“An innovative student initiative for commercializing beans



Starting December 2021, a team of 5 students from different academic backgrounds kicked off IDBM's capstone project aka IDBM Industry project, in collaboration with Aalto Global Impact (AGI) where we got the honor to work on a 'Problem Based Learning' team-project called PBL BioAfrica. The project was intended to solve a practical problem that University of Nairobi's (UoN) beans research department was facing. UoN's research department had been struggling to successfully commercialize a newly developed bean seed variety which was intended to cut the bean deficit in Kenya. So as a team, we started working on the project which was titled as: 'Business model and a commercialization strategy for newly developed beans by the University of Nairobi'.


During the course of the project, we got to visit Nairobi, Kenya during March 2022 and work in collaboration with the student team, teaching team and research team to come up with an innovative solution. Nairobi trip was an eye-opening trip for us in many ways and we absolutely loved working together with our colleagues from Kenya. 6 months of hard work, extensive research, countless interviews, intense field trip, plenty of brainstorming sessions, numerous prototypes, and multiple tests later, we finally delivered our project outcome which includes suggestion for the business model and strategies for our client Intellectual Property Management Office (IPMO) from the University of Nairobi.

We feel extremely honoured to be part of this project and proud of the project outcomes. Therefore, our team would like to acknowledge the people without whom this project would have not been possible. These people have our deepest gratitude and sincere appreciation, as they have positively impacted our growth as human beings and left a lasting impression that will remain with us for a long time to come.


Firstly, we would like to thank PBL-Bio Africa and Aalto Global Impact, especially Riina Subra, Avinash Dhital, and Matleena Muhonen for making this project happen. You have taken us on a journey that we can never repay nor forget, and we hope to have made you proud. We also offer our gratitude to the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their continued support of the PBL-BioAfri program. Thank you to the teaching team of Aalto IDBM, Ville Eloranta, Apurva Ganoo, Markku Koskinen, and Anniina Leggat, as well as our mentors Claire Shaw from Aalto University and Dr. Peter Okech from the University of Nairobi. Your guidance over the last seven months has shown us that there is no limit to the helping nature of human beings.


Secondly, our clients from IPMO, Miss Mari Kinoti and Professor Kimani, you two are inspiring figures in your community, and your dedication to do good for your people has left us inspired, and we hope to grow into leaders filled with sympathy and ambition such as yourselves. Huge thanks to the staff and students of C4DLab from the University of Nairobi, we loved to collaborate with you and were left astounded with the intelligence and hospitality you displayed during our stay. Furthermore, thank you to all who gave us the time to be interviewed, took part in our prototyping experiment, and gave us their input along the way.


Finally, we send out our gratitude and compassion to the hard-working farmers in the fields of Kenya, working tirelessly to ensure the food safety of their country. We genuinely wish nothing but prosperity for your future, and hope that the innovations from the University of Nairobi, and the work from student teams around the world, will change your lives and lessen your burden in the years to come.



Regards

Muzaddid Ahmed, Utshav Bhattarai, Vilma Torkkeli, Monica Romagnoli & Juyoung An