Kenyan Youth Shine in Renewable Energy Challenge

Jacob’s Ladder Africa [JLA] and the University of Nairobi recently announced the winners of their Renewable Energy Innovation Challenge. This competition was designed as a way for young Kenyans to create renewable energy solutions tackling the problems caused by climate change and uneven energy distribution in their country.

The challenge was part of JLA’s greenLabs Incubation Program, inviting young individuals aged 20-25 to brainstorm and propose ideas that could mitigate climate change effects and improve energy access, over a month. The culmination of the challenge was the Demo Day, where 24 finalists showcased their innovative solutions to a panel of judges and an audience.

Bilha Ndirangu, co-founder of Jacob’s Ladder Africa, with 2nd runners-up Sosyline Kasoso Wamoto and Marybrenda.

The panel included notable figures such as Phyllis Migwi from Microsoft East Africa and Chebet Lesan of Bright Green Energy. The day ended with the selection of the top three projects:

SunTrack, a tool for monitoring energy use, aiding in the smart procurement of solar systems for both individuals and businesses.

Umeme Sense, a technology that enhances energy efficiency in industries and commercial buildings with its smart metering, allowing for real-time energy management.

Mobilab, an initiative introducing solar-powered buses to deliver STEM education across Kenya, promoting renewable energy and bridging educational gaps.

Another noteworthy project was HyPro Station, aiming to produce green hydrogen and target the carbon offset market, which benefits a wide range of community sectors.

All finalists, including the winners, will join the greenLabs Incubation Program for nine months, receiving mentorship and training to further develop their ideas.

Karen Chelang’at from JLA emphasized the event’s role in highlighting the innovative spirit of Kenyan youth and their capacity to address significant socio-economic issues through green solutions. The challenge not only showcased their creativity but also underlined the importance of supporting green startups for long-term job creation.

The University of Nairobi, through Professor Mary Kinoti, expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration, emphasizing the university’s commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship to solve various challenges in Kenya.

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