Su Kahumbu Stephanou

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Su Kahumbu Stephanou
Su Kahumbu Stephanou iCow African Innovator.jpg
Su Kahumbu Stephanou. Picture sourced from iCow.co.ke
Born
Kenya
NationalityKenyan
OccupationCEO of Green Dreams Limited
Known forfounding iCow
Title
  • CEO of Green Dreams Limited
Children2
Websitehttp://www.icow.co.ke/, http://www.greendreams.co.ke/

Editor: Charissa Cassels

Su Kahumbu Stephanou was born in Kenya and grew up on a farm named Karen.[1] Stephanou is the founder and managing director of Green Dreams Ltd, Green Dreams Tech Ltd, and is also the founder of iCow. These were founded to target small scale farmers and assist them in increasing sustainable productivity and income. iCow is a mobile agricultural app that gives farmers access to agricultural information.[2] Stephanou is an activist, agriculturalist, musician, farmer, social and technology entrepreneur.[3]

Stephanou is recognised for her contributions to organic farming and addressing Africa’s food security problems through improving Africa’s food production. She identifies the importance of access to knowledge of good agricultural practices in both livestock and crop production in increasing farmers’ success. Stephanou is passionate about the role small-scale farmers play in our food supply and in global health.[4]

History

Stephanou is married and has two children. She moved to South Africa in 1996 to join her sister-in-law in business. This venture was short-lived as Stephanou’s entrepreneurial trait required her to start her own business. She returned to Kenya in 1997.[5]

She is on the Advisory Board of Changing Course in Global Agriculture, the technical Board of the Changing Course in Kenyan Agriculture, and the Board of Governors of the Mpesa Foundation Academy. She has been a contributor to The Organic Farmer Magazine since 2005.[6]

Stephanou is a TED Global Fellow and utilises this platform to create more awareness of the best farming practices that local farmers can use.[7] The TED Fellows program handpicks young innovators from around the world in order to raise international awareness of their work, in an effort to create positive change.

Stephanou founded Green Dreams Ltd in 1999[8] in Tigoni and it was operated by 30 staff members. Its product ranges include organically grown fresh fruit, vegetables, poultry, and eggs. These products are available in greengrocers and supermarkets for Nairobi consumers.[9] Green Dreams Ltd targets small-scale organic farmers in Africa, assisting them in increasing sustainable productivity and income.[10]

Green Dreams Ltd was inspired by Stephanou’s visit to a hydroponic farm in South Africa, where lettuce for the fast-food industry is grown. Hydroponics does not require the use of soil for growth but uses plastic-lined troughs and small stones as a growing medium. Its aim is to grow high yields in minimal spaces. Upon returning to Kenya, Stephanou put up demo sites, yet was unsuccessful. In order for it to be successful, she needed to use drip irrigation instead. The result was a bunch of lettuce that needed to be sold. This was the beginning of Green Dreams Ltd., which markets organic produce from smallholder farmers across Kenya.[11]

Stephanou then trained farmers on sustainable agro-ecological agricultural production systems and assisted them in marketing their products in the urban areas of Nairobi. This training was sponsored by Bio Vision.[12] This was done to alleviate poverty and to address food security issues through creating sustainable environments.[13]

Stephanou then started an Out Grower which links smallholder farmers to domestic and international buyers. This was done as a means to teach and assist three farmers on organic production processes, which would increase the volume and diversity of the products they were producing.

In 2004 a Box Scheme was started where produce was directly delivered to consumer’s homes.

Stephanou is also the creator of iCow, a mobile phone cow calendar that was launched in 2010. It was specifically created for small-scale farmers who would benefit from having access to information about their cow’s health and reproductive cycles.

Before the Apps4Africa competition in October 2010, Stephanou realised that farmers needed access to agricultural practices, crop, and livestock production. Mkulima Farmer Information Service and Hotline (Mkulima F.I.S.H.) was designed to encompass information on crops, livestock, soils, farmer health, and the environment. This is an agricultural extension service that is available to farmers via mobile phones.[14]

Investments

Stephanou, together with the assistance of Michael Joseph, the Chief Executive of Safaricom, started a mobile fund called The Kenya Tsunami Relief Fund in 2004.[15]

The winnings Stephanou received from iCow coming first in the Apps4Africa competition in 2010 was used to develop a prototype and secure additional grant funding in order to set up her team, systems, and processes.[16]

In 2013, Stephanou entered into a partnership with Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator, who was instrumental in iCow’s 2013 launch as it provided marketing machinery to promote the app.[17]

Awards and Achievements

In 2004, Green Dreams was the first locally certified organic farm for local markets in Kenya.[18]

Green Dreams Ltd’s first organic store was opened on 2 September 2006, in Gigiri shopping center in Nairobi.[19]

iCow won the first Apps4Africa competition in October 2010.

iCow won the Vision 2030 ICT Innovation Award for Agriculture in Kenya and was a finalist in the same year for the Innovation Prize for Africa in 2012.[20]

References

  1. feeding Kenyans through organic farming - Standard Digital. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  2. farmer centric mobile app - CTA. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  3. Kahumbu Stephanou - About.Me. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  4. engage fully with the world: More bold ideas from the TED Fellows - TED Blog. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  5. Technology Makes Farming Sexy Again - Digital Kenya Book. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  6. Kahumbu Stephanou - iCow. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  7. with Kenya’s Su Kahumbu-Stephanou, Organic Farmer and Technology Entrepreneur - Ventures Africa. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  8. Us - Green Dreams. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  9. Dreams Ltd - LinkedIn. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  10. Accidental farmer making waves in Kenya - How We Made It In Africa. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  11. with Kenya’s Su Kahumbu-Stephanou, Organic Farmer And Technology Entrepreneur - Ventures Africa. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  12. Su Kahumbu, the Kenyan agriculturalist helping farmers keep their herds healthy - TED Fellows. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  13. Technology Makes Farming Sexy Again - Digital Kenya Book. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  14. history - iCow. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  15. feeding Kenyans through organic farming - Standard Digital. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  16. Su Kahumbu, the Kenyan agriculturalist helping farmers keep their herds healthy - TED Fellows. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  17. Technology Makes Farming Sexy Again - Digital Kenya Book. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  18. Green Dreams Ltd. and Green Dreams Tech Ltd. (GDL) - Kenya Climate Change Knowledge Portal. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  19. History - Green Dreams. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  20. with Kenya’s Su Kahumbu-Stephanou, Organic Farmer and Technology Entrepreneur - Ventures Africa.Retrieved 9 October 2019.