patents and other IP rights secured in Kenya. Representatives from local mobile startups will also share their experiences with IP protection. To attend the forum, participants may reserve spaces via EventBrite here

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m:lab East Africa's Wave 5 applications for training now open.

Training

January 10, 2013

Application for the m:lab East Africa’s Mobile Application Development and Entreprenuership is open. The mobile entreprenuership program is designed to offer individuals who already have a software development background an opportunity to hone their skills on mobile applications technologies as well as develop their entrepreneurial skills.

Training

The training is undertaken at m:lab East Africa’s facilities in Nairobi, Kenya, located at Bishop Magua Centre on Ngong road. The training facility has capacity for 25 students equipped with computers and high speed internet connections. The Lab’s testing facility equipped with a wide range of mobile devices from various manufacturers is also accessible for application testing and quality assurance.

Technologies covered in the training include USSD, android, J2me, php, mysql, LWUIT, Mobile Web, IVR, User Experience Design, SMS, Systems Design. Business skills covered include the lean methodology, business model canvasses, monetization strategies for mobile innovation, customer development and user experience design. The training gives the individual(s) undertaking it a chance to start up viable companies, it gives them exposure to the best of breed mobile programming technologies, practical skill development, Exposure to the business models and monetization aspects of mobile among other benefits.

Some of  the factors applicants should consider before submitting applications: The application Deadline is at 11:59pm on 23rd January 2013, The course is on a fulltime basis for a period of 4 months, it will run from February to May.Accepted trainees will pay a total of Kshs 10,000 which constitutes the following :-

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  • Refundable deposit KSh. 5,000 (based on attendance history, performance and final project report)
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  • Non-refundable commitment fee KSh. 5,000

The actual cost of the course subsidised by infoDev is approximately $1,000 per trainee. The training is also made possible through partnerships with corporates like Samsung who are the current sponsors of the training room.

Pitching
 
Eligibility criteria

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  1. Must be available on a full time basis from 9.30am to 3.30pm for 4 months (between 1st February 2013 and 30th May 2013)
  2. o

  3. A strong entrepreneurial instinct is an added advantage

Applications are open for new students to join the program.See details  and apply here
For any inquires get in touch with us through: [email protected] or  Facebook: m:lab East Africa,  Twitter: @mlabeastafrica

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Challenges faced by rice farmers due to lack of reliable agro weather data.

Agriculture, Wireless Wednesday

December 19, 2012

Understanding the weather patterns empowers farmers in making informed decisions on what to take up to ensure that they can result to high yields. Weather information enables a farmer to incorporate improved agricultural practices and plan better.
On Wednesday 31st October 2012, Mr. Philip Ouma, a mixed farmer from Nyanza shared some of the challenges he and other rice farmers face with regards to weather. He noted that the most frustration problem farmers face is accuracy of weather information disseminated to them through the media. He noted with concern that they prepare their farms and sometimes even plant because they have received information that there will be rains, only for the rains to stop abruptly. This inconvenience farmers and results to losses at times.
Reliability is also a major challenge these farmers go through because they do not trust the weather information they receive. This is because more often than not, the information they receive is on short term basis and cannot allow them to make long term decisions. Mr. Ouma was concerned to hear Kenya Meteorological Department officials admitting to the fact that most of the times information they disseminate to commercial radio stations gets distorted and information that reaches the farmer ends up being inaccurate.

Mr. Philip Ouma, a mixed farmer from Nyanza shares some of the challenges rice farmers face because of lack of unreliable weather information.

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Mhealth RoundTable with Prof. Yunkap Kwankam, CEO of Global eHealth Consultants.

Health, Wireless Wednesday

December 6, 2012

We will not have Wireless Wednesday on 12th December 2012 because it is a public holiday. In its place, we will have a Mhealth focused roundtable discussion with Prof. Yunkap Kwankam, CEO of Global eHealth Consultants, Geneva Switzerland, on Monday, 10th December at iHub from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm The talk

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will be on Commercial Health IT industry development vs the role of development agencies. Pof. Yunkap Kwankwam is also Executive Director, International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (ISfTeH). For close to five years, since 2004, he was Coordinator eHealth, at the World Health Organization, Geneva Switzerland. He has published commissioned books, technical report and numerous scientific papers. Four entrepreneurs will also talk about their Mhealth applications and two mhealth experts talk on the topic of the day before the discussion is opened to the attendee. To attend this event kindly RSVP HERE.

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Enhancing the use of reliable agro-weather data by farmers – Wireless Wednesday

Agriculture, Wireless Wednesday

October 18, 2012

Weather is a key determinant for lot of activities in agriculture. Farmers across the world struggle with productivity as well as handling post harvest challenges because of  weather related challenges. Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is a key sector in the economy, contributing immensely to the GDP.
Weather over a long period of time affects food security. This is because it affects the stability, utilization, accessibility and  availability of food. Weather therefore is very important to farmer because it affects productivity, market flows and purchasing power of the consumers.
Agro-weather information is important because it enables the farmers to understanding the weather patterns hence empowering them in making decisions that can result to high yields. For example weather information enables a farmer to incorporate improved agricultural practices, plan on planting, weeding, top dressing and harvesting timings.

On Wednesday 31st of October 2012, m:Lab East Africa with the support of USAID will host mobile applications developer, farmers, government representatives, NGOs, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector while they discuss how the use of reliable agro-weather data by farmers can be enhanced.
The focus group discussion will seek to find out from the stakeholders how accurate, weather information dissemination,personal weather stations and agronomic practices affect agriculture and how technology can be used to help farmers.
Key discussants at the meetup will be:

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  • Simon Gathara, Assistant Director Kenya Meteorological Department
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  • A representative from Kilimo Salama
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  • Yumbya Ben, A Crops Development Officer
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  • Farmers from different regions kenya
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  • Representative from Climate Change Unit, Ministry of Agriculture
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  • Among others

The main focus group discussion session will be held from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the m:lab East Africa balcony. Before the main discussion there will be an informal market place session where mobile application developers / entrepreneurs will showcase their solutions through demos to farmers and other stakeholders present. To participate in the event register through eventbrite site HERE NB: there are limited slots available.

Wireless Wednesday are informal focus group meetups are aimed at creating a forum for exchange of views and networking between mobile application developers and practitioners in various industry sectors.

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Mfarm & Samsung launch M-Farm mobile application

Incubation

June 2, 2012


Mfarm limited, an award winning software solutions and agribusiness company has announced the partnership with Samsung that has seen them release their mobile application, which is available on both Android and Samsung’s Bada based phones.
The mobile tool allows farmers to receive accurate, real-time crop price information daily, 6 days a week, being sourced from 5 major markets in Kenya: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret and Kitale. The M-Farm web application gives monthly analysis of the crop prices in different markets, showing the price trends. Therefore, the farmer is able to make informed economic decisions on what to plant when, how to price his produce and where to sell.
The official launch shall be on  the  5th of June 2012 at Ole Sereni hotel Nairobi alongside the Pivot East conference. To download, go to the Samsung Apps store on your mobile phone or tablet, go to utility category, search for ‘mfarm’ and get/download mfarm. You must be logged in to Samsung Apps to download. More information about M-farm can be found on the website www.mfarm.co.ke or through their twitter handle @mfarm_ke. For more information on their launch contact them on twitter or on the email address [email protected]

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