My Africa Basqcue Challenge Journey

                                                Roseline Friday of HOCO (House of Coco)

Africa Basque Challenge, first edition, brought together 48 innovators from Kenya, Somalia and the Basque Country, Spain, who participated in a boot-camp. The boot-camp entailed six days in Kenya and a week in the Basque country, Spain. Roseline Friday, a registrar at National Registration Bureau Kilifi South, came up with the winning idea.

 “Living in the Coastal town of Kilifi, we have a very big problem with coconut waste disposal, she explained.”

 “I came up with the idea of producing construction materials out of coconut waste, that is coconut coir bricks, she added.”

The application process for the Africa Basque Challenge was simple and straight forward. Applicants were required to log on the website, upload and submit either a video or a word document with a description of a one of kind, innovative solution to bridge the Rural –Urban gap.

The first leg of the boot camps, which was held at the IBM offices in Nairobi, was quite intense. I was among the 48 finalists who were selected to participate. Among these were Kenyans, Somalis, Congolese and Spanish. Meeting all these people from this different countries and backgrounds was both exciting and intimidating.

However, after overcoming communication and cultural barriers, I enjoyed the ABC journey through which 11 intercultural teams were formed. This was followed by trainings on team entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, learning by doing, intrapreneurship, among others.

The next phase of the Challenge was held in the Basque Country, Spain. A bootcamp was organized which involved fine-tuning of ideas, prototyping and the final pitch event.

“Travelling to the Basque country was a fun and educative experience. Apart from experiencing the stunning architectural landmarks and distinctive Basque cuisine, we visited two companies, Impact Hub and DOT.

My team, HOCO, was crowned winner out of the 11 competing teams, receiving a cash prize of 6000 euro .The three runners up, VAA –slow fashion, Africa to Manufacturer (ATM) and Mobaki Limited each received 3000 euro. The four companies also had a three-month incubation program where they received mentorship by a leading global start up accelerator based in Spain.

HOCO has so far registered their company and patented their idea. They identified a piece of land where they plan to build their prototype. 30 youth from Basque country have offered to travel to Kenya to volunteer in the project.

“This was an eye opening experience, I have grown both as an individual and as a brand. Wherever I look, I see untapped business opportunities. My team continues to receive unwavering support from coaches, am so grateful”, she concluded.”

Africa Basque challenge was a result of a partnership between Mondragon University, a nonprofit cooperative University based in Basque country, Spain and Zuhura Innovations Africa, a Pan-African women-led organization, which promotes social innovation and social entrepreneurship among young people in Africa, with a focus on women. The second edition of the challenge is to be held late this year.