Swahilipot Hub joins Afrilabs

Swahilipot Hub has joined Afrilabs. AfriLabs is a network organization of 100 innovation centers across 30 African countries. It supports hubs to raise successful entrepreneurs that will create jobs and develop innovative solutions to African problems.

For Swahilipot Hub community, this is an opportunity to learn and share experiences with the community around the continent. The network will help us achieve our main goal which is to help the community members help themselves. The Afrilabs shares resources and opportunities that will benefit and grow our community.

We look forward to meet  and learn from the network members while attending the annual Afrilabs gathering this year.

Swahilipot Hub Team Strategy Retreat

Changes to Swahilipot Hub Mission, Team and Programs

On Wednesday 9th May, 2018, the Swahilipot team led by the board held a half day Strategy Retreat at Hotel EnglishPoint to consider three things: the organization and its mission, the Executive team, and the programs we undertake.

We made a number of changes with regard to these three themes so let’s look at them in depth.

The Organization

After reflecting on our role and unique position in the innovation ecosystem, we unanimously agreed to change the mission to the following:

Swahilipot hub exists to help the community to develop themselves.

What this means concretely is that Swahilipot Hub aims to help the community grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate in their skills, character or with their ideas.

How will we do this?

  1. Success stories – We will work to develop more successes from the ideas and initiatives that community members work on.
  2. Avail resources – We will work to avail more resources to community members that will help them achieve their ends.
  3. Vibrant community – We will work to create a supportive community with a strong collaboration culture so that you can work with others to advance your goals.

The Team

Over the past year the board and team have worked to Swahilipot Hubs’ efficiency by putting in place structures and systems. These systems are only as good as the people who oversee them and as such, we decided to make the following changes to the team so that we’re better able to meet our targets.

== Executive Team ==

*Please Note: All Executive Team members report to the Executive Director. The Executive Director reports to the Board.

  1. Executive Director – Fatma Mkwariza
  2. Chief of Staff (Legal, HR, Operations) – Asma Al-Amin
  3. Director of Technology – Britone Mwasaru
  4. Director of Arts – Stephanie Maseki
  5. Director of Community & Engagement – Angela Mumbi
  6. Director of Marketing & Communications – Jamila El-Jabry
  7. Director of Development – Ruth Kaveke
  8. Director of Finance – Robert Katavi
  9. Technical Director – Joab Kose
  10. Administrative Director – Francis Ikoha

== Subordinate Staff ==

*Please Note: Subordinate Staff are not members of the Executive Team

  1. Mumina Saad – Receptionist (Reporting to Asma Al-Amin)
  2. Sakina Malik – Receptionist (Reporting to Asma Al-Amin)
  3. Issa Ziri – Programs Assistant – Technology (Reporting to Britone Mwasaru)
  4. Hussein A. Hussein – Programs Assistant – Arts. Also responsible for Security and Protocol. (Reporting to Stephanie Maseki and Francis Ikoha)
  5. Shufaa Yakut – Communications Assistant (Reporting to Jamila El-Jabry)
  6. Simon Adeya – Administrative Assistant. Also responsible for Safety. (Reporting to Francis Ikoha)

Note: All these roles are voluntary.

Please join me in congratulating these men and women on their roles and supporting them in achieving our mission to help the community develop themselves.

We’ve relieved 5 people of their roles and responsibilities at Swahilipot Hub. They are Paul Akwabi, Joscar Oriaro, Nelson Nthiani, Emmanuel Mutheki and Kelvin Mayieka. This decision is not a negative reflection on them or their dedication to Swahilipot Hub. We sincerely appreciate every hour they have set aside to help us achieve our mission and we hope they continue to do so as members of the community.

Programs & Activities

Swahilipot Hub has been host to many programs – initiated both by staff and community members alike. We’re also increasingly working and collaborating with other organizations.

To provide a better experience for everyone, we’ll be cutting down on programs and activities that are not aligned with our new mission. We will also be putting in place guidelines that will help us more easily determine whether we should pursue a certain program or partnership.

