Success Story - UKall
From playing Hockey to Fighting Crime, nothing can stop Catherine Kiguru
From her charming smile and her upbeat personality, it’s hard to tell the kinds of hardships that Catherine Kiguru has had to overcome. So, it’s no surprise that Catherine has already become an inspiration to those around her and the world is quickly taking notice. In the last few months, Catherine has been training users in Nigeria, and speaking at an event in Chicago. Although she didn’t become the professional hockey player she hoped, she’s still taking on new challenges like learning Karate and through her company’s app, fighting crime.
Kiguru was one of 18 entrepreneurs invited to infoDev’s Mobile Startup Camp—a one-week intensive course designed to accelerate the growth of early-stage mobile ventures and give them a chance to pitch before angel investors.
1. What are the three things that help your creative process?
1. A passion for new technology since an early age
2. An intensely inquisitive mind. I do not readily take things for granted and challenge the status quo
3. I endeavour to provide imaginative solutions
2. Why is it so hard to start a business in your community?
A vision alone fails to attract resources to progress. Additionally, an IT/Tech concept finds resistance to change.
3. What did you want to do when you were younger?
Unlike many young kids who knew what they wanted to become later in life, I waited to join high school before exploring career options. With the subjects and grades I obtained over four years, my options when graduating were as a journalist and a professional hockey player. Clearly, I took a different direction!
(Kate at 8 years. Second hand uniforms, first hand badges )
4. Who was your biggest inspiration while starting out, and what did his or her support mean to you?
My biggest inspiration has been my business partner and mentor, Paul, a chartered Accountant. His vast knowledge and industry experience, which he gained from several years developing and managing businesses across the African continent, has been of great value. He is a great supporter and motivator! He’s always available, never too intrusive, and has an unshakeable faith in me and my team, which encourages me to keep moving even when things are really tough.
5. If you had to do it all-over again would you be an entrepreneur?
Yes, yes and most definitely yes! I relish the challenge of each new day. Routine is a way of the past.
6. Growing up how did you perceive security guards?
I thought they were a bunch of society’s selected cruel guys who were paid just enough to keep them standing over 10 hours a day , waiting to cause havoc if anything unusual around them erupted.
7. Was it fun learning karate, and why?
I am not sure karate is fun, though brings lots of physical and mental gains. When I can find time, I plan to commit to complete the training.
8. Is your app helping fight crime?
Crime in Kenya is a growing concern, partly due to increased hardship among the masses; and now terrorism is worsening our situation. Akida could allow mobile security personnel, private and government, to report in real time, capturing live images of suspicious persons and situations. At Ukall, our ongoing challenge is convincing the authorities of Akida’s great potential value.
9. What does the future hold for you?
I am still working on a crystal ball app (haha!). But, in the meantime, it`s full steam ahead! I hope to continue to build Ukall into a respected and reliable business that designs and develops solutions which address specific challenges. Ukall hopes to expand beyond Kenya borders. I travelled to Nigeria at a client’s request in May to train users of Akida and establish new features we can build. Upon returning to Nairobi, I immediately flew to Chicago at the invitation of GIST (Global Innovation in Science & Technology) to partake in `their entrepreneurship journey`. Looking ahead to later in the year, I hope to co-develop and host Kenya's inaugural TV program on ICT.
10. Tell us something someone may not know about you
I have a gift of encouragement to others. Having lost both my parents at a very young age and having to fight through many hardships and still afford a smile, I love sharing and encouraging others who are going through the same. I recently graduated from Nairobi chapel’s ten week program on discipleship and hope to work closely on their missions to support the underprivileged as well as mentor youths through their blitz program.