MSE Innovations and Technology Exhibition

Practical Action Eastern Africa shines at National Micro and Small Enterprise (MSE) Innovations and Technology Exhibition

Practical Action Eastern Africa was a key sponsor in this year’s National Micro and Small Enterprise (MSE) Innovations and Technology Exhibition organized by the Ministry of Labour at the Jomo Kenyatta Grounds in Kisumu, western Kenya. The organisation sponsored four energy entrepreneurs from Nairobi and Kisumu to showcase the environmentally friendly, safe and affordable briquette technology as a viable energy source for the poor. Over 215 exhibitors from across the country and 17 institutions attended the week-long exhibition. This was a follow up to the successful Technology and Innovations Expo held in Nakuru in May last year.

The exhibition brought together micro and small enterprises innovators, technology development institutions, the private sector, relevant Government departments and agencies with a view of marketing and disseminating existing innovations and technologies to potential users and the larger public. It aimed to showcase the sector’s potential as one of the drivers of Kenya’s economic blueprint, the Vision 2030.

The exhibition was all-inclusive. It comprised of keynote speeches, symposium for the exhibitors, round table discussions and the main event, the exhibition of innovations from thematic areas identified in the Kenya Vision 2030 and Technology and Innovation Policy strategy documents. These documents cover agriculture, information technology, renewable energy, water and sanitation, education, trade, industry and infrastructure. Case studies on innovations and technology from selected countries were also presented.

Innovations in the energy sector, the majority at the exhibition, were the crowd pullers. Practical Action’s sponsored tent showcasing the briquetting technology and the pilot bioethanol stoves use in western Kenya attended to more than a thousand visitors from all walks of life: from university professors interested in doing research on the technology using the water hyacinth to businessmen, from the hoteliers to the general public, the technology impressed many. Many expressed their interest in collaborating with the organization to do further research as well as to benefit from trainings and use of the safe, environment friendly and cleaner source of energy.

The exhibition pegged on the pillar youth employment, human capital development and inclusive growth in Kenya through harnessing science, technology and innovations that is turning to be an alternative avenue for employment with more jobs created under the sector. According to the Ministry of Labour, the MSE sector has employed over 9.2 million people, up from 8.7 million in 2010 translating to annual job creation of about 500,000 accounting for over 80 per cent of the total labour force.  As a result, the Government of Kenya is currently not only financing development of idea and linking the innovators with financial institutions that are interested in funding new ideas but is also helping them develop further their skill at the known research centres to improve on the innovations.

‘The exhibition was a great opportunity for me. We demonstrated how briquettes are made from different types of biomass waste, explaining the technology step-by-step. The demonstrations to prove how the technology works led to unanticipated high sales of our product,’ said Susan Njuguna a briquette entrepreneur from Nairobi.

June 2012

Above: Mr. Olum, a briquette entrepreneur from Nyalenda, Kisumu, demostrates how to make the briquettes using the manual press during the exhibition

Below: Mr. Olum explains to Kisumu Polytechnic Students how the technology works

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