The founder of Bluesky Innovations, Nasreem Dhanji would pass for any ordinary Kenyan going around her normal life, but a short conversation reveals an inspiring story of dreams and possibilities.
She went to Aga Khan Primary School and then Hillcrest wanting to be an astronaut in a country that has no space exploration dreams let alone space missions. She would end up in Canada for her degree in mechanical engineering and later earned three masters’ degrees.
Ms Dhanji whose firm specializes in design thinking and innovation had perhaps hit the ceiling of her career working at the Canadian Space agency as an operations engineer and developing the robotic arm of the agency.
However, her dreams to be an astronaut were never to be after she missed the competitive slot by a thin margin. She would leave the agency after 12 years of work having gained a wide range of experience which she is sure will help develop entrepreneurship and innovative thinking among Kenyan youth.
Ms