THEME: “Ideating Together for Entrepreneurial Development”

Karatina University hosted Dedan Kimathi University of Technology and Meru University of Science and Technology for its KarU Start-Up Expo which was held between 17th and 19th December, 2021. This is one of the Developing Entrepreneurial Universities in Kenya project (DEpUK) event. The DEpUK initiative is a joint project between Karatina University, Chuka University, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology and Saarland University, Germany. Saarland University takes the lead role of mentorship to the other three Kenyan partner universities and molding them into being entrepreneurial universities. For KarU Start-up Expo, Saarland University was represented by Nathalie Rau who is a Start-up expert. She took the mentorship and coaching role in this event, including guiding the participants on how to use the Lean Model Canvas in developing a start-up.

Karatina University Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof.P.Aloo Obudho in charge of Academics giving her closing remarks

The KarU Start-up expo was the third under the DEpUK project, with the first two having been held at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in September, 2019 and October, 2021. The theme of the KarU Start-up Expo was Ideating Together for Entrepreneurial Development.

Karatina University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academics, Research & Student Affairs,Prof. P. Aloo-Obudho, in her opening remarks and on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, highlighted the reasons and benefits of a start-up event to participants, like learning the basics of starting a company and gaining business skills and knowledge that extend beyond startups. She urged the participants to develop innovative ideas that one day will make them entrepreneurs.

Nathalie Rau, Start- Up Expert from Saarland University, Germany, making her insightful remarks to the participants on what to do to make a start-up successful

The Start-Up Expo was a chance for students, to come together, pitch their business ideas and with the help of coaches and mentors, develop prototypes of their products or services from ideation stage through to product/service delivery in the market. Business coaches were drawn from the universities’ entrepreneurship champions, who have undergone trainings at Saarland University, and also coaches from the industry. During this Expo participants were able to form multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams. Groups worked on their business ideas through to 19th December, 2021 when a team of judges comprising of practicing entrepreneurs evaluated the performance of the teams and gave them insights on what to improve upon in order to actualize their start-up companies.

In conclusion, the purpose of the KarU Start-up expo was achieved at the end of the intense three-day event. Participants were able to:

  1. Learn about being a start-up founder;
  2. Learn how to make a business pitch in front of potential partners
  3. Develop both business and social networks;
  4. Learn about a business model e.g lean model canvas.
Ongoing mentorship and coaching session by Nathalie Rau, to one of the teams.

This was evidenced by the ability of the participants pitching their business ideas, getting mentorship from the business coaches, developing their prototypes and presenting into a panel of judges. Biashara Company start-up founders were declared winners out of the twenty two (22) start –up company founders who pitched. In her closing remarks, Prof. P. Aloo-Obudho urged the participants to constantly improve knowledge on the fundamentals of developing business ideas from ideation through to prototyping and finally to product/service delivery in the market. This would in turn help reduce unemployment rates and better the quality of livelihood.

Med Vision Start-Up founders pitching their innovative idea to the panel of judges.
Karatina University Deputy Vice Chancellor awarding the multi-institutional winning team, Biashara Company.