The 1st Techstars Startup Weekend Women’s Edition Nairobi, May 2018


Eunice Nyandat, CEO, My Biz Marketer


Women are often left out on many entrepreneurship opportunities. According to theWomen in the Workplace report 2017 by McKinsey & Company, women earn 40 percent to 50 percent of degrees in science and engineering, and they represent 30 percent of the software industry work force. But they are less likely to have information about how to become an entrepreneur, to see female role models and to know venture capitalists.

It is for this reason that we organised the first Techstars Startup Weekend Women’s Edition in Nairobi. Startup Weekends are 54 hour events held globally, where people develop business ideas into startups. This women’s edition drew a lot of interest, indicating that women are ready to change the narrative of being left out of the picture.

Techstars Startup Weekends are organized by volunteer community leaders, and in Nairobi, My Biz Marketer and Mwanadada were the community leaders organizing. Our involvement as community leaders, in organizing Startup Weekend, came from experience of having organized two previous Startup Weekend Education events in Nairobi.

Our job was to mobilize coaches, judges, speakers and exhibitors from different organizations, like Upscale Consulting, Yusudi, iHub, Legibra, What’s Good Studios, The Chartered Institute of Marketing, Growth Africa, Metta Nairobi, The Kijiji, Refinery Grooming and many others, to help the young women entrepreneurs firm up their ideas in readiness for pitching. A big thanks to the iHub for giving us space for this event.

Daniel Anderson of Step & Stone during a mini-workshop on finances.


There were exhibitors at the event who they sponsored the event in different ways. Go Gaga experiential, the events management company that hosts annual Social Media Week events in Nairobi, Refinery Spa, Legibra and Oltouroto Children’s Village.

Basically the 54 hour event structure involves participants coming with different ideas, people voting for the best ideas, forming groups, and working together on the best ideas, punctuated by mini-workshops. It culminates on Sunday evening with the judging session where the groups pitch to a panel of judges. I am quite exited to see which idea wins. We sure will keep you posted on the winner and the goodies after the event, so stay tuned.

This article is a cross post from mwanadada blog. 

Andela, BRCK & iBizAfrica Sponsor 3rd Edition of Startup Weekend Education, Nairobi


A team of software developers, engineers and technologists who are from Africa and live here have a long history of building things, such as Ushahidi, Crowdmap and the iHub. The BRCK was designed and prototyped in Nairobi, Kenya. We wanted a connectivity device that fit our needs, where electricity and internet connections are problematic both in urban and rural areas. BRCK Education an arm of the company provides a holistic education technology solution that turns every classroom into a digital classroom. Our vision is to enable millions of children in schools across emerging markets to access digital educational tools for better learning.


Andela extends engineering teams with world-class software developers. We recruit the most talented developers on the African continent, shape them into technical leaders, and place them as full-time distributed team members with companies that range from Microsoft and IBM to dozens of high-growth startups. Backed by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV (Google Ventures) and Spark Capital, Andela is building the next generation of global technology leaders.


@iBizAfrica business incubator carries out the Entrepreneurship and Incubation theme of @iLabAfrica. @iBizAfrica seeks to provide a nurturing environment that builds on the potential of the youth to develop ICT solutions and businesses that work for the common good in society.


The event is also supported with various partners: Techweez, SPIRE, Fuse Catalysts , Eneza Education and MyBizMarketer

Meet the Awesome Startup Weekend Education Nairobi Jury

Robert Yawe

Deputy Chairman Education Board of Management for Kongoni Primary School

The board of management is a new entity setup by the Ministry of Education to improve the running of state owned schools. Its responsibilities include academic performance, staffing, infrastructure maintenance and improvement and finance.

Carol Kimari

CEO – Spark Accelerator, Kenya

The Spark* Accelerator is an experience that many of the entrepreneurs refer to as ‘life-changing’. Your brain will hurt. You will laugh. You may even cry! In five days you will move to a whole new level of effectiveness as an entrepreneur. Your startup will become super focused, you will be better equipped to change the lives of people living in poverty, your business model will be way stronger, you will be a better entrepreneur, you will be better at raising cash, making deals, getting impact and getting sh#t done!

