The academy which was started in 2010 has seen over 200 students graduate with the masters degree and today’s event marked the third lot of graduates.
The Master of Science Degree in Mobile Telecommunications and Innovation programme is designed to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the Telecommunication sector as an important pillar of sustainable economic development.
Mobile cellular technologies have enabled the poorest regions countries to extend communication to the rural poor to access cheaper services in support of agricultural services, micro-financial services and mobile money transfers . As the demand for these services and applications increases, the need to develop innovative solutions also increases thus the programme also focuses on the entrepreneurial spirit of students and the youth to meet this growing demand.
According to Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director, @iLab Africa, Strathmore, “The programme is an initiative by Safaricom and Ilab Africa, where students are taught on how to develop local mobile applications and also help the students get equipped with personal skills to help them.”
This programme also addresses the needs of students and entrepreneurs from various related backgrounds, e.g. Computer Science, Information Technology and engineering, who wish to establish businesses or build careers in the field of telecommunication.
Bob Collyhmore, the CEO Safaricom said that Safaricom Academy has sponsored 150 students and spent over Kshs. 700, 000 for each student. He also said that he was proud of the partnership with Strathmore and asked the graduates to use the skills they have been equipped with to help build the society.
“We are today announcing the launch of a testbed that will enable developers test their solutions without incurring the commercial rates as we continue to listen and develop other solutions to address the gaps in aiding startups and developers scale greater heights,” he added.
In his congratulatory speech to the graduates Deputy Vice Chancellor, Strathmore University, (Academic and Students Affairs) Professor Izrael Da Silva, urged the students to come up with viable apps that will have the power to transform the current culture and make a difference in the lives.
The event was also attended by past graduates who have managed to successfully start their own companies and some who have received employment in blue chip companies. The past graduates gave their own testimonials and their success stories. Among them Caine Wanjau a former graduate from the Academy who founded ‘Flash-Cast’ a start-up that serves about 60 businesses in Nairobi and has also extended to the Nigerian Market.
The event also saw students with the most innovative apps awarded. The students awarded were Fatma Balala and Kenga Mosoti. Fatma, is behind an app called E-studente App, an app that allows students and manage their time and also gives students and lecturers a platform where they can interact. Kenga, came up with an app called Crash Data, an app that will help Kenya police track road accident data collection.
In collaboration with the Safaricom Academy, students in the programme will gain practical industry experience on applications’ development and best industry practices. The programme also offers Leadership and Management skills to prepare students to take up leadership roles in business, academia and the IT Industry. The programme further opens the way for candidates who may wish to develop further their knowledge in IT through research with the intention of undertaking a PhD programme.