The Value Chain Factory hackathon

The Value Chain Factory hackathon

Building solutions for Africa

Built by Africans and for Africans

It’s been a week since we had our first hackathon here at Value Chain Factory. A week since we had a buzz of activity with young engineers teeming with ideas on how to create the next solution that would address Africa’s most daunting challenges.


Over the weekend, my team had the pleasure of hosting one of the most exciting hackathons we have had this quarter. Our aim was to call upon innovators in the technical space to share and build upon their ideas on agriculture, health and transport; matters that are paramount in a mineral and nutrient-rich continent.

Of the possible startups brought forth, I thought I would mention a few notable ones. That is, that in conjunction with my team and the participants, would provide more value and be impactful in their own right.

Lifeline medicare

To assist emergency responders, team #lifelinemedicare created a solution that stores key details of their patients. Succinctly, the determining whether a particular treatment would be viable for an incapacitated patient.



With an ever-growing population, currently, at 8 billion, our primary approach to waste disposal and management has been to bury it. Practically equivalent to burying our heads in the sand and letting the tides of time do its thing. To address this, the smartbins startup would provide waste management services. Taking up this role from collection, recycling and selling of compost manure back to the local farmer.


The Farmer-market bridge

To complete the cycle, the market bridge team would open up the marketplace to expose farmers to their immediate sellers. In a way, making the farmer aware of their produce’s movement through to the consumer.


What stood out was how these builders were willing to take a leap in validating their enterprises. An emerging trend amongst this lot of African engineers, was their embrace of new technology. From the use of NFC tags in medicine, the leverage of blockchain technology for transparent transactions to the use of geo-sensors in garbage collection. They took a step beyond ideation to provide the next possible solution.


More important than starting a particular startup, is getting to meet a number of potential cofounders. From there, instead of working on what you intend to make and then finding the audience, work in the reverse by thinking of the public. Ideate.

You should only start a startup if you feel compelled by a certain problem and you think starting a startup is the only way to solve it. The passion should come first, and the startup comes second. - Sam Altman

Thus, to you the reader: If you knew success was a certainty, what would you do?

PS: Yes. My team came second. Because winning is what we do. Hi Wachira.