East Africa Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Entrepreneurship Summit.


Within the corridors of academia, students find themselves at a pivotal moment, faced with three diverging paths: academia, the structured confines of corporate employment, or the daring leap into entrepreneurship.  This decision weighs heavily, particularly for those aspiring to engineering and entrepreneurship, each path offering its own blend of opportunities and challenges.

On April 25, 2024, Strathmore University  buzzed with excitement as it hosted the inaugural East Africa Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Entrepreneurship Summit. Engineering students from across East and West Africa eagerly converged, driven by the summit’s theme of ‘Fostering Entrepreneurial Innovation in Technology.’ The summit provided a fertile ground for students to engage with seasoned experts across diverse fields, delving into a captivating array of topics, ranging from cutting-edge technology and innovation to personal growth, branding strategies, and the intricacies of entrepreneurship.

As attendees arrived, they were greeted by the lively and colorful spectacle of Maasai dancers, their energetic movements and vibrant attire captivating the crowd and holding their attention as they performed.

“Entrepreneurship is tough, but passion makes it easier.” Mohamed El Dallal, Vice-Chair of the IEEE Entrepreneurship Global Committee, inaugurated the summit setting the tone with a keynote speech resonating with the audience, urging them to embrace passion in navigating the challenging yet rewarding path of entrepreneurship. Subsequently, speakers like Abdullateef Aliyu and Lwanga Herbert, both experts in the engineering and entrepreneurship fields, echoed similar sentiments, underscoring the essential role of engineers in driving sustainable development and importance of utilizing engineering skills to address societal issues. In the ever-evolving world of technology, Michael Mbae, CEO of Picture AI, discussed leveraging technology for growth.

Prof Izael Da Silva, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation and also the SU-IEEE Student Chapter Branch Advisor, advocated for student involvement in challenges and competitions. He specifically referenced the imminent Strathmore University Ideas Festival 2024 as a prime occasion. Da Silva underscored the significance of such events as avenues for skill enhancement and exposure to broader networks. 

How do you start-up?

Prior to the Summit, the IEEE Global Committee team organized a 3-day workshop, drawing attendees from diverse corners of the globe, including eager students and seasoned industry professionals. Speakers such as Raghu Surya and Ken Stauffer led engaging sessions delving into a spectrum of topics: from the art of aligning ventures with Sustainable Development Goals to the intricacies of constructing business model canvases, from navigating the journey of transforming ideas into market-ready products to safeguarding intellectual property rights, and from honing leadership prowess to cultivating a robust entrepreneurial mindset, each session served as a cornerstone in the quest for innovation and enterprise. 

Building upon this foundation, the Summit catalyzed additional engagements with key industry professionals in the start-up ecospace.

Magothe Innocent, CEO, Stratinev, an authority in the startup realm, imparted valuable lessons to the students on investing in budding ventures and capacity building, research, managing cash flow, seeking investors, and geographical distribution of markets among many others. “It’s through mentorship, that you will grow,” he emphasized. Stratinev, a one-stop launchpad, provides an opportunity for innovators to be empowered to flourish through accessible resources like hackathons, training sessions, boot camps, and various programs.

Juliani, a well-known artist, entrepreneur, and founder of two startups: Takabank, dedicated to transforming slum waste into recyclable materials, and MyMsanii, a platform empowering music artists with essential resources. He brought a unique perspective to the table sharing insights on integrating creativity with business acumen. “Entertainment, knowledge transfer, brand extension, and community development are foundational pillars for entrepreneurship,” he added, advocating for the exchange and dissemination of knowledge, acknowledging its pivotal role in propelling innovation and fostering growth.

Panel discussions added further depth to the event, delving into critical topics such as growth strategies, programmes about startups, mentorship and training, investor approaches, and founder well-being. Throughout the session, students attentively listened and absorbed the valuable insights shared by the speakers, diligently taking notes and reflecting on the wisdom imparted. The discussions were inspiring and encouraged collaborative thinking and innovation in the entrepreneurial landscape. 

The summit culminated in a thrilling startup pitching competition. Bee Smart (smart bee-hive monitoring), B-Swara (e-bike rentals), and M&S Irrigation Solution (solar-powered irrigation) emerged victorious, showcasing the potential of these ventures to create positive change.

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu


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