Jamie Martin

Founding Member – Cape Town Edtech Cluster

Jamie, a former Special Adviser to the UK Secretary of State for Education has specialised on education for the Boston Consulting Group in London and the Middle East, and worked in venture capital focused on African education companies. He’s currently setting up an incubator aimed at spurring greater innovation in education and skills development in the Western Cape and also across South Africa and the wider continent

Nelly Aluanga

Head of Prep School – Rusinga Schools, Nairobi

Prep School offers the British National Curriculum and caters for pupils aged 6-11 years. The Prep School Section consists of Key Stage 1 for ages 5 – 7 Years and Key Stage 2 for ages 7 – 11 Years. Curriculum delivery is child- Centred, Skill- based and focuses on the holistic development of the individual child.

Wangari Kabiru

YEES! Program Champion

The Young Enterprise Education in Schools! (YEES!) Program aims to Create The Next Generation of Africa’s Entrepreneur Citizen Leaders Now “Futurepreneurs Now! by working with kids to build 1 Million young enterprises, in turn 1 Million young ideas and 1 Million young opportunities to learn.

You don’t want to miss out, get your ticket here or here. Drop us an email: should you have any queries!

Startup Weekend Education Nairobi – The One and Only in East Africa

A dire need to revolutionize education drives Startup Weekend Education Nairobi – the one and only in East Africa

Startup Weekend Education Nairobi 2016, Kenya, was a startup event unlike any other in the world today. As an organizer, I was overwhelmed by the tenacity, passion and empowerment I experienced. The event saw 15-year-olds, students from Africa’s largest urban slum, as well as public and private school graduates compete. It is the only Startup Weekend in East Africa, and the only other Startup event in the whole of Africa.

It’s providing a hand up, not a hand out.

Carlton Mungai, a 15-year-old, summed it up with his gung-ho, can-do attitude, “Just do it, and you will succeed”. His team, Busta Nerve, consisted of fellow schoolboys from Nova Academies who gave it their best shot and persevered through the 40 hours, competing against others up to 15 years older than them. Indeed, the team was the first up in front of the panel of judges with their idea of making learning more interactive and introducing much needed life skills for children who simply don’t have the same educational opportunities that we have. They presented with a confidence and eloquence that was quite remarkable given they had never done anything like this in their whole lives.

Another stand-out example was from Africa’s largest urban slum, one of the biggest in the world. Patrick from Tunapanda Institute in Kibera, drew on his experience, “What scares me most is chaos of setting up a business. It’s more of an art than a science, you can never be sure of anything really. You have to be really flexible as your ideas mutate.” Tunapanda was set up by two American brothers to give young people from marginalized communities a chance to express themselves. It exists to spread dignity, respect and freedom through learning for creative problem solving and builds skills in digital technology.


These groups astounded me. I had a privileged education in England, and a mother who was a primary school teacher, receiving opportunities that these young people will never have. Yet, I was blown away by this group of young people: their hope, intelligence, creativity, passion and tenacity to see it through. I don’t think I could have done any better.

Melissa Mathu, a confident, perky female spokesperson, and her team, perceptively raised the challenge of educating corporates and communities about protecting the environment as Africa becomes the next target for major development. While sustainable development has become a key political debate in most developed countries, it is not yet considered important in African countries who want the riches the West has already experienced. “We’ve learned to come up with something doable. You have to do a lot of work, market research and speak to a lot of people! I expected a challenge! I got it! All part of the fun and learning.”

The ultimate winner was ‘The Guardian’, a platform that is able to display progress for students in schools. Many parents don’t have enough time to monitor their kids’ performance. It plans to be an easy and convenient communication tool between students, teachers and parents. It won because it demonstrated a real need for the community, combined with a solid business model and a genuine impact on education.

Gender Equality, Not a Given

Another reason this event was remarkable was the number of girls and women involved. Gender equality is one of the world’s big Sustainable Development Goals. It might be a given in Europe and North America that just as many girls would attend Startup Weekends. However, in Kenya, girls still don’t get the chances that their male counterparts do to go to school or build meaningful careers. Most drop out of school at an early age to raise children or get married. With this in mind, the numbers were incredible:

  • Female judge (2 of 4)
  • Female facilitator
  • 3 out of 4 SWEDU organizers were female (75%)
  • 26 of 65 participants were women (40%)
  • Female coaches: 7 of 18 (39%)
  • Sponsor promoting female entrepreneurship: SHE by Spark, an accelerator program for women entrepreneurs, will choose 3 promising female team leaders and provide them with entrance to the accelerator, mentorship for 1 year, and a possibility to pitch for up to $25,000USD post-accelerator.

