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Press Release

Kenyan Robert Mburu scoops GE Mentorship Experience

September 09, 2010

GE congratulates Maker Faire Africa inventors for creativity

Global leader in innovation and main sponsor of the 2010 Maker Faire Africa symposium, General Electric (GE) commended this year's inventors and innovators from all corners of Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and Ghana, for their innovative contributions.

Over 300 spectators attended this year's event on August 27 & 28 at the University of Nairobi where the ideas from budding African inventors were showcased.  Innovative projects ranged from water saving devices for agriculture to alternative energy sources, from design with recycled objects to social media applications for mobile phones.
The biggest prize, a "once in a lifetime GE Mentorship experience" with chief scientist, Asokan Thangavelu, at GE's John F Welch Technology Centre in Bangalore, India, was scooped by Robert Mburu from Kenya. By linking a camera, a television set, a mobile phone and an alarm system, Robert showed the impact and benefit that the interconnectivity of digital, electronic and mobile applications can make in terms of energy and cost efficiency.

Globally recognised, GE's chief scientist, Asokan Thangavelu will guide  Robert through some of GE's expertise in transforming innovations into  viable product offerings that are energy efficient and address customer's needs.

Speaking at the prize giving ceremony, Deo Onyango, GE Commercial Director for East Africa congratulated Robert and all participants for their exceptional work.

"It all starts with a seemingly farfetched idea that is nurtured and passionately harnessed into some of the impactful inventions that we see here today. GE is a company that was born out of innovation and we are committed to supporting and mentoring Africa's future innovators from a grassroots level," he said.
A visibly excited Robert shared how he never thought that an idea, born out of the frustration of losing his television set to crime, would one day get global recognition from a respected brand like GE.

"When my television got stolen, I was inspired to work towards finding home grown solutions to Africa's problems. My submission is a security system composed of homemade gadgets that has an independent power backup and can work on solar energy" he said.

Onyango said: '"In line with GE's ecomagination initiative, products that strive to be energy efficient and profitable are key to supporting the growth of the African manufacturing sector."

"On a day-to-day basis, GE strives to find solutions that contribute to addressing Africa's challenges. GE cannot achieve this alone and we encourage Africa's inventors to go back to their home countries and share the experience gained over the past two days with their counterparts".

On behalf of the Maker Faire Africa 2010 organiser, Erik Hersman thanked GE and all the other sponsors for their invaluable support in making the event a success.

Thuli Phiri
GE Global Growth Organization
[email protected]

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