The iHub was honoured to host the President of the Slovak Republic, His Excellency Andrej Kiska, during his three-day state visit to Kenya. The President was accompanied by the Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru, the Ambassador of Slovak Republic to Kenya František Dlhopolček amongst other guests. He was received by Josiah Mugambi, iHub’s Chief Operating Officer, and Njoki Gichinga, iHub’s Director of Partnerships and Sales.
President Kiska, a seasoned entrepreneur and philanthropist, is keen in promoting entrepreneurship, thus his visit to the iHub. The President shared his entrepreneurship journey which began in the United States, with his humble beginnings as a student and cleaner. After a year and a half, he opted to return to his home country and eventually became a successful businessman. However, this did not happen overnight. He emphasised perseverance, and failure and change as necessary ingredients for success.
At the age of 40, he sold his businesses and, using some of his own funds, founded one of the largest charities in Slovakia, helping children with cancer. After running one of the most successful charity organizations in Slovakia for eight years, he decided to take another challenge: running for the highest seat in politics as an independent candidate. With inspiration from Gandhi, he successfully made the transition from entrepreneurship and philanthropy to politics, eventually winning the Slovak presidential election despite having a 3% chance of winning at one point. During his speech, and drawing from his experience, he reiterated this several times: “In business, be ready to fail, but do NOT give up. Be ready for change: change your way of thinking and style of life.”
The ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru gave a brief speech highlighting the Government of Kenya’s work in skills development, online job creation, digital literacy and creating online jobs. Andela’s Chief Strategy Officer, Wambui Kinya, described their work in building up world class software developers from Africa as the next generation of global technology leaders. Akirachix builds up girls from under privileged backgrounds with a mission to grow the number of women working in technology. Linda Kamau’s presentation as the co-founder focused on their training approach that combines skills development with business and life skills over a period of one year. David Ogiga, co-founder of Sote Hub, described their work in ICT training and supporting entrepreneurs in Taita Taveta. The Slovak Government has supported Sote Hub as part of their interest in entrepreneurship development work on the continent, particularly in rural areas.
After the presentations at the iHub, President Kiska was escorted on a tour around Gearbox, a design and rapid prototyping facility by Dr. Kamau Gachigi, the Executive Director.
Check out the talk on business and entrepreneurship thatPresident Kiska gave.
Slovak Republic in Kenya
The Slovak Republic has supported many development initiatives in Kenya in healthcare sector - improving health status in Kenya particularly among children and mothers. Other development initiatives in Kenya are in education, agriculture and good governance. More information can be found here.
The iHub, founded in 2010, is a globally recognized organization that is deeply steeped in the local tech innovation culture. iHub has been both the critical catalyst for regional technology acceleration and a role model for tech hubs across emerging markets.
Due to the complexity of the entrepreneurial scene in Africa, the iHub will address the gaps and aim to become the best African support system for ICT-focused tech entrepreneurs and individuals. We will do this in multiple steps and phases, starting with a move to a new building in March of 2017, and launching three product lines: Entrepreneurship Journey, Innovation Journey and Investment Instruments. Our product lines are all designed to create more investable individuals and entrepreneurs in Kenya. More information about iHub 2.0 can be found here. We are also happy to announce our new and revamped membership structure, click here for more information.