Why is Africa, and Nairobi In Particular, Such a Hub For Passionate and Vibrant Entrepreneurs?

Africa is the next growth hub of the world. It’s a continent that is developing hard and fast. According to the African Development Bank, Africa’s fast-emerging middle class is now comprised of over 300 million people. And, within East Africa, Nairobi is Africa’s next powerhouse – a business hub and headquarters for many international NGOs.

Startup Weekend Education Nairobi enables local businesses and communities to create inclusive and financially sustainable solutions to pressing education issues. A recent World Bank study found that only 35% of public school teachers in Kenya demonstrated basic knowledge of the curriculum they teach. Access to and quality of education are very low; 15 – 25% of school kids are still not enrolled in primary schools.

Kenya does not yet provide youth with sufficient transferable skills to succeed in the 21st century job market where innovation, teamwork, flexibility and communication are valued. Startup Weekend Education provides aspiring entrepreneurs with experiential learning opportunities and entrepreneurship skills that enable them to create businesses, as well as enhance their employability. Social entrepreneurship is an effective and sustainable alternative to the highly criticised concept of aid.

Why does Kenya display such a thirst for social entrepreneurship? According to Allice Hocking, one of the authors of Social Enterprise in a Global Context: the role of Higher Education Institutions, all higher education institutes in the Kenyan report are working with social enterprises in some way. It’s seen as essential curriculum for everyone.


The last words: people and technology

Wes Chege, co-­founder and growth­ hacker at OkHi, is extremely affable and driven. OkHi is building the next generation address system that will enable inclusion and access to services for the four billion people without a physical address globally. He’s passionate about two things that he believes will transform Africa; people and technology. “I want to be at the intersection of those two things by driving innovative technology that improves lives and helping develop people skills”.

His personal guiding mantra is “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up”. That’s what 65 entrepreneurs, 18 coaches, 8 volunteers, 4 organizers, 3 investors and 4 judges did during a moving and unforgettable Startup Weekend Education Nairobi 2016.


#edtech254 #startups #entrepreneurs #growthhackers #Nairobi


How to Get your Startup Weekend Nbi 2014 Ticket

Startup Weekend Nairobi
December 5th, 2014

Startup Weekend Nairobi Tickets can be found here on Ticket Sasa.

In case you are having problems: Book your space here on eventbrite and email us your details at: and make payments at Nairobi Garage on 5th December. registration starts at 3pm!

Feel free to shoot us an email at: in case of any questions.

See you there!!!

Startup Weekend Nairobi Prizes

Amazing Prizes for Amazing entrepreneurs / Startups:
1st Position

  • Qualify for Google Developers Startup Launch Program
  • 3 months Office space at Nairobi Garage
  • 3 months with a Google UX Architecture support
  • Access to a Startup lawyer (10 “free” hours)
  • $100 Hosting credits on AWS
  • $500 credits on Google Cloud
  • Free .co website domain & hosting (12-months)
  • Incubation at Nailab (t&c)

2nd Position

  • Qualify for Google Developers Startup Launch Program
  • 2 months Office space at Nairobi Garage
  • 2 months with a Google UX Architecture support
  • Access to a Startup lawyer (5 “free” hours)
  • $100 Hosting credits on Amazon Web Services
  • $500 credits on Google Cloud
  • Free .co website domain & hosting (12-months)
  • Incubation at Nailab (t&c)

3rd Position

  • Qualify for Google Developers Startup Launch Program
  • 2 months Office space at Nairobi Garage
  • 1 months with a Google UX Architecture support
  • Access to a Startup lawyer (5 “free” hours)
  • $100 Hosting credits on Amazon Web Services
  • $500 credits on Google Cloud
  • Free .co website domain & hosting (12-months)
  • Incubation at Nailab (t&c)

Other teams/participants

  • Free .co website domain & hosting (12-months)
  • $100 credits on Amazon Web Services

Get your ticket NOW!! on Ticket Sasa: