Kenya’s Savannah Circuit Tech wins Kshs 10.4 million overall prize in Cisco’s Problem Solver Challenge




A Kenya-based technology company, Savanna Circuit Tech, has been crowned a winner at  Cisco’s Global Problem Solver Challenge 2020.

Savanna Circuit Tech manufactures and distributes last mile non-refrigerant solar-powered milk chillers that can be placed on any means of transportation – from motorbikes to trucks.

Savanna Circuit Tech’s Dairy Management Systems utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technologies to ensure that dairy farmers have fresh produce.

The firm was declared the overall winner of the fourth edition of the Cisco Problem Solver Challenge.

Savannah Circuit’s winning entry was the MaziwaPlus Prechiller, a solar chilling transit system with dairy management system for dairy businesses (or cooperatives) in sub-Saharan Africa to cut post harvest losses.

“In Kenya, 70 percent of dairy producers are smallholder dairy farmers, and one million people work on these family-run farms. These smallholder farmers produce 5.3 billion liters of milk each year – 30 percent of which goes to waste.” Says Emmastella Gakuo, one of the co-founders of Savanna Circuit Tech. “The milk goes to waste because it takes a lot of time to get it from the point of production to corporate chains that assist with marketing and selling it. The transportation can take up to five hours using animal transport, bicycles, or people walking from their homes.”

Through the utilisation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technologies, Savanna Circuit Tech’s Dairy Management Systems ensures that dairy businesses – whether farmers or distributers, – efficiently cut on post-harvest losses whilst maximising its profits.

Percy Lemtukei, the other co-founder to Savanna Circuit Tech, grew up around dairy farmers as well as other forms of farming. “I saw what these farmers go through, working from dusk to dawn, only for their produce to spoil, or, in some cases, not getting the full value of their product.” Noted Percy. “I met Emmastella at university, and we were discussing how most of these dairy communities work hard, but see little profit. We wanted to use the knowledge we have academically, and our connections in the supply chain, to make the world a better place. That is how we came up with Savanna Circuit Tech.”

Emmastella and Percy state they wish to use their $100,000 (about Kshs 10.4 million) cash prize to strengthen their business by acquiring novel talent and equipment for their new manufacturing facility.

Savanna Circuit Technologies provides dairy farmers and cooperatives with portable solar milk chillers, quality control equipment and farmer management system- offering real-time data from collection points -while cutting milk spillage and spoilage for maximized profits through our lease model.

With a total of $350,000 in prize money to be awarded to winners, the fourth annual Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge aimed to recognize new business ideas that leverage technology for social impact from student entrepreneurs around the world. The Challenge was open to students and recent alumni from any college or university.

The $350,000 cash prize is meant to help the winners accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technology, products, and services that drive economic development and/or solve social or environmental problems.

Savannah Circuit emerged the overall winner from a shortlist of 14 firms which were also awarded various category awards.

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