Championing Women in a Male Dominated ICT Sector

Catherine pitching at the GIST East Africa Startup Boot Camp in Tanzania.

Catherine pitching at the GIST East Africa Startup Boot Camp in Tanzania.

Catherine Kiguru, 28, is a skilled software engineer from Kenya who has expertise in building mobile and back end solutions. Though she was one of four sisters orphaned at the age of 14, her parents’ foresight enabled Catherine to complete her secondary education and gain entry into Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology, where she obtained a diploma in Computer Studies.

She currently serves as the Chief Innovator at Ukall, which runs Akida Limited. Ukall Limited is a boutique Information Communications Technology (ICT) Company with a focus on business process automation. They develop and deliver specialized products and services tailored to clients’ individual requirements. Akida is mobile to web platform that addresses the challenges of staff attendance verification and communication in small to large organizations that employ mobile workforces or deploy staff in various locations such as Security Companies, Marketing Firms and Facilities Management.  Akida incorporates staff attendance through facial verification, GPS and time logging. It allows reporting and an effective and affordable way of communicating through its reporting and alerts feature.

In addition to her work with Akida, Catherine is also a founding member of Akirachix, an organization that encourages female participation in the male dominated ICT arena.

Catherine participated in the GIST East Africa Startup Boot Camp in Tanzania, receiving the Best Female Entrepreneur award in 2013. Later that year, she was invited as a guest speaker and panelist at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys cycling, hiking and rock climbing.

Crowd Sourced Website Testing

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Alvin Chai receiving his Honorable Mention award from Jeff Hoffman, Co-Founder of Priceline.com and Co-Founder of ColorJar.

After working as a barrister and then at a website optimization startup, Alvin Chai, 29, encouraged his high school friend to co-found Netizen Testing Limited. Inspired by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, Alvin believes in the importance of team culture. He assembled a group of young and energetic people with whom he loves to work to bring the Netizen concept to life.

Netizen Testing Limited strives to reduce the amount of time and investment required to test website usability and eliminate the need for consultant-run focus groups. By crowd sourcing their testers, Netizen Testing Limited provides quick and affordable on-demand testing solutions to their clients.

They offer to website owners a series of videos depicting ordinary users sharing their thoughts aloud while using the website. As clients watch and listen to user response and behaviors they can identifying exactly when and why visitors leave the website. Clients also receive written summaries of the testers’ critiques.

Netizen Testing Limited’s customers are primarily enterprises that rely on websites and mobile applications to generate sales, sales leads, or some form of online conversion relevant to their businesses. Alvin says he regularly attends digital marketing exhibitions to connect with potential new clients.

Netizen Testing Limited was a participant of the GIST Boot Camp in Malaysia and a recipient of the People’s Choice Award at the GIST Tech-I 2013 finals, held at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).

“I found that our clients do not only want testing results but also value added service such as analysis on the results,” Alvin said. “We have seen a positive outcome and revenue has increased tenfold in 2013. Personally, I am thankful for the help and friendship I have received from GIST.”