The Cleantech Innovation competition awards ceremony took place at a colorful event in Strathmore university. Sustainability was one of the key features in the evaluation criteria that participants of the competition were required to demonstrate. The need to hasten the potential of the youth and their charge toward mitigating climate change and its impact came in handy as the innovations being showcased had to be climate-smart related. Over 400 applications were received.
Eco Bana from St Paul’s University emerged top, taking home Ksh 900,000 as Sto- Fresh from the University of Nairobi came in second, bagging Ksh 600,000 while Circularity space from Multimedia University took the third position taking home Ksh 500,000. The competition’s objective was to recognize university students who submit creative concepts for clean technologies that might address our region’s environmental problems.
The Swiss Embassy sponsored the event and was supported by Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), Strathmore University and SICPA. KCIC Ag.CEO Ruth Ndegwa, Strathmore University dean Vincent Ogutu, Director of Global Network, Switzerland Global Enterprise Mr. Stefan Barny, SICPA General Manager Lilian Atogo among other dignitaries, graced the occasion.
Eco Bana, which deals with local production and distribution of sanitary pads, training and capacity building, took the lead from their innovative biodegradable sanitary pads. Keylie Muthoni, Executive project manager at Eco Bana, expressed her happiness after the enterprise emerged top. “We have to be innovative and think outside the box and come up with ideas because the world is changing,” said Keylie.
Charles Oyamo, the CEO of Sto Fresh, could not hide his joy as the company came in second. The company helps smallholder farmers store their products for a longer time for maximum profits. “Technology doesn’t have to be so hard. If you identify a problem and you know a tech that can solve it, then go for it,” said Oyamo.
Circularity space from MMU which came in third, focuses on garbage collection and recycling. The enterprise encourages the trends by offering points to garbage collectors that they can later redeem in cash and buy products. Company CEO Eric Munene stated that the trend is gaining momentum, leading to its recognition. “My advice to the youth is that technology is the future. Technology is what will steer us to achieving a more sustainable world,” said Munene
During the event, the director of client services at KCIC, Felix Magaju highlighted how the competition had been comprehensive and how the young people had come out to showcase their clean technology innovations. “ I was amazed at how students on finance, topics unrelated to climate change, were able to pitch their ideas on climate change. This shows the type of concern that the youth have in mitigating climate change and its impacts,” he said.
The Swiss Deputy Ambassador to Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda, Patrick Egloff highlighted the Swiss commitment to innovation and the country’s focus on innovative young students.” We targeted students in Kenya because we want young people to start thinking about innovative solutions and to start creating an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Egloff
The competition’s objective was to raise public knowledge of various technologies that can help our society’s environmental problems. It emphasizes the necessity of considering the cleantech sector as one that may be successful, fulfilling, and in a position to produce wealth and jobs.