Report from the field and the lab: Challenges and opportunities developing AKE ventures (Part II)

Things are wrapping up at the GESCI hub in Nairobi with the start-ups preparing for the last pitching event on the 28th and the Policy Forum on the 29th which will officially close the GESCI-AKE program.

The first pitching was used as a baseline survey of how well the Start-ups were prepared for fundraising. The judges of the pitching session where: Lydia Ndiho (Camscorp), Mitoko Dennis (14West film Production Company), Geoffrey Otieno (ADMI training institute), Duncan Onyango (AKE consulting Games tutor) , Tom Manda (AKE consulting Animation tutor), Victor Omondi (AKE’s Manger) and Jerome Morrisey (GESCI director)

Based on the emerging gaps identified on that event, the start-ups have been doing work around 3 themes:

  • Developing a viable business plan: Start-ups needed a more solid understanding of their market and emerging user needs.
  • Selling ideas in a clear way: Everybody was told to work and develop more effective presentation skills and to polish the resources they where using (e.g power points).
  • Pitching effectively: The Start ups elevator pitches were not yet up to standards and needed more work.

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While working on that we will share here some of the probes sent by the start ups this week. Thanks to all!

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Kiwo Films working at the GESCI-AKE hub

For Kevin and Ian from Kiwo Films the most challenging thing they are facing right now is “lack of equipment to get work done”  But they are confident they are “a team of reliable and dedicated individuals with a common interest“, which is a good and promising direction for the future.

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 Screenshots of some of IocincCode current prototypes, and an image of the team debugging together in front of the screen.

Mista from IonicCode reports that they have been conducting a bit of  research for their projects  “with the help of  our tutor Duncan who bought some cool kids text books where we got inspiration for various concepts. At the moment we are working on tap math game, a painting game, a pattern game and picture maker all in both languages Kiswahili and English. Right now we have to take them for testing to primary schools. As soon as the schools reopen we will be able to get enough feedback from teachers and from the school kids on how to improve them further”. The games are still in development phase and the team is constantly improving on them.

The IonicCode team feels that their biggest challenges are now. 1) getting good illustrations artists to add the African feel to their educational games. 2) recording the sounds needed for the games, as finding the right people to do that had been time consuming. 3) Of course the issue of bugs in some of the games. Coding is always tricky, but they are confident: “we were able to achieve the logic of the game, they  can be played in our devices!”

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VerbHouse’s value proposition, team and details from their current portfolio


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Snapshots of Makossiri’s web presence







In the News: 13 March

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  • Research:
    Youths perceive lack of capital, lack of skill, lack of support, lack of market opportunities and risk as the main obstacles to entrepreneurial intention in South Africa
    Fatoki, O., & Chindoga, L. (2011). An investigation into the obstacles to youth entrepreneurship in South Africa. International Business Research, 4(2), 161.


Report from the field and the lab: Challenges and opportunities developing AKE ventures

The last phase of AKE program is in full swing and participants are busy building their own ventures (start-ups), fine tuning their offerings and value propositions.

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AKE Pitching session in 8.3.2017

Yesterday they pitch their ideas to an invited panel that gave them feedback. All these activities are helping AKE developed the curriculum and objectives for this last phase.

Today we want to share some of the props we have been receiving from AKE start ups:

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Images of Boisch jewels and cards prototypes.

Nancy and Olipha comment: “it is challenging making them, however the biggest challenge so far for us is building our customer base” (Boisch team).

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Images of Artari team member visiting children to gather feedback for their prototypes and screenshots of Artari’s current projects.

Maurice comments: “we (Artari Kreations) discovered the necessity for digitizing our curriculum and i decided to engage kindergarten kids to collect suggestions on what they could require to interact with and learn from, when it comes to digital learning.” (Artari Kreations Team)

Kahama comments: [Referring to the comments they leave to each other in the code]: “commenting is good when done well, it makes work easy for every body in the team”  (Artari Kreations Team)

Also GESCI’s team in charge of AKE has been reflecting on the opportunities and challenges of the program itself. Victos. AKE’s manager also shares some insights:


Working together with the start ups in the AKE lab

Victor when talking about the most challenging thing so far: “I still manage to have fun with all the work… but would have done with an assistant” and when prompted to point out at the most inspiring “when the start up groups are working on projects in a team”.

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AKE participants from IonicCode working on their start-up projects

Thanks !!

Tools for Animators: Pixar in a Box

Two weeks ago we shared some free tools, developed by NPR, to solve sound design challenges.


Here’s another free tool, by Pixar. Much of the content may be basic to some, but those learning more about animation right now might enjoy this tool! (And who doesn’t want to get inspired in storytelling…):

There are few organizations in the world that can claim more expertise when it comes to storytelling than Pixar. The Disney-owned animation studio is known for its ability to consistently create world-class movies with gripping narrative alongside stunning visuals. – TechCrunch

Topics include:


What we have learned lately, in images

It has been fascinating to get all these images ! Thank you for allowing us to share some of the insights, passions and learning opportunities you have had. As usual is very enlightening to notice the variety of interests, skills and motivations that we have when learning.