This also filters down to the community level. The Community Governance Initiative has a sub-committee working on programs and events led by Krispy and DJ Lenium. It is our hope that you, through this committee, will help develop guidelines and standards that will guide community initiatives at Swahilipot Hub.

Some of you may have questions or concerns on these changes. Kindly channel them to Fatma Mkwariza, Executive Director, Swahilipot Hub. She will forward them to the board.

We sincerely hope that these changes will positively benefit Swahilipot Hub and the community and we seek your partnership through collaboration to make it happen.

For and on behalf of the Swahilipot Hub Board,

Simeon Oriko

eLengo Hackathon

Chris, C.E.O at eLengo, first visited Swahilipot Hub to talk about textbook for change. He got back in touch with Swahilipot Hub regarding eLengo, a community of farmers. He was interested in working with Swahilipot Hub to solve one problem he was facing within eLengo’s community of farmers.

eLengo was faced with the challenge of sharing information to the farmers. The community was already communicating in facebook and WhatsApp groups but there needed to be a way for the farmers to easily receive information from eLengo. We decided to host a hackathon with the community members. Over 40 participants who worked in teams to brainstorm how we could better use technology to curate and spread knowledge amongst our growing farmer community. 🌾

The winning team received Kshs. 15,000 cash prize from eLengo. This partnership is important to us as we believe this kind of partnerships will build the community capacity and problem solving skills.

Next steps in the Community Governance Initiative

By Simeon Oriko, Board Member, Swahilipot Hub

Without a community, Swahilipot Hub would not exist. I’m alive to this fact every time I sit down to work on Swahilipot initiatives.

When the idea for a Community Governance Initiative at SPH popped into my mind some time towards the end of 2017, I intended that community members would do two things: one, share their experiences on engaging with Swahilipot and two, participate in drafting and implementing ideas to grow and strengthen Swahilipot Hub and it’s members.

Let’s explore these two things for a second.

Early this year, we asked you, members of Swahilipot Hub, to fill out a survey that would enable us to listen to your thoughts, ideas and criticisms. 111 members filled out the survey – some people filled it twice! (Thank you).

We’ve taken some time to compile an analysis of the survey and we’re very excited to share it with you.

Not only are we sharing the analysis, we’re also sharing with you the raw data – all the comments that were submitted for the survey.

So what next after the survey?

We need you to engage – develop and implement experiments to move SPH forward. Experiments that are successfully implemented will be kept as part of SPH’s operations.

Some community members criticized this process saying it would be all talk and no action. While there is place for constructive criticism, there is also place for action. The experiments that will be developed as a results of people’s ideas are the mechanism through which we will take action to improve Swahilipot Hub. I must emphasize, that this is wholly a community led process. I encourage you all to engage in the next phase of this process.

So, how do you engage in this next phase?

We’ve come up with 5 sub-committee’s through which experiments will be generated from and implemented through. They are as follows:

  1. Community Building – Led by Francis Ikoha and Angela Mumbi
  2. Programs and Events – Led by Krispy and Dj Lenium
  3. Communications – Led by Simon Adeya and Stephen Mwalily
  4. Governance – Led by Rajab Snow AKA Malenga 001 and Daddy the Dancer
  5. Basic Facilities – Led by Ohms Law Montana and Ruth Kaveke

We invite you to sign up to join one of these sub-committee’s. Sign up using this Google Form: https://goo.gl/forms/nRIAoediXV9vNGQI3.

The deadline for signing up for a committee is Friday 13th April 2018.

What are the timelines for this process?

  • Monday 9th April: Blog post announcing the next steps + Google form to sign up for the sub committee’s
  • Friday 13th April: Last day to sign up to join a sub-committee
  • Monday 16th April to Thursday 31st May: Sub-committees come up with concepts and implement them as experiments

Please note, that you can only join one sub-committee.

We are a community. Communities are intentional – they don’t happen by chance. I encourage you to be intentional about your participation in our community and be a part of this process.

