“Something New Something Old” exciting theme for the 17th Garage at RAN


As is the custom on every last Friday of the month, RAN lab hosted the 17th innovation garage on the 24th of February 2017. The garage organised through a partnership between The ResilientAfrica Network and the Innovation Consortium to be a platform where innovators can pitch their ideas before a multidisciplinary audience including industry experts and engage in discussions for refinement is guided by the theme “Catalyzing Engineering Solutions

Our dream is to see locally developed technologies launched on the global Market.

The event attracted 74 participants with welcome remarks and overview about RAN by Ms. Rebecca koburungi the communications assistant at ResilientAfrica Network. The Vice president of the Garage and innovator at RAN, Ms. Grace Nakibaala also encouraged participants to always invite friends and colleagues. With the sub-theme “something new something old” we had two pitches from Edmond Atto on Arvana (a mobile app centred on creating a digital platform that enables individuals and businesses without physical addresses to seamlessly generate digital addresses) and Wilson Gad pitching on plastics recycling particularly to make construction materials.

Edmond the team leader of Arvana explained how the team came up with their idea, the subsequent needs-finding to realize a gap in the market plus their study of the difficulties in the local addressing system and the subsequent consequences resulting from the same including slow response by emergency services and introduced his company’s core idea, a mobile application that gives anyone anywhere the ability to generate a physical address using a smartphone with the goal of creating addresses that are easily searchable, sharable and usable in multiple cases. He went ahead to outline the benefits to be realized when their product hits the market including profound economic implications, especially where the delivery of goods and services is involved. Courier services like DHL and FedEx as well as the fast-growing number of online businesses will be better placed to deliver more value to clients”-he noted

Arvana intends to transcend city planning issues and provide a physical address for everyone registered on the platform with social and economic implications. On the social front, individuals can expect improved delivery of quality service manifested in form of home deliveries of packages and mail, turn-by-turn navigation as well as ease of access to health care facilities like ambulances.

He concluded by listing some of the challenges so far faced.

In the second pitch, Wilson who recycles disposed-off plastics explained to the guests the dangers of plastics and the misconceptions many people have about them stating that as they un non-biodegradable, we have a better chance of protecting the environment if we come up with ingenious ways of recycling them to produce other products that we can put to use.

From thrown away plastics he has managed to make a range of roofing and floor tiles and keeps researching and experimenting to discover more ways he can transform this “waste” into more useful materials to be re-used by every-day homesteads. Mesmerizing the audience with some of his samples, he explained how garbage can be turned into income-generating products with a business model that can generate money for both the disposers and himself the product manufacturer to save the environment.

In response, discussions around improvement were focused majorly on partnerships for Arvana with participants pointing out that the app would be a proper match for mobile service providers in transportation like Uber, Green and Quick Taxis, Courier companies like DHL and mobile deliveries like Jumia food.

For plastic recycling, feedback was product and business model centred pointing out that some products (roof tiles) should be made lighter but also that partnerships with already existing recyclers and current waste-collectors would be key for better supply chain management.

An invited guest, Mr. Pascal Ojjijo the CEO and Founder of GoBigHub.com shared with the participants about his enterprise, their belief that micro enterprises that want to grow big deserve an easy way to access capital, so they can produce more, stock more, sell more, and go big, and in so doing can generate more wealth for their owners and more jobs for the economy. Gobig Hub, an app and web-platform (gobighub.com) aims to connect local micro entrepreneurs to local micro investors with the goal of reaching 1,000 towns across Africa in 10 years to enable at least 50,000 individuals per town invest as little as USD. 50, per month, in a local micro business. This will translate into an injection of USD. 2.5 million per month, in a local city, or USD. 30 million per year, across the continent, contributing to 1% of Africa’s GDP.

He concluded by saying that he would like to partner with RAN in working with and connecting RAN Innovators to different local investors.

The event was wrapped-up by Natasha Kassami the Engagement officer thanking the guests for coming in large numbers and ushering them into the evening tea session