Tiny Totos, a Kenya-based daycare startup, among 4 African winners of MIT innovation challenge

Liquid Telecom has announced that Kenyan-based start-up, Tiny Totos, won in the Africa regional finale of the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) on September 20, 2019 in Addis Ababa. Tiny Totos was selected in the ‘Income Growth and Job Creation’ category beating Kumwe Harvest from Rwanda and South Africa-based Indlu.

Since 2014, Tiny Totos has been helping entrepreneurs come up with cost-effective solutions to improve the wellbeing of children. Tiny Totos is based in Nairobi but has a goal of establishing a countrywide franchise.

Speaking after being chosen as the regional winner in their category, Emma Caddy, CEO of Tiny Totos said: “We are thrilled to have been recognised as a start-up bringing change to women and children in slums, through our growing network of financially self-sustaining, quality day care businesses in the informal settlements.”

“Our day care intervention model and platform provides informal day care entrepreneurs with access to the key business knowledge and information they need to improve standards of care, monitor their financial growth – as well as provide reliable, elevated care to children so working mothers can go to work with peace of mind.  My team and I are excited about taking Tiny Totos through to the global stages of the competition,” she added.

Commenting during the announcement, Ben Roberts, Chief Innovation and Technology Officer, Liquid Telecom, said, “I would like to congratulate all the finalists that presented at the regional level. It’s indeed encouraging to see how technology is being used as a force for good in Africa. I am especially pleased to see Kenyan based Tiny Totos amongst the Africa regional winners for transforming service standards across Nairobi’s informal childcare market through innovative technology.”

More than 400 applicants from 35 African countries entered the competition. Tiny Totos now has a chance to compete and win part of a $1 million Global Grand Prize that will be awarded at MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) in November. Tiny Totos would now be competing with finalists in the same category from other regions – Asia, Europe, Latin America and US and Canada.

To mark the finale of the 2019 Challenge, Liquid Telecom hosted the African Inclusive Innovation Summit in Ethiopia, a one-day event that highlighted how technology is creating economic opportunity for low-and middle-income earners across Africa. The summit was held in partnership with the African Union Commission, the Ethiopian Jobs Creation Commission (JCC), and the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology. 

Below are the winners of the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge 2019 from Africa:

  • Financial Inclusion Category > Social Lender  (Nigeria)
  • Income Growth & Job Creation Category > Tiny Totos (Kenya).
  • Skills Development & Opportunity Matching Category > Taskty (Egypt)
  • Technology Access Category > Shopit  (South Africa).

The MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) is the premier Future of Work prize, which awards over $1.5 million to global organizations that use technology to create economic opportunity for moderate- and low-income earners in the digital era. The initiative aims to support and accelerate the success of changemaking organizations and to drive a solutions-oriented conversation about the Future of Work.


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