Kenyan innovation bags top African hardware competition award

Three Kenyan-based innovations scooped this year’s Africa regional ASME Innovation Showcase(IShow) awards held yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya.

Bentos Fuels, emerged overall winners after impressing the judges with their innovative recycling process using harvested water hyacinth-an invasive plant species, and mixing it with paper sludge and charred waste biomass to produce smokeless charcoal briquettes.

Second position went to Smart Brooder innovation, an environmental controller that assists farmers by ensuring the conditions within the chicken brooding space are kept within optimal levels.

Simgas’s biogas milk chiller that enables off-grid dairy farmers to store, deliver, and sell the highest possible quantity of milk took third position.

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The three Grand-Prize winners will congregate in New York City later this year with other winners from other regions such as South Asia and USA during the Global Ishow event to share more than $US 500,00 in awards, in-kind services and technical support.

Bradley Mbagaya, Bentos Fuels technical manager said the innovation will help Kenya embrace sustainable development.

With green energy options finding ready acceptance in Kenya, the energy company now plans for major scalability to fill the gap.

“As a company, we are very delighted to have won this award. It clearly shows that our commitment to green and affordable energy has been rewarded” said Mbagaya during the award ceremony.

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ISHOW Africa awards recognises social-minded inventors from Africa developing “hardware with a social purpose”.

Bentos’s efficient, affordable and environmental friendly charcoal briquettes that can be burnt for industrial and domestic use will create jobs for the youth around the lake region where hyacinth is a major challenge.

Iana Aranda, president Engineering for Change and a member of the judging panel said such platform connect innovators to experts and connect them to learn from other hardware entrepreneurs.

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“We are looking into social hardware entrepreneurs with solutions that address the sustainable development goals, customer user knowledge and the hardware component of the innovation,” said Aranda.

Often, African entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas and scalable startups lack seed capital.

“There is always a challenge around the cycles of prototype funding and when the entrepreneur is ready to hit the market shelves with their product. And this is why a part from the awards, the innovators will also share technical support to help bring their designs to market” she added.

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