‘Africa and home never leave you. They are part of your identity.’ Juliana Rotich spent a number of years working in the mobile tech and data-warehousing industries in the United States, before relocating in 2011 to her native Kenya, bringing with her a wealth of technological expertise and entrepreneurial experience.
Back home, Rotich is helping to ensure that Africa doesn’t get left behind in the digital revolution. She co-founded Ushahidi, a non-profit tech company that specializes in free and open-source software for changing how information flows.
Another of her achievements is BRCK, a company that developed a self-powered mobile Wi-Fi device, called BRCK. During power cuts, BRCK connects to the nearest 3G network and runs on its 8-hour battery. ‘The building blocks of the digital economy are connectivity and entrepreneurship,’ Rotich points out. ‘BRCK keeps Africans connected and helps them drive the global digital revolution.’
‘Kenya is now synonymous with innovation, technology and the frontier of what’s possible,’ she proudly notes. Rotich believes that her continent has much to offer. ‘One thing we have in African culture is a quest for mastery. Even if your thing is pottery or beadwork of whatever, we applaud and hold up people who aspire to mastery, do things that are not mediocre, that are world-class.
In her downtime, when not hooked up to the digital highway, she likes to make earrings out of assorted materials — wire, beads, and even discarded memory chips.