Q&A: Nailab’s Josephine Mwangi

Q&A: Nailab’s Josephine Mwangi

Kenya’s Nailab will be hosting its first hackathon outside of Nairobi this weekend when it visits Mombasa, and HumanIPO caught up with Josephine Mwangi, the hub’s public relations and marketing manager, to find out where it plans to go next.

HumanIPO: The Nailab will be hosting the first ever hackathon in Mombasa, how did you get to this position?

Mwangi: As an incubator it has been our dream to see the incubation program actualised in the country.

This year, with the support of the ICT Authority and Afrilabs, we rolled out the pilot virtual incubation programme, which has been a success.

We however needed to have sessions with techpreneurs in the different localities to understand their challenges, then map out what needs to be considered and the right partners to work with in rolling out the incubation programme further.

The Mombasa hackathon is a start and we are looking forward to hearing and sharing with the techpreneurs in Mombasa.

Why was Mombasa chosen over other counties?

Mombasa is the second largest city in the country, not forgetting the heart of our tourism sector.

The tech community in Mombasa is also thriving. We therefore saw a need to seed this programme in the region and aggregate the learning’s.

It is in conjunction with JKUAT, tell us about this partnership?

JKUAT, as we know, is a campus that is founded on technology, so what better place to interact with technology enthusiast in the region? The institution has also seen the creation of the Mombasa Tech Community who consist of JKUAT alumni.

 Tell us about the theme “Incubation without borders”.

As previously stated, we are keen on having incubation in different counties to strengthen the techpreneurs and grow our tech community nationally.

We would like to see the youth be job creators, not jobseekers. This can only be done by encouraging them to be entrepreneurs in their own right.

Our secondary theme for Mombasa was proposed by Stephen Musyoka as “Sea, Sand and Tech J”.

Who will you be targeting for the event and what does Nailab hope to achieve?

 The target for this hackathon is the tech community in Mombasa and the event will help us understand their needs and keep stimulating techpreneurship.

 There is a belief among some in the industry that Nairobi, and not Kenya, is the tech hub? is this event seeking to dispel this?

 That is actually correct. As it is now, Nairobi is the tech hub of Kenya. It’s time that we got to understand what are the challenges the tech community is facing in other localities and how we can help them alleviate these challenges.

 Do you have similar programmes for other counties?

 Yes, this is just the beginning. We intend to visit Kisumu, Eldoret, Juja and Kakamega.

 Where will the next hackathon be?

 We are targeting Kisumu for the month of November.

 What is in store for the participants?

 Knowledge, exposure, interaction, sharing and development of potentially great ideas and fun.

 Any other parallel programs coming up?

 We are currently focusing on perfecting the virtual incubation program and mapping out the creation of the incubation program in the region.

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