The three Kenyan finalists to the Africa MIT Innovation Challenge. www.businesstoday.co.ke
The three Kenyan finalists to the Africa MIT Innovation Challenge. [Photo/Business Today/Courtesy]

Three Kenyan organisations are among 12 finalists selected by Liquid Telecom for the Regional Finale of the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC), which will be held this month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Only South Africa has an equal number of firms as Kenya among the finalists.

The finalists were chosen from more than 400 applicants from 35 African countries that entered the competition. Following a rigorous evaluation process these 12 selected finalists now have a chance to win part of a Ksh 104 million ($1 million) Global Grand Prize that will be awarded at MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) in November. There will be four winners from Africa – 1 in each challenge category.

The 2019 IIC has four categories focused on creating solutions to help people prosper in the era of automation. These are financial inclusion, skills development and opportunity matching, income growth and job creation and technology access. Through its Innovation Partnership initiative, Liquid Telecom encouraged African based start-ups, innovators and technology companies to take part in the various challenges.

From Kenya, the firms that have been shortlisted are:

Income Growth & Job Creation – Tiny Totos

Tiny Totos transforms service standards across Nairobi’s informal childcare market through innovative technology to benefit underserved preschool children and working mothers in slums.

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Skills Development & Opportunity Matching – Shortlist

Shortlist empowers jobseekers in Africa and India to apply for jobs online by demonstrating their skills and abilities in real time, regardless of their background.

Technology Access – Flare

By building 911 for 60% of the world without an existing system, Flare is helping EMTs do the important work of saving lives every day.

With the arrival of the 4th Industrial Revolution, there has never been a better time to showcase some of the latest technologies and explore how they can be used as a force for good in Africa. Liquid Telecom is proud and excited to help lead the debate and discussion. It is indeed exciting to see Kenyan firms having maximum number of finalists though it’s not surprising. Kenya has always been at the forefront of innovation and has provided a conducive ecosystem for start-ups to grow.

To mark the finale of the 2019 Challenge, Liquid Telecom is also hosting the African Inclusive Innovation Summit in Ethiopia, a one day event highlighting how technology is creating economic opportunity for low-and middle-income earners across Africa. The Summit will be held in partnership with the African Union Commission, the Ethiopian Jobs Creation Commission (JCC), and the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology.

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