Initiate! launched the Student Impact Challenge programme at African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa in 2019 with four teams selected from African universities. The objective of this programme is to engage and inspire the next generation of engineers and power professionals, showcase young talent from Africa’s leading universities and tailor an experience for students to learn and network at Africa’s largest energy and water event. The power and energy industries are in constant need of talent and new ideas to encourage the development of ‘out of the box’ strategies to bring about change. Initiate! is the perfect platform for startups, students, young professionals and established professionals to share ideas and innovations.

WINNERS OF THE 2019 INITIATE! STUDENT CHALLENGE

The 2019 winners are thought leaders and future energy innovators hailing from Strathmore University (Kenya). Their team included four engineering students: Ignatius Maranga, Raymond Kiyegga, Fredrick Amariati and Alex Osunga.

Their innovative concept was to provide equitable energy access to remote villages based on, among others, ‘Uber(ising)’ solar energy. Their concept left the judges impressed due to its userfriendly nature that proved to be replicable beyond Kenya to the rest of the continent.

THE WINNING INNOVATIVE CONCEPT EXPLAINED

The concept was primarily designed for rural villages where a mobile container fitted with solar panels, would house a clinic and a school or vocational training centre educating people about the use and benefits of solar energy. It also included a shop where villagers could buy daily food essentials. Tricycles would carry and deliver batteries, as Uber does passengers, to villagers in more remote areas. The system is modular so one is able to add another container to charge batteries. These batteries are ferried on trikes, so villagers in more remote areas can request a number of charged batteries on their phone.

WHAT DID THE WINNERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THEIR PARTICIPATION?

How has participating in Initiate! assisted you as a student?

“Participating in the Initiate challenge gave me the courage to take up several challenges facing Africa, and come up with solutions specific to Africa.” Alex Osunga: MSc in Information Systems Security.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND INITIATE! TO FELLOW STUDENTS AND WHY?

“I would recommend this to any student at whatever level of their education. There are lots of ideas out there, and what I have learnt is that the owners of these ideas only require an opportunity to explore them. Initiate!, to me, is the opportunity they need.”

“In addition, the opportunity to share ideas through networking with peers and the unlimited access to other professionals to put one’s ideas into practice, coupled with maximum exposure to the top decision makers gives the challenge more meaning.” Fredrick Amariati: Technical Diploma in Chemical Engineering; BCom with specialization in Operations Management; and MSc in Energy Economics and Policy.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE INITIATE! PROGRAMME?

“I had a wonderful experience during the programme. The idea of combining it with the exhibitions and conference should be maintained because it gives the participants good room to explore what exactly is in the industry. To be honest our idea had a lot to do with what we found at the booths and this helped us scale it up.” Raymond Kiyegga: Background in Electrical Engineering and completing an MSc in Information Technology.

WHY APPLY TO PARTICIPATE IN INITIATE!?

If you’re a postgraduate student about to complete your degree and you are ready to work in the industry, the Student Impact Challenge at Initiate! can help you with your next career move!

How you can participate in the 2020 Initiate! programme as a competing team or as a sponsor:

The topic for 2020 is ‘What is the biggest challenge in the current African energy sector and how would you propose to flip this around to be an opportunity?’. If you would like to be seen as a supporter of innovation or an interested University, you can register your interest with Nazlee Fredericks at Nazlee.fredericks@clarionevents.com | initiate-global.com