Social problems are entrepreneurial problems – this is the case for Kenya’s Kelvin Mwaniki, a Nyandarua County native youth out to write a new chapter out of burglary incidences in his backyard.
Mr Mwaniki, a Rift Valley Institute of Technology student is using dead electronic devices to build a smart security system to handle the new age “sophisticated criminals” in Nakuru County and the neighboring areas.
The innovation, Business Daily Africa reports has seen Mr Mwaniki engage global stakeholders. After a first win in the Innovators Business Competition sponsored by Hand in Hand East Africa; the young mind traveled to Sweden in 2019 where he won an award in the Security Devices Innovation Category, an opportunity that widened his scope through creation of business contacts and networks in world’s top industrious nation – China.
The Sweden trip stirred his spirits to register his company Kematekh Limited which currently hosts at least 2 other persons on pay – sales and marketing employees.
He sells the device for between Sh 15,000 and Sh 20,000. The earnings from the venture have enabled him to stop relying on his parents for most of his needs. He is even contributing in paying his school fees and once in a while he gives his parents a share of his income when his sales are good.
“Burglary incidents were common in my village and the surrounding areas and I decided to make the security alarm system,” Mr Mwaniki said.
According to Mr. Mwaniki, criminals are getting sophisticated thus “modern technology security systems are important.”
Mr Mwaniki’s alarm system is capable of remotely locking and unlocking doors and can be used to charge a mobile phone and light the house.
Interestingly, the device is programmed to detect if the person using the two-button remote control is the owner of the house or premises, an authorized person or a stranger. If a stranger is attempting to use the remote control to open the door, its alarm system sets off. This implies even if the remote control is stolen, a burglar cannot use it to access your house.
The 3rd year ICT student recalls his innovation kicked off in 2015 at Karagoini Secondary School when he participated in a secondary schools’ science congress. In his presentation, Mr Mwaniki had used scrapes and wood to assemble an alarm system. The project failed to appease the judges but he couldn’t just throw in the towel.
He remained persistent until he installed his first alarm at his home. This gained the attention of other residents and there he earned his first client – Lucia Wangechi, a shopkeeper who had faced the brunt of burglars at her home and shop.
At first, Ms Wangechi says she doubted the security alarm system could work.
“I was his second customer. Burglary cases stopped and more residents trusted and installed the security system.”
Mr Mwaniki’s parents, who initially thought he was being childish in collecting scrapes, are now convinced he was up to something good. At some point, they were so motivated that they gave him a spare room to store his treasure.
The Kematekh Limited founder says the demand for his gadgets is so high he is unable to fulfill it “due to lack of raw materials and time since I must balance the business with my classwork.
He is currently developing a multi-media capacitated drone that can patrol, and monitor activities in large scale farms. The drone functionality is integrated to a mobile phone or a computer that targets to help users monitor their farms remotely.