Two Kenyan techies have been nominated as Africa’s pioneer fellows to attend an annual global tech conference which acts a launch pad for mobile applications and innovations.
Nivi Mukherjee, founder of eLimu education app and Simeon Oriko, co-founder of tech hub Jamlab will attend this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) which showcases new and creative ideas in the field of technology.
The five-day conference to be held in Austin, Texas next month will afford the Kenyan techpreneurs a chance to rub shoulders with and learn from international corporate IT titans and developers.
Ms Mukherjee and Mr Oriko make up the inaugural class of the African Diaspora Fellowship (ADF) program, an initiative of Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce (CCAACC), a Texas-based business lobby and SXSW.
Mr Oriko is also the recipient of the SXSW Dewey Winburne Community Service Award.
“The fellowship, designed to create a bridge between Austin and Nairobi, two growing technology economies, presents a unique partnership for the leading-edge technology event,” said Natalie Cofield, chief executive of CCAACC.
"It provides an opportunity for African entrepreneurs to learn more”, said Ms Cofield in a statement.
Ms Mukherjee is the brain behind eLimu, an interactive educational app that features animations, videos, songs, music, games and quizzes to make the learning process fun. It runs on tablets and is currently being rolled out in primary schools in Kenya.
“This is a good opportunity for us to connect and interact with the globally significant entrepreneurs and help to put Kenya with its thriving entrepreneurial culture on the map,” she said in an interview with Business Daily.
Mr Oriko co-founded Jamlab, a community of young tech enthusiasts who run programs aimed at deepening knowledge on ICT use.
The hub is an outcome of the Kuyu project, a digital literacy initiative aimed at teaching young people how to fully utilise social media and other digital tools to effect social change in their communities.
The 2009 SXSW Interactive saw the launch of Foursquare, a mobile app that allows users to post their location at a venue and connect with friends.
Past conferences have also been graced by high profile tech personalities such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, ex Twitter CEO Evan Williams and Seth Priebatsch, founder of mobile-gaming platforms SCVNGR and LevelUp.
Last year’s summit was characterised by social discovery mobile apps such as Highlight, Glancee, Sonar and Kismet which let users locate other nearby users. SXSW is a convergence of film, interactive, and music festivals and conferences that take place every year in Texas, dubbed America’s Silicon Prairie.