IBM Innovation Center Opens in Kenya
However, IBM realizes its continued investment in Africa does not come without challenges. In a post on IBM's A Smarter Planet Blog, Takreem El-Tohamy, IBM's general manager for Middle East and Africa, wrote, "My IBM colleagues and I understand that expanding in Africa comes with a unique set of challenges. Our company must aid in building the capacities of Africa's people and institutions—including knowledge, technology infrastructure, business sophistication and governance. These are the underpinnings of innovation ecosystems." The Nairobi Center joins a worldwide network of 40 other IBM Innovation Centers in 33 countries, including Morocco and South Africa. Through this network, IBM connects local companies and entrepreneurs with technical and industry experts around the world and can support growth with introductions into new markets. As part of efforts to drive innovation, IBM is working to support and develop an ecosystem of IT professionals in Kenya, including new partnerships with Jomo Kenyatta, Riara and Strathmore universities to create educational and training environments. With this growing relationship, students and professors will have access to advanced IT coursework, training materials and software for use in the classroom. Bringing the latest enterprise technology and challenges into the classroom, students will be better prepared to meet the IT and business needs of the region. Moreover, through ongoing workshops and meetings, IBM is working closely with the growing local venture capital community and local incubators and accelerators to identify and support entrepreneurs and startup companies. IBM also is working with local IT companies in the area, providing technical workshops, one-on-one support from IBM experts and access to software and hardware for testing to help local IT companies develop offerings and better meet client demands. Lime Technologies Ltd., Open World and Tezza Ltd. are among the new IBM Business Partners to benefit from the resources at the IBM Innovation Center.