The first Edition of the Disrupt Friday meetup was held in Machakos on 29th May 2015. This was the first in a series of meetups that will be held monthly. The meetups are envisaged to stir up creation of a start-up ecosystem in Machakos and its environs. This first edition was held at Gelian Hotel – a new establishment in Machakos town. Organized by The Disrupt Network, the meetup aimed at bringing together innovators, entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and start-up supporters in Machakos; to learn together, network and share opportunities.
The format of the 4pm-7pm meetup included networking and sharing of innovative ideas for potential execution. One session included participant’s reviews of aid and development agency effectiveness. Participants’ views were juxtaposed against prospects of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among Machakos residents. The session was primarily informed by insights shared by journalist Andrew Mwenda through his TED talk titled Aid for Africa, NO thanks of 2007. Diverse opinions were shared on relevance of development aid as regards alleviating poverty. The general sentiment was in favor of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth as a viable path for sustainable development.
As previously announced, the main feature of the May meetup was a talk by Martin Kasomo, CEO and founder of Lipisha on his entrepreneurial journey to date. Kasomo, an emerging entrepreneurial success story who is also pursuing a PhD in Social Entrepreneurship fielded questions from Eric Kitetu, Co-convener of the Disrupt Network. Topics covered in the interview included Kasomo’s approach to entrepreneurial challenges such as (a) product development and customer discovery, (b) market sizing and targeting (c) co-founder search and talent management (d) business partnerships and collaborations, and (e) start-up fund raising and investor relations.
The session with Martin Kasomo created a rich conversation and inspirational moments as regards entrepreneurship, its challenges and its prospects for amplified economic impact. Participants competed for opportunities provided to direct specific questions to Kasomo. In due course, we shall publish video clips and reflections on specific aspects of the interview. The session was considered very insightful by participants.
There were over 30 participants in attendance at the inaugural Disrupt Friday meetup in Machakos with the majority having traveled from Nairobi. Prica Wambua, a co-convener of the Disrupt Network also led the participants through reflections on how to improve future monthly meetups. This elicited rich and valuable insights on how to create a vibrant startup ecosystem in Machakos.
The objective of the meetup to foster networking and social capital creation among participants was largely achieved as many left the Gelian hotel after 8.30pm – well after the planned 7pm closing time. The next edition of the Machakos monthly meetup will be on Friday June 26th 4pm-7pm. Further details will be shared on this website and will also be announced through the Disrupt Network’s twitter and facebook channels. People interested in following up on future meetups and start-up activities in Machakos are encouraged to sign up to our mailing list on the home page.