Over the years, to cultivate the spirit of entrepreneurship, the Tech Expo has invited several players from the public and private sector to give advice and guidance on how to traverse the murky waters of the business world.
In the inaugural Tech Expo, 2010 saw Kaburo Kobia and Pius Busera bring their immeasurable experience and knowledge of the country’s ICT sector. Prof. Bitange Ndemo, the then Permanent Secretary for Information and Communication, graced the 2011 Tech Expo urging the innovators to provide solutions to problems facing Kenyans.
“If you want to invent look at the problems people have. People in developing countries have a better opportunity to innovate due to the numerous problems that exist in these countries,” advised Prof. Ndemo.
In 2012, Prof. Bitange’s counterpart at the Ministry of Roads, Eng. Michael Kamau, cautioned it was impossible for Kenya to meet its development targets unless the country’s youth were provided with the necessary ‘skills, competencies and attitudes. While commending the Tech Expo, the Permanent Secretary called on the exhibiting students to be committed in the enterprise of innovating which he acknowledged had numerous potential benefits not only for them individually but also for launching the country toward the direction charted by Kenya Vision 2030.
The 2013 Tech Expo saw Director of Industrial Information & Research, Amb. Dr. Joseph Kiplagat, who was representing the Industrialization and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary, Mohamed Adan, laud the Expo for being a very vibrant platform for the identification and nurturing of cutting edge innovations with the ultimate objective of exposing students’ innovations to the industry.
The Director further reiterated that the Tech Expo fosters innovation endeavours among students, and encourage them to embrace collaborations with an aim of commercialising projects that come from the universities.
As the Tech Expo grew so did her guests. In 2014, The Tech Expo had the privilege of hosting Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, who said “Kenya Vision 2030 is very clear on the role of technology and innovation in our journey to prosperity and transformation. This expo is a strong intent to confront our challenges with commitment and imagination.” He urged young innovators to take advantage of the Presidential Digital Innovation programme and deploy their creativity and innovation to advance Kenya’s socio-economic transformation.
Eng. Bernard Ngore, Chairman of Kenya Motor Repairers Association (KEMRA) lauded Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology for holding the annual event saying that such expos will contribute towards making Kenya an industrial power house in the region. He was speaking during the 2015 Tech Expo.
The Engineer encouraged the innovators to build relations and network with the industry, and urged them to be resilient and persistent in their quest. “An innovation will not change lives until the innovator takes the next step and venture into the real world.”
During the seventh edition of the Tech Expo, 2016, one of the successful entrepreneurs in the country, Darshan Chandaria, challenged the innovators to overcome the fear of failure if they wanted to succeed in the cutthroat industry of entrepreneurship. “Remove the shackles of fear, uncertainty, doubt and network with the great corporates gathered here today, make contacts, research more, and take the next step,” advised the Director and Group CEO of Chandaria Group (Kenya).
With each passing year JKUAT (Host Institution) Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga acknowledges that The Tech Expo has firmly established a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among its students producing brilliant minds such as Allan Mukwana, Kevin Nthiga, Kevin Wahome and Emmanuel Simiyu who have ventured out and started their own enterprises.
As we delve into The Tech Expo 8.0, solutions to most of the challenges human beings face in the society lie in harnessing the inherent capabilities, innovations and talents of our youth a concept The Tech Expo is keen on building on.