The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has named three socially minded hardware inventors from Africa as regional grand prize winners of the prestigious 2019 ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW), held May 9 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The three social entrepreneurs – one from Kenya, and two from Ghana – were selected among eight finalists from across the African continent who vied for a share of $30,000 (USD) in seed grants and technical support to help bring their design innovations to market. Each winner will also receive a ticket to the ISHOW Bootcamp in New York in October 2019, where they’ll meet six other regional winners of competitions held in Bengaluru, India (April 4), and Washington, D.C. (June 13). This year, ASME received 160 applications for ISHOW.
The finalists endured a full day of rigorous judging as they presented the engineering design attributes of their prototypes and outlined their plans for manufacturing, marketing, and financing.
Descriptions of all eight finalists’ designs are available on the ISHOW’s Kenya Finalists Page.
The 2019 regional grand prize-winning designs all tackled the challenge of sustainable food supply. They are:
Savanna Circuit Tech “MaziwaPlus Pre-Chiller” (Kapenguria, Kenya) – The MaziwaPlus Pre-Chiller is a mobile solar-powered chilling in-transit system that can be mounted on motorbikes, offering quality control, traceability, and maximized profits for dairy producers and cooperatives. The solution was developed in response to milk post-harvest losses due to transportation over great distances in rural Kenya.
SAYeTECH “Multi-crop Thresher” (Kumasi, Ghana) – SAYeTECH produces multi-crop threshers to reduce grain waste and empower grain farmers. The multi-crop thresher can reduce post-harvest losses by up to 30%, providing enough food to feed Africa’s growing population, while also increasing income of smallholder farmers — especially women — by up to 50% every year.
- Picture 1: From left to right – James Creel (ASME ISHOW), Theodore Ohene Botchway and Jeffrey Appiagyei Boakye (SAYeTECH Company Limited) receive ISHOW 3D-printed trophy from Sylvia Mukasa of GlobalX Innovation Labs.
- Picture 2: Theodore Ohene Botchway and Jeffrey Appiagyei Boakye discuss their innovation with ASME ISHOW judges.
Sesi Technologies Ltd “GrainMate Grain Moisture Meter” (Kumasi, Ghana) – The GrainMate Grain Moisture Meter is a low-cost grain moisture tester that helps grain farmers reduce post-harvest losses by making it easier to accurately measure grain moisture content before storage. At $100, GrainMate is more than four times cheaper than conventional grain moisture meters and offers superior accuracy.
ASME’s panel of judges includes a group of successful entrepreneurs, academics, and founders of venture-funded startup companies including Gearbox, Villgro Kenya, Kenyatta University, Toyota Kenya, and GlobalX Innovation Labs. The panel was most impressed by the winners’ design innovations and their abilities to scale their products to market.
“We are proud to offer a forum for engineering problem-solving that truly improves lives,” said ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile. “We are continually impressed by the creative talent of ASME ISHOW participants and their passion for helping underserved communities around the world.”
In addition to the three grand prize winners, Solar Freeze (Machakos, Kenya) received special recognition and an in-kind prize of 20 hours of design support, courtesy of Catapult Design, for its portable solar-powered cold storage innovation which strives to alleviate the significant challenge of post-harvest food loss for farmers of perishable agricultural produce in Kenya. Sesi Technologies’ GrainMate was also declared “fan favorite” and awarded a $1,000 (USD) cash prize for receiving the most votes cast via social media. The fan favorite prize is made possible and in memory of Byron G. Schieber Jr. M.S., P.E., Professor Emeritus of Queensborough Community College of The City University of New York and Ruth L. Schieber.
“ASME congratulates and thanks all ISHOW winners and finalists for serving as catalysts of progress and social good,” Costabile said. “Through their determination to innovate and disrupt the status quo, they are helping to improve the quality of life for people in need and inspiring others to think about what’s possible.”
For more information about this year’s ISHOW participants and winners, please visit
ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. For more information, visit www.asme.org.