Entrepreneurs from Kenya and Nigeria Selected as Regional Winners by Hardware-led Social Innovation Accelerator

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has announced the regional winners of the 2020 ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW), the premier international accelerator of hardware-led social innovation. Eight socially minded teams of inventors from Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt presented their design prototypes in a virtual event held May 19-21. Three inventors emerged as regional winners who will share $30,000 in seed grants and receive technical support to help bring their design innovations to market. They were announced yesterday evening in a virtual awards ceremony via web conference.

The 2020 ASME ISHOW Kenya winners are:

  • Ecobora Company (Nairobi, Kenya) for its “Solar Cooking Boiler” – The company is  equipping rural marginalized schools with its patented solar-powered cook stove that permits around the clock cooking by tapping the sun’s energy and storing it in a repurposed oil tank with waste motor oil as an effective carbon sink tank, eliminating the need for firewood. The stove is affordable and provides heat energy even during rainy seasons. The money saved equips science and computer laboratories to offer quality education to students.
  • Inteco Kenya Ltd. (Nairobi, Kenya) for its “Ari” sanitary pad dispenser system – Inteco works in the menstrual hygiene ecosystem and focuses on the distribution and supply chain management of donated sanitary pads to adolescent girls in schools. The company secures the value chain by ensuring that sanitary pads are being used by the intended user, and create cheaper systems for accountability and monitoring by installing sanitary pads dispensers in schools, where students can get pads using near field communication (NFC) cards.
  • MicroFuse Technologies (Lagos, Nigeria) for its “Cipher” technology — a tool that enables its user to diagnose and detect cerebral malarial retinopathy with a smartphone while also capturing other individual patient data. This tool would be of immense help in urban settings and remote areas where it can be a split-second decision to treat a child for malaria or consider other causes of illness that could be life-threatening as well.

“We are proud to offer a forum for engineering problem-solving that truly improves lives,” said ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile. “We are continually impressed by the creative talent of ASME ISHOW participants and their passion for helping underserved communities around the world.”

In addition to the three grand prize winners, the product with the most votes in social media for each regional event is named the “Fan Favorite,’’ and receives $1,000 (USD). The fan favorite prize is made possible and in memory of Byron G. Schieber Jr. M.S., PE, Professor Emeritus QCCNY, and Ruth L. Schieber. The 2020 ISHOW Kenya “Fan Favorite” winner is:

  • Dunamis-Cognitio (Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria) for its “Ina Lite” — a sustainable, affordable, portable, light weight, thermoelectric generator that harnesses heat energy to generate electricity accessible from a USB power port.

Another finalist team was recognized with a special “Research and Development Award” for its diligence in improving on a previous innovation and developing the next generation of hardware:

  • BURN Manufacturing Co. (Ruiru, Kenya) for its “Kuniokoa TURBO Stove” — a forced draft biomass stove that is compatible with Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYG”) solar systems and is even more efficient and cleaner-burning than the company’s innovative Kuniokoa stove. The TURBO decreases time to boil by ~60% , decreases the tending interval by 30%, and can burn wood fuel with up to 27% moisture content (wet basis) as clean as liquified petroleum gas. Once launched, it will be the only production household cookstove in the world that achieves ISO/IWA “Tier 4” performance with agricultural waste briquettes.

An esteemed panel of judges privately interviewed each of the eight ISHOW Kenya finalists as part of an extensive design and engineering review and then chose three hardware innovations as grand prize winners. ASME’s panel of judges includes successful entrepreneurs, academics, engineers, designers, investors, and industry representatives from leading organizations in India, Kenya, and the United States including Villgro, Gearbox, Philips, Philips Foundation, University of Nairobi, Strathmore University, Villgro Kenya, and many others.

ASME is grateful to The Lemelson Foundation for its continued support of the ISHOW as the Impact Inventing sponsor, and to ISHOW implementation partners around the globe.

All of the ISHOW Kenya finalists’ product pitches can be viewed on the ASME ISHOW website. A third virtual ISHOW will be held for finalists from the Americas (ISHOW USA)
June 23-26, 2020; ISHOW India took place in April.