Leap² Swahili-Tech Women Innovation Challenge launched in Mombasa, Kenya

Posted on Apr 23, 2019 12:11 PM by

In 2017, Close the Gap developed the Leap² Innovation Challenges as part of their new strategy. Together with GoodUp, Close the Gap organises these challenges to support African entrepreneurs developing and scaling digital solutions for societal issues. This Challenge is made possible through the local support of Nailab, Swahilipot Hub, SwahiliBox, TechBridgeHub, Sotehub and MombasaWorks.

After three successful challenges in 2017 and 2018, both in Kenya and Uganda (more information here), Close the Gap and GoodUp joined forces once again to organise a fourth Leap² Challenge. As before, nine entrepreneurs are selected after an application period to participate in the challenge.

The challenge that was launched in Mombasa on Saturday April 13th is called The LEAP² Swahili-tech: Women Innovation Challenge. This Challenge will focus on either female entrepreneurs whose business is changing the digital field in the Mombasa region or businesses focussed on changing the lives of women.

During the LEAP² Swahili-tech: Women Innovation Challenge young Kenyan female entrepreneurs are challenged to boost their innovation by:

1) raising capital through a crowdfunding campaign (with match funding of up to 2,000 EURO per campaign)

2) attending professional trainings in crowdfunding and pitching

3) creating a network and the opportunity to showcase their innovation and create the perfect pitch for their business.

The nine innovations selected to participate in this Leap² Swahili-Tech Women Innovation Challenge are:

  • TechLens Initiative: TechLens is an initiative that equips students from public schools with ICT skills that they can't get from school due to lack of teachers or resources. TechLens also focuses on the girl child by taking keen interest on female students and helping them apply for scholarships in ICT courses.  
  • Okoa Jamii: Okoa Jamii is an online platform to help women facing Gender Based violence have a proper way of reporting crimes against them and the offenders taken action upon by the relevant competent authorities. 
  • Pwani Technogawlz: Pwani Teknowgalz’s mission is to impact girls from marginalised areas with technology skills especially in website and mobile development in Mombasa. They provide web and mobile app development classes to young women in Mombasa and mentor them on how they can implement the skills taught. 
  • Abetec Business Solutions: Abetec Business Solutions is a digital Hub dedicated to providing youths between 15-24 and young women up to 35 years an excellent environment to build on their ideas, access information through the net, and link them with supporting networks to scale their business or become employable. Their immediate goal in 2019 is to introduce a revolving fund through a mobile platform where the young girls doing vocational training will access funds through their phones, to start their own income generating activities and also a e-platform where they can sell their products. 
  • Psychbeing: Psychbeing is a Mental Health organization that utilities technology to solve Mental Health for users. Psychbeing has an online and offline platform, on the online platform, they use a mobile application to help users to get a safe space to open up about their life experiences without fear of judgement, cyber bullying, and maintain their anonymity.
  • Ukulima Digitech: Ukulima Digitech is a micro controller kit that remotely monitor and controls activities in a farm by giving real time information on moisture level and soil nutrient status thus increasing food production. Through its moisture sensor the kit will help open the irrigation farm automatically soon as it detects low moisture status at the soil.
  • Kijiji Mobile application: KIJIJI is an open innovation challenge platform that brings together a multidisciplinary team of higher education students, and Kenyan company experts in an eight-week process of co-creating solutions around a given theme. The KIJIJI concept aims to develop a new paradigm of entrepreneurship education where students of all courses get to build skills such as -negotiation, leadership, new product development, creative thinking, implementing technology and trends in business- thus gaining experience on running enterprises.
  • Sitaki App: Sitaki app is a mobile enterprise that connects a girl with legal assistance, while in distress. 
  • Walccs: WALCCS is an IOT smart device that activates and deactivates water pump, reading water tank level, checking pipe burst, incoming water pressure, creating and analyzing reports as well as sending SMS and email notifications. 

The following weeks, participants will attend workshops and set up their crowdfunding. Afterwards, they will pitch their innovation in the final event.

For more detailed information about the innovations, visit the Leap² website.

Stay tuned for future updates on this Leap² Challenge!