Here the complete collection of the image probes we got back. They all talk about the energy that circulates when learning, in all aspects of our lives. Enjoy

Mercy: The photo attached below  shows how important it is to take care of young animals and young children. At birth,the calf shivered,it was cold. I had to take a blanket and cover the calf, give it a hold and affection, eventually it slept off. The child’s mother left the baby crying, I gave a hold to the child and a motherly affection, the baby stopped crying and slept off. As human we assume that animals don’t need as much care but they do. Their mothers can’t give a hold or as much affection but we can. I felt the affection and connection, give it a trial and you will feel the same and view it my way.


Taking Care


Albert: This week I have thought about knowing what you want and going for it.



Olipha: The photo was taken during learning time with my fellow students. I was drawing a character animation that is, so i paused to take a photo.


Taking a pause

Edna: This is a photo of me learning how to use the wacom for last week’s project which was to make a storyboard for an advert.


Making a storyboard

SparkMyke: Having a good time in the new studio


Good times!

Maurice: Here are several attachments based on the things I’ve learned and what i am in the process of doing. The first  several images of a person hitting a table right from the first pose to the pose where he hits the table hard. The image is just a sketch of how the real product shall be. The second  is a complete drawing of a character alias dee dee which i use for my training purposes.



Soire: In the past few weeks, I have learnt to use my immediate environment as a source of inspiration to create backgrounds for 2D animations. Below is an example of reference image from our classroom window and it’s unfinished 2D render that I am working on.


Reference & representation

Immaqlate: I added the score board and scores appear after each and every pin you hit to my bowling game in the woods.


Bowling in the woods

Andika: Working with logic as a professional D A W…Never used a mac computer before to make music and now the whole experience is becoming professional to me.


Professional experience

Makossiri: In the past few weeks we’ve been learning a lot about our cultures and identity and this inspired me to visit the Kenya National Theatre in search of musical instruments from my ethnic tribe(luo). This is me playing the Nyatiti, an 8 stringed lyre from the luo community originally played by men.


Playing the Nyatiti

Mista: This week I was working on a football penalty game as shown on the photo….I was able to get a character with animations controls plus I added some script to it for the target score.


Animating a football player

Francis: I have been learning how to use Wacom for better drawings in Animation.


Drawing better animations

Nancy: I learnt how to put characters in a box. My character is one with attitude but still graceful and cultured. Using lines to express one self.


Creating characters with attitude

Kahama: Team work!


Team work

Stephen: I was able to come with the game functionality such as hitting the golf ball. That has been achieved through some of the skills I earned over the last week.


Game functionality

Ruth: I have been working on a common game I used to play while young, called Rounders’. I placed my scene at our famous Uhuru Park that’s right at the center of the city. I used to the cubes as safe areas in the game and my character needs to step on them to be safe from getting hit by the ball. Though challenging when it comes to scripting, its coming up well and soon will be done. It awakens great memories and am happy that it’s coming to life.


The joy of digital RoundersK

 Kevin: no caption


Willis: The activity I’ve been up to this week, including yesterday, was doing some aerial shots with my new Dji Drone at Kiambu Tea Farms and the Great Rift Valley.


Drone images

Andrea: I discovered that it is not so good idea to put to much glue in the circuits of an electronic embroidery… makes it difficult to repair 🙂


Glue things carefully, stitch profusely!


Minna's photo

Minna’s learning from everyone’s photos (& check out the article recommended by Victor about creative industries, under the Resources tab!)

What did we learned last week – in an image?

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Kearton & Kearton Taking a Picture of a Bird’s Nest. (Photograph in the public domain)

Minna and I (Andrea) are very curious to learn about the things that interest you at the moment. What new insights you have gained during your time in AKE? What do you want to do with those skills? To get a peak into what is happening in Nairobi we are asking you to send us a probe of how is life over there, in the form of a picture. Minna and I will also take our own pictures so you can peak at Helsinki and New York as well.


Take a picture of anything that represents an interesting insight, an inspiring observation or something you feel you learned during the last week.

We are not searching for pretty pictures nor we want to evaluate what kind of photographers we are. We will just be happy to have a glimpse of the kinds of things that are important right now. We also believe that learning takes place not only in the classroom, so feel free to point out also unexpected observations from your everyday life.

Take a picture (or draw something and take a picture of it) and share it with us!  Write a few sentences of 1) how that picture represents what you learned and 2) what people played a role in you learning that new thing.

end your snapshot my way (via email) before next Wednesday 18th of May.


We will share all the pictures (including our own) in the blog by next Friday when we collect them all. Stay tuned!

Looking forward