On behalf of the board and staff, we look forward to working with you to implement your proposed experiments and to grow our community.

Pwani Innovation Week-Press Release

SWAHILIPOT HUB ANNOUNCES PWANI INNOVATION WEEK

Scheduled for December 3 – 7, 2018 in Mombasa, the event is aimed at stimulating the Innovation ecosystem in Kenya’s coastal region

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mombasa, Kenya (April 4, 2018) — In an effort to stimulate the innovation ecosystem in Kenya’s coastal region, Swahilipot Hub announces Pwani Innovation Week that will provide opportunities to learn, showcase and experience innovation in action as well as provide a forum for discussions about a regional innovation strategy.

“Our agitation for a regional innovation strategy signals our intention to build an innovation ecosystem focused on creating and supporting new businesses,” said Mr. Simeon Oriko, Board member at Swahilipot Hub.

Pwani Innovation Week features a variety of events in one week including a two day conference on December 6 – 7 to be hosted at the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic in Mombasa. Other events include talks, pitching, workshops and entertainment. A part of the programming will feature family, art and cultural events.

“We are excited to highlight the region’s aspirations and the initiatives being undertaken to meet them,” said Mr. Mahmoud Noor, Patron and Chairman of Swahilipot Hub.

Kenya’s Vision2030 development programme underscores the importance of innovation in creating a strong base for enhanced efficiency, sustained growth and promotion of value addition in goods and services. Pwani Innovation Week is an opportunity to mainstream innovation across all sectors including the “Big Four” – manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing, and food security.

 

Details of the event are available on the Pwani Innovation Week website: www.pwaniinnovationweek.co.ke

 

About Swahilipot Hub

Swahilipot Hub is an innovation hub for arts and technology in Mombasa that supports members through training, mentorship and coworking facilities. To learn more about Swahilipot Hub, visit www.swahilipothub.co.ke

###

Press Contact

Contact: Jamila Hassan

Phone: +254 753 557 799

Email: pr@pwaniinnovationweek.co.ke

 

Shining Star: Juma Rashid

My name is Juma Rashid Wafula, born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, a graduate of Moi University
with a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Management, a founder of Explore PhotoTrip,
TechWorld Investments and RJ APPARELS.
This is my startup journey…
Do you have a bold idea? What is your perfect job? What is your lifelong dream?
Many startups are born from one of these motivations. It may have been created around an idea for
a product or service. It may have been an opportunity to develop your ideal job or ‘be your own
boss’.
It might even have been a premonition, a path you always thought you were destined to walk.
For myself, it was born more out of hobbies and passion. Since childhood I have always been keen to
turn my hobbies into a money-making venture. For instance, I ran a video game business as a
teenager as I waited to join university since I enjoyed playing video games at home and while in Moi
University in my second year I started a T-shirt printing business, RJ APPARELS after learning about
Graphic Designing and Screen Printing from Paul Luganda Obinna a fellow Moi University student.
Lucky for me, it has since developed into something that I am very proud of. It is a decision that is
beginning to feel justified.
You have heard this one before. After graduating, you are told the world is your oyster. You may
conquer wherever you roam. The job market will welcome you with open arms and shelter you from
the nightmares of serving casual manual jobs.
The reality is very different. It greets you with a stern disapproving look rather than with open arms.
It judges your every decision and scrutinises your past. In the end it happily lets you know it found
somebody better than you.
The market presents graduate jobs looking for ‘x’ years experience (you have to wonder how this is
meant to be gained coming fresh from university?).
It welcomes 1000’s of applicants per job post. It offers internships with no form of income at
all.
For many, the job market is difficult, daunting, and regularly defeating and it defeated me.
After it defeated me on a few occasions I began to doubt myself. The more this niggling self-doubt
set in, the more I began to critique my professional resume and myself.
Rather than try to tart up what I had to show, to make it as glossy and appealing as possible, instead,
I started to volunteer and accept various short-term job contracts in various organizations.
After a couple of years without securing a “permanent and stable” job, I concluded that I wasn’t cut
for the job market. I saw no way to a career. I couldn’t secure a job.
I developed a serious lack of confidence regarding my career, and I was in danger of drifting
ominously towards depression and days spent pondering on what could, and should, have been.
But then, out of the blue, the light-bulb moment.It was time to start up a startup/company.
This was my chance to reset what had been a relatively unenjoyable university learning experience,
a chance to shape my future, a chance to do something I had a genuine interest in but had never
before had the drive to make it happen.
In that moment, TechWorld Investments and Explore PhotoTrip was born while frequenting
Swahilpot Hub, an incubation center in Mombasa for collaborative innovation in technology & art.
TechWorld Investments was established in 2016 as an IT sales and service firm. TechWorld
Investments has evolved to offer a wide range of products and services that today’s consumers
demand.
Explore PhotoTrip was also established in 2016 while planning for a team-building trip for Swahilipot
Hub members to foster team work and collaboration. Explore PhotoTrip has since evolved into a
tour agency offering affordable tour packages, hotel bookings, travel photography and videography.
Swahilipot Hub has been instrumental in offering the co-working space, internet connectivity and
most important the diverse community members with exceptional skills and talents that have
assisted in growing these startups. From Kevin Barassa whom we shared the idea of organizing a
team-building trip for Swahilipot Hub members out of which Explore PhotoTrip was born, Musa Ali
and Silver Jareds who offered their photography and videography skills respectfully for our first trip
in 2016.
It is hard to measure the success of something that is effectively still in its youth but looking over the
journey so far, there are some things I do know.
Am I rich? Absolutely not. Broke? Sometimes. Successful? Far too soon to say.
In truth, it would be a lie not to admit there are still days where I wish I just had a 8–5 university
degree related job, that would find my workload for me and provide me with schedules, targets and
deadlines.
Yup, I sometimes long for structure. I still regularly glance at job sites, curious as to whether there is a better opportunity for me
However, it is not all doom and gloom.
There have been so many positives gained from the experience.
I have learned an unbelievable amount, in terms of both life lessons and skills.
I can say with certainty is that I have made steady progress, and as the projects and commissions
continue to roll in, and the client list continues to expand, something that had started as a seed is
now beginning to blossom.
I am proud of what I have achieved so far with my startup journey.
My advice to others? It could also be the best decision for you.
If the job market is saving its open arms for everyone but you, give it the finger and start yourself a
startup/company.
You may never look back.

Creative Commons Workshop

All content creators must know rights for their work, you can protect your work in different ways. Many artists and creatives lose their work to others because they didn’t protect their work through the procedures set down by Laws.
In collaboration with Creative Commons, a training workshop on Intellectual property was held on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March at Swahilipot hub for Artists from the hub. The workshop was conducted by our Legal director Asma Al-Amin and Emma Mengo.

The artists were trained on the copyrights, patent, industrial design and trademark, this being the overview of Intellectual property Rights. In addition, an introduction on Creative Commons licenses that will help them share their work on the various online platforms.

This training is an introduction and awareness of Creative Commons in Mombasa, more workshops and training will be held at Swahilipot Hub to assist Artists from being exploited and how they can benefit from Creative Commons.

Photo credits : Don Makameleon Photography and Jammy Photos

Pot Culture Introduction

Everyone has untapped talent, the most important part is having a platform to showcase the talents. For the past two years Swahilipot Hub has created various platforms for Artists and creatives to show their exceptional talent, nurtured and mentored into award winning Artists.  The objective is to create branded artists who can sustain themselves in the future.

Our 2018 goal is to create a platform from Artists from different counties in the Coast to showcase their talent and skills to the different audiences. Pot culture is a yearlong series of events in different counties. A culmination of performances for the annual concert Kenyans Owns Talent in December. Creating this platform will enable them to learn how to perform in a crowd, learn discipline and become confident in what they do. Various community members from Swahilipot Hub have volunteered to mentor the upcoming artists and creatives to help them build the talent, creating a brand and promote them. Each artist is assigned a mentor in the same field/category and is mentored, so far over 20 artists have been able to showcase their work.

The first Pot Culture was on 2nd March 2018, the event was graced by various community members at Swahilipot Hub.  Shiphrah, Azooz, Mox and Janet Chumbe were the four solo artists who performed and a play was showcased by the Pot actors. Solomon Zully was Master of the ceremony for the event. The artists were mentored through rigorous rehearsals daily that helped perform exceptionally at the event.  Shiphrah has won a few awards, sang Diamond by Rihanna and Kitu kimoja by Avril, while Janet Chumbe gave us spoken word pieces on Friendzone and cheating. Mox moved the crowd by Mama by Aslay, while Azooz narrated a folk story of Mekatilili.  After each performance the audience were given a chance to give feedback to the artist, this is to help them build their talent that would appeal to the audience and to help become better artists.  The actors consisting of 14 cast and crew gave an extraordinary play with a message to the audience. The event was graced by Mombasa County Nominated MCA for the Youth Moses Aran, Mr, Taib Ali from Friends of Fort Jesus and other various high profile guests.  The event was to showcase the specific performances but also a bridge between community and the artists

As we embark in this journey, we would like to thank Mentor Mahmood Noor for the support, National Museum, Friends of Fort Jesu s, ICT Ministry and Seacom for the support of Swahilipot Hub.  The next event will be in Kwale County; we look forward to exploring the talents and nurture them through this platform. Kindly follow us on facebook for all update: https://www.facebook.com/Swahilipothub/

Sights and sounds of Pot Culture March 2nd 2018:

Photo credit to : Leo Artpix Photography studio and Heartstigraphy

Shining Star: Wacu Kihara

From age 11, I knew I wanted to be a Fashion Designer.

I started Khangadelic in 2015 after a 10 year hiatus upon encouragement from my Aunt.

When I got back from Italy in 1995 where I studied Fashion Design at POLIMODA: Istituto Internazionale Politecnico Della Moda, I registered Back To Black Designs and won various awards. Search for a National Costume in 1995 1st prize Ladies and 2nd Prize Men, SIFA Smirnoff International Fashion Awards, 3rd Prize in the Professional Category.

I got a lot of encouragement from my American friends in Naivasha where I had lived for 10 years before coming back to Mombasa 2 years ago this April. They supported and bought Khangadelic products locally and for family back home as gifts.

Khangadelic did 2 Charity Fashion Shows one for the EAWL East African Women’s League of which I was also Secretary for the Naivasha Branch for 2 years. EAWL raises money to support Charities that help Women and Children and the second one to raise funds for the boy’s dormitory at St. Andrew’s Tarabete in Kasarani, North Lake, Naivasha and we donated 10% of our sales towards the same.

Swahili Pot has helped with networking through various members.

Firstly I would like to thank Jammy El Jabry for telling me about Swahili Pot.

Ohms Law Montana is a mentor to my son Lucca aka Lucca Eky Rapper as well as the Brand Ambassador and the Face of my Fashion label Khangadelic.

Ohms Law introduced me to Musa Oyoo of Terra Models Management who has provided models for 2 of my photo shoots.

Musa in turn introduced me to Erick Pamba of Pamba Photography who does all of Khangadelic’s photography.

Paul Akwabi has introduced my son Lucca to TechKidz Africa a brilliant initiative for children on learning more about Robotics and Programming.

Angela Mumbi introduced us to Kids Fashion Show in which Lucca modelled and also Khangadelic was given the opportunity to showcase our collection on the Catwalk. Mumbi was also the inspiration behind the Valentine’s photo shoot in which she modelled a strapless satin gown with Khanga accents and a khanga velvet lined cape.

Ruth Kaveke of Pwani Teknowgalz trained me on Web Development and helped me set up my ecommerce website www.khangadelic.com

Swahili Pot also has fast and reliable internet, the members are a community and one big family and are very supportive of each other’s ventures. They also have a good relationship with the County Government who always send representatives to their functions.

Other networks and resources have been the Export Promotion Council who have given Khangadelic the platform and opportunity to travel and exhibit at International Trade Fairs such as NY NOW 2016, Sourcing at MAGIC 2017 in Las Vegas, FIHAV 2016 (Havana International Fair), Cuba and Spring Fair 2018, Birmingham, UK.

Mombasa County Government Department of Trade, Investment sponsored Khanagdelic to NY NOW 2016.

Challenges we face are

  1. Financing especially from Banks: we have in the past been financed by family and friends (My late Mother was my biggest supporter)
  2. Outlets to stock our products; they normally take the products on consignment and so we get paid as they sell which ties up our funds indefinitely. My dream would be to have my own Boutique/ showroom/ studio.
  3. We have a couple of clients in the USA, but are working to get more as we feel the export market is more appreciative of our products and are willing to pay without haggling over price.
  4. We also want to bridge the gap in the Trade deficit in the balance of trade. Kenya imports more than she exports and our PS in the State Department of Trade Dr Chris Kiptoo keeps challenging us in the various forums we have attended to have export ready goods and look for markets abroad. My heart sinks every time I see ships leaving the port of Mombasa empty but coming in full.
  5. Payment: We have in the past provided clothing for a couple of people for various events, but they feel they do not want to pay for the outfits or even give a mention that they were dressed by Khangadelic. Making clothing costs from the fabric, labour, delivery, time and effort spent.

Another passion of mine is the environment. Khangadelic is working with the Green Gang enrichment club of the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa on Environmental and Recycling Projects in Mombasa County. We carried out a clean-up exercise along Mama Ngina Drive and on the beach by the Ferry and were joined by the Patron of Swahili Pot, Mahmoud Noor and other members. But there is so much rubbish to be collected, I don’t think we made much difference with our clean up, but we did create awareness. We have an online petition to Ban Plastic Bottles and for Responsible Consumption (one of the Global Sustainable Development Goals). We need to care for our environment and responsibly dispose of waste especially plastic waste which takes hundreds of years to decompose and is killing a lot of animals that eat it and end up starving to death because of the plastic they swallow.

 

The advice I would like to give others who want to start up is to follow their passion and whatever they do will be an enjoyable journey and it will not seem like work. The journey is not without difficulties and at times one may feel like “throwing in the towel” but don’t.

It is good to do a lot of research, join Associations or groups with the same interests, they will help you grow and network.

Attend training sessions or workshops, you never stop learning.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Women in Business (WIB) are just some of the few. Export Promotion Council (EPC) has also greatly helped Khangadelic especially if you want to venture into the export market.

 

My Mother’s last words were “Don’t give up”

Shinning Star: Hussein Abdi Hussein

I am Hussein Abdi Hussein, I am a youth in Mombasa.  I have a degree in business administration with an accounting option and I am currently undergoing my private studies in CPA part 3 section 5. I am an active member of swahilipot hub I am also an actor.

I started a business of custom made Kenya flag T-shirts. The idea of the t-shirt with the kenyan flag came along while we were in swahilipot hub 02-05-2017. It was the time when we are heading to the general elections of 08/08/2017. The political tension which was around that time gave me the drive to make the T-shirt so as to show up the patriotism in us with the slogan “kenya moja”.

To start promoting my T-shirts, I collaborated with Swahilipot hub member Abdulrazak also known as Don to do a photoshoot of my T-shirts. We used the resources on social media to market the t-shirts and also to Swahilipot Hub members.  Most Members of swahilipot Hub helped reach my target and goals as an entrepreneur.  I received an overwhelming support from Friends and family.

I took a risk in this business idea; I used my school fees as capital. Sometimes we have to take risks in order to grow.  My biggest challenge is people not paying after delivery; I came up with an idea of payment prior to delivery.

My advice is make sure you conduct a market test before u engage or invest in a project. Look upon the customer’s response. Listen up to ideas which will help you in the growth of the business.