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Date: Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 23:39
In Kenya, multiple profiles of young farmers from the Agro-Environment Initiative incubator:
Everblazing farm

Geoffrey waits for tomato buyers Geoffrey a young farmer from Kiambu County in Kenya has defied the common thinking of most Kenyans about agriculture.The young man is the proud owner a tomato Farming business which he has named ever blazing farm, on 0.1ha or 1/4 acre of land.

Geoffrey practices agriculture with a difference employing youthful energy, enthusiasm and Knowledge attained from an Agricultural Training Institution and Business Studies, to develop his agribusiness. Geoffrey markets his tomatoes in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya and its environs.

Geoffrey extensively uses his mobile phone to source for agriculture information, receive orders and SMS his customers information when produce is ready. The use of ICT gives him comparative advantage in the Farming business.He has branded His produce ''Red Carpet''. Geoffrey says he has no regrets and earns a decent living from his tomato and capsicum farming business. He attributes his success to determination, hard work, availability of his grandfather's shallow well , encouragement from youth Agro-Enviroment Initiative , his parents and siblings.He has big plans ahead to own additional land in order to expand his farming business, a mansion in a premium area of Nairobi City, the best car and the best family. His life goals are well written down in black and white and nothing will stop him from achieving them. Geoffrey faces the challenge of inadequate irrigation water as the water in the shallow well reduces greatly during the dry period.He is contemplating digging a borehole for permanent water supply but the cost is limiting. Therefore, there is no doubt youth can find rewarding employment in agribusiness activities as evidenced by Geoffrey’s case...[continue reading for others]
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "agriculture, aquaculture, Business, entr..."
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Date: Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 18:12
Practical Action’s Promoting Smallholder Market Engagement Project
TBL Mirror Fund a provider of Venture Capital for East African Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.
Cassava processing villages clusters in Kenya
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "agriculture, cooperative, finance, funds..."
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Date: Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 18:00
A Design Network Africa profile:
Nigerian-born Adèle Dejak’s line of sculptural fashion accessories in gold, bone, ostrich shell and traditional cloth has its roots in the heart of Kenya. Her bold, powerful designs reflect Dejak’s defining sense of the strong contemporary African woman and has lead to design projects with Italian fashion house, Ferragamo. She is now launching AD Interiors, a collection of lights and objects for the home.
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "accessories, design, fashion, jewelry"
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Date: Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 17:56
Founded by Dzigbordi Dosoo:
Kanshi is a colorful collection of facial care, body care and lifestyle products with ingredients inspired by the flavors of West Africa, including Papaya, Mango, Coconut and Shea Butter. Lush aromatic scents and carefully selected natural ingredients are the hallmark of all Kanshi products. All products are paraben free & are not tested on animals.
via The Spec
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Business, cosmetics, entrepreneurship, n..."
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Date: Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 17:37
Bill Zimmerman writing in 27 months:
Recently, friend and fellow co-conspirator Jay Cousins proposed a unique opportunity; join a diverse group of makers on an island in Upper Egypt to prototype a unique vision for something one might call “Society 2.0”. To provide some context, Jay has been active over the last several months with his Nubian partners Darsh and Ashraf in developing the Nubialin project—a contextually relevant iteration of the icehubs model. Situated in a protected cove on the west bank of Elephantine Island, a Nubian village in Aswan without cars or paved roads, Nubialin has been variously referred to as “an experiment in good living” and “an exploration between communities and cultures.”

To many visitors, Egyptian and non-Egyptian alike, Nubialin is quite simply a taste of paradise...[continue reading]
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "fabrication, hubs, makers, makerspace"
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Date: Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 10:47
Superb product design from Fanakalo for Khulu Soaps:
Khulu Soap is an original and authentic manufacturer of soaps infused with traditional African herbs and was the first to launch this type of product in South Africa after two years of experimentation with different combinations of herbs.
Hand made soap, infused with traditional wild herbs from the heart of Africa. There are 5 different soaps, each packaged and designed with a specific African theme.
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "chemicals, cosmetics, design, lifestyle,..."
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Date: Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 10:16
From Smart Monkey TV:
Emotu Balogun, founder Traclist on: what Traclist does; how many items are for sale on the platform; different methods of delivery and payment available; the number of customers and who they are; why it's different to platforms like Konga; the percentage it takes on orders; and the advantages for the customer.
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "accessories, entrepreneurship, fashion, ..."
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Date: Friday, 29 Aug 2014 13:48
How We Made It reports:
The top 12 finalists have been announced for the 2014 Anzisha Prize. The competition recognises and celebrates African entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 22 who are using business to solve problems in their communities. The top three winners will be announced on 23 September, and will win a share of the US$75,000 prize money...[continue reading]
They are:

Sam Kodo, 22, Togo – developing low-cost computers
Jeffrey Mulaudzi, 22, South Africa – conducting lifestyle tours in a Johannesburg township
Benedict Mundele, 20, DRC – promoting healthy eating with tropical food business
Gabriel Kombassere, 17, Côte d’Ivoire – feeding families via a farming association
Nteff Alain, 22, Cameroon – providing antenatal and newborn health information
Winifred Selby, 19, Ghana – making bicycles from bamboo
Noah Walakira, 21, Uganda – supplying schools with uniform sweaters
Thato Kgatlhanye, 21, South Africa – manufacturing solar powered schoolbags
Martha Chumo, 19, Kenya – providing youth with computer programming skills
Tom Osborn, 18, Kenya – introducing a safer, cleaner way of cooking
Chukwuwezam Obanor, 22, Nigeria – providing an e-learning platform for students
Chineye Okoro Onu, 19, Ghana – turning recycled material into art
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Business, education, entrepreneurship, i..."
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Date: Friday, 29 Aug 2014 12:01
From IFADTV:
São Tomé was once the world's biggest exporter of cocoa, but a decade ago the global cocoa price crash destroyed the industry here and desperate farmers have been clearing the forests to find alternative ways to make a living. But then the rising global demand for organic chocolate changed everything. IFAD joined forces with French organic chocolate company, Kaoka, to revive the island's cocoa industry. And it looks like chocolate might just save this island.
Building the organic chocolate industry should be the next step, exporting commodities isn't enough.
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "agriculture, horticulture, marketing, pr..."
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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 22:48
In robotics:
Chinwe is currently researching autonomous self-adapting industrial in-house built robots, and how they can be used to facilitate mass customization. Robots, she hopes, will learn from their own experiences without being restricted to pre-conceived routines. In other words robots will use their experiences to think for themselves.
via Igbo People
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "diaspora, education, electronics, engine..."
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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 12:58
Richard Ssekibuule writing in Medium:
One myth people like to tell about Ugandan farmers is that they don’t produce enough food—enough to feed their families, or to sell at market and improve their quality of life. But if I've proved anything in the first months of running Kudu, it’s that the myth of scarcity is just that: a myth. Kudu is a cell-phone-based auction market for agricultural trade in developing countries that has been piloted in Uganda since January 2013. In that time, 520 farmers have posted “asks”—seeking buyers for their produce—worth a total of $1.7 million dollars. I’ll say it again: 520 Ugandan smallholders have offered to sell almost $2 million in produce. The real problem is distribution.
This is a raw video that shows a trader explaining the benefits he envisages with Kudu. In the final segment, I explain in Luganda how the Kudu concept was built and the underlying assumptions for its success.
Kudu started as an effort to design a system that would reduce inefficiencies in the Ugandan agricultural market. Before we began, we carried out a study using historical price information for produce in Uganda. It showed huge differences between produce prices in rural and urban areas, differences that were too high to account for transport costs between these locations. A sack of sweet-potatoes costs USD $15 in rural areas 80 KM from Kampala, for instance, while the same sack of potatoes can be sold for USD $28 in the city. Historical price data also showed high returns on investment for farmers and traders who stored produce during harvest periods (periods of plenty) and then sold during planting seasons (seasons of scarcity). Storage periods ranging from 3 to 18 months had several viable profit opportunities...[continue reading]
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "agriculture, food, markets, software, st..."
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Date: Monday, 25 Aug 2014 10:57
Its not the development folks or Aid givers that will build the continent.Africa's future depends on people like "Kwadwo Safo, owner of the Kantanka Group of Companies covered earlier.Kent Mensah of Al Jazeera reports on "Ghana's talented but ignored inventors":
A father and his pilot son in a country with no history of manufacturing are making products that will stun the world.
Accra, Ghana - Imagine having a television set that comes on after an effortless clap or by blowing air; picture yourself in a car that is engineless and starts with a simple push of a button tucked to your dress; or a change-over-machine that speaks and tells you where exactly a fire or electrical fault is in your home.

This is not fiction. It is not magic. It is not happening in Europe or Asia and not even in the United States. These products are being manufactured in the West African nation of Ghana.

The brains behind this is Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo, owner of the Kantanka Group of Companies. He is naturally gifted. A genius. An inventor and a philanthropist. He has no formal or sophisticated technical background. He imagines, dreams and creates at will. He lives in his own world.
More here

Images courtesy of Al Jazeera
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "engineering, fabrication, Industrial Clu..."
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Date: Saturday, 23 Aug 2014 20:06
Silumesii Maboshe, founder of Pencil Case Studios:
“I have been coding since when I was about 12, I learnt how to program in Pascal on an old 386 pc with a monochrome screen.”

“One of the things I like about technology is when things work it’s almost like alchemy, you can turn anything that you can think of into whatever you want. If you can imagine it you can create it.”...[continue reading] - Hackers of Zambia
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "entrepreneurship, hackerspace, software,..."
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Date: Friday, 22 Aug 2014 17:09
From TechCabal's, "Girl Who Code series", Ofure Ukpebor:
Please give a brief description of yourself

My name is Ofure Amenawon Ukpebor, and I’m 20 years old. I’m a computer programmer and a first class graduate of Computer Science from the prestigious Babcock University, Nigeria.

I strongly believe learning never ends and I try to put in my best in everything I do.

What are your code proficiencies/languages/super powers?

JavaScript (jQuery), PHP, Java

How and why did you start/learn to code?

I started learning how to code while in school at Babcock. We had a lot of programming courses and as part of the course work, we had to build applications.

At first, I just had to learn because I needed to pass my courses excellently. But over time, I eventually fell in love with coding. A lot of that has to do with the great joy that comes from seeing my code come alive in complete applications.

I never want to stop coding.

What have you done (projects/places you’ve worked)?

With PHP, I’ve built e-voting, e-recruitment, e-payment, university management applications and some others. Websites and a few games with HTML5, Javascript and Java, mostly for fun. Previously, I’ve interned as a computer programmer at SPDC and NDPR.
More here

Image courtesy of techcabal
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "education, hubs, maker, software, women"
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Date: Friday, 22 Aug 2014 15:19
UpNairobi profiles three companies in the business of creating products from repurposed and recycled materials:

Gabriele Buracchi led:
KMS-Kilometres...which has turned the used rubber tires that are usually seen languishing on the side of the road into some pretty stylish furniture. By combining the tyres with pretty kangas, each piece he produces is unique… and he’s not only making furniture… whether it’s a guitar case, a yoga mat, a wallet or a funky handbag that you’re after.
interior decorator:
Aposh Home Décor Turns PVC Pipes and Bulbs can make the most stylish towel rack, shoe rack and flower bases
while
...Am.Used project decided that all those plastic bottles that were hanging around their garages could be brought to better use than just having them trickle down to the local plastic recycler. After brainstorming over a couple bottles of wine, they decided that what Nairobians were really missing were some cool and funky chandeliers that don’t break the bank. So with the help of some simple keychains they came up with this:
More here

Images courtesy of UpNairobi
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "accessories, arts, crafts, creative indu..."
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Date: Friday, 22 Aug 2014 12:52
From Doregos Private Academy the maker nurturing school that produced the urine powered generator.Award winning interdisciplinary research from Eveshorhema Sophia Samuel-Alli & Ibukunoluwa Ruth Oladeinde for "Walnut: A Sustainable Solution to Halitosis':
image courtesy of Bella Naija
They conducted the the experiment with 35 volunteers, which were divided into four groups to use the walnut, as well as the Walnut chewing gum and the Walnut mouthwash.

They said:
“Before they took the walnut and walnut products, they were made to blow bubbles into the solution and then we recorded how long it took to turn the solution black. What turns the solution black is hydrogen sulphide and that is what causes mouth odour. So if it takes a short time, that means the mouth odour is actually very bad. Then after the experiment, they were also made to blow bubbles into the solution and this time, it was noticed that there was significant time lapse before the solution turned black.

When the control group who had bacteria in their mouths, blew bubbles into the solution, it turned black while it remained clear when the other groups blew bubbles into it. So we knew that the walnut was actually working to cure halitosis.”- Bella Naija
More here
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "education, innovation, maker faire afric..."
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Date: Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 23:11
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "maker faire africa, makers"
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MakerHut   New window
Date: Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 19:12
In Zambia:
Makerhut is a creative community of makers in Zambia that explores projects and technology in the fields of Electronics, Arts and Industrial Design. Not familiar with what a maker is? A maker is anyone that loves to tinker and create things: mechanical, electrical or even with textiles.

Artists are makers. Inventors are makers. Our ancestors were makers. You’re probably a maker too!

Besides independent projects, build events and How-to sessions, MakerHut is home to Afrimakers Zambia – an international initative which kickstarted workshops focused on local challenges in various hubs around Africa that are interested in working with young people.

Wanna be a part of MakerHut? Join us at one of our next events, join our group on instructables, or scroll down to the contact form and get in touch.
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "hackerspace, maker, makers, makerspace"
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Date: Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 18:43
A CNN profile of a breakthrough product Noonee co-founded by Keith Gunura:
image courtesy of CNN
It's like a chair that isn't there, but magically appears whenever you need it. It's called the Chairless Chair and you wear it on your legs like an exoskeleton: when it's not activated, you can walk normally or even run. And then, at the touch of a button, it locks into place and you can sit down on it. Like a chair that is now there.

"The idea came from wanting to sit anywhere and everywhere, and from working in a UK packaging factory when I was 17", says Keith Gunura, the 29-year old CEO and co-founder of noonee, the Zurich-based startup behind the device, "standing for hours on end causes a lot of distress to lower limbs, but most workers get very few breaks and chairs are rarely provided, because they take up too much space. So I thought that the best idea was to strap an unobtrusive chair directly to myself". The idea came from wanting to sit anywhere and everywhere, and from working in a UK packaging factory when I was 17.

Keith Gunura, co-inventor of the Chairless Chair The device never touches the ground, which makes it easier to wear: a belt secures it to the hips and it has straps that wrap around the thighs. A variable damper engages and supports the bodyweight, which is directed towards the heels of the shoes. These are specially designed and part of the mechanism, but an alternate version works with any footwear and touches the ground only when in a stationary position. The user just moves into the desired pose and then powers the device, which currently runs for about 24 hours on a single 6V battery.

"In addition to resting your leg muscles, it also provides optimal posture", adds noonee CTO and co-founder Bryan Anastisiades "it keeps your back straight and can reduce the occurrence of bad postures for both healthy workers and those recovering from muscle related injuries".
More here
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "diaspora, engineering, hardware, health,..."
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Date: Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 17:34
From Eric King, Stephanie Santoso, and Kate Gage White House Blog:
 (Photo by Mike Star)
The maker movement paves a clear path toward local problem solving and entrepreneurship, both hallmarks of the Mandela Fellowship, as we learned firsthand. Fellow Abibatou Banda Fall helps women develop products to improve their livelihoods, like a low cost thermal basket to keep goods warm as they’re taken to markets, in Senegal. Lukonga Lindunda operates a co-working space to support innovative tech entrepreneurs in Zambia. Selma Neves helps struggling single mothers lift themselves out of poverty through self-employment training and support in Cabo Verde. Ruth Lukwaro pairs inventors with business students to build sustainable social enterprises in Tanzania. Mutoba Ngoma turns agricultural waste into consumer goods like biodiesel fuel for local markets in Zambia. Tatiana Pereira runs a business incubator for early-stage startups in Mozambique. “I can have greater impact on people’s lives by sharing knowledge and strengthening the ones around me,” she said. “Success is the entrepreneurs that start and succeed.”

The Fellows also had an opportunity to speak with Emeka Okafor, founder of Maker Faire Africa, who encouraged them to cultivate a culture of making. “Making is central to leading Africa where it needs to be: a developing, problem solving region,” he said. “It’s imperative that communities from Cairo to the Cape unfetter their populations with tools from within. Making is pivotal if this is to occur.” Maker Faire Africa showcases makers’ ingenuity and strengthen their pan-African network. Started in 2009, the organization has hosted events in four different African countries. The next Maker Faire Africa will be held later this year.

Looking forward, makers in Africa are faced with a spectrum of challenges, ranging from amplified versions of those familiar to American entrepreneurs like gaining access to venture capital and low-cost manufacturing, to more frustrating hurdles like inadequate electricity and supply chain infrastructure. Daunting though these challenges may be, the gritty determination of young African leaders like Abdojinou is unwavering. Africa’s makers and entrepreneurs will help shape the future of the continent. “Growth,” said Pereira, “comes from people who act and make things happen - entrepreneurs. Africa is full of opportunities and young people with great potential.”
More here
Author: "Emeka Okafor (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "diaspora, diy, innovation, invention, ma..."
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