Innovate Kenya opens applications for 2015 challenge

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Global Minimum initiative Innovate Kenya has opened applications for its 2015 InChallenge programme, an accelerator programme for innovative Kenyans between the ages of 13 and 18.

The Global Minimum initiative was founded in 2006 and runs labs and design challenges in Sierra Leone, Kenya and South Africa to provide enabling tools, mentorship, resources and networks to young people.

It has now opened applications for this year’s Kenyan intake, offering a series of design-thinking training sessions, leadership clinics, community outings and rigorous technical training and exploration for successful applicants in their area of interest. Applications close on March 1, with the programme beginning in mid-April.

“InChallenges are social entrepreneurship and innovation competitions that empower youths in Sierra Leone, Kenya and South Africa to create and implement their own solutions to pressing problems in their communities,” the organisation said.

“Global Minimum provides seed funding, space, mentorship, and opportunities, allowing students to turn their ideas into reality. We create a system whereby any young student who envisions a local solution to a local problem can access a support network to realise those dreams. By fostering bright minds with the creative freedom to design their future, we lay the bedrock for national development.”

Any senior secondary school can nominate teams of between two and five students to participate in the InChallenge. The teams with the best proposals will be selected as finalists by a panel of judges and receive seed funding to test and prove their solution over a piloting phase.

InChallenges specifically aim to promote self-efficacy in youth, foster role models whose innovations demonstrate the mindset of learning, constant growth, and social impact, identify, incubate, and scale high impact ideas, and foster the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

Disrupt Africa reported in November mobile apps walked away with prize money at the Innovate South Africa Final Showcase, which rewarded innovative young people with the chance to further incubate their projects.

Paragon Protein from the Cape Academy of Maths, Science and Technology in Cape Town won the overall award for its project aimed at combatting child malnutrition with the high protein superfood spirulina.

Two mobile apps also won prizes, with Transport Revolution from COSAT, Khayelitsha, winning the Best Progress Prize of ZAR2,000 (US$180) for their ticketing system that allows users to recharge train cards using their mobile phones, and HushApp from Rustenberg Girls High winning the Best Presentation Prize of ZAR1,000 (US$90) for their Android application to help women cope with physical insecurities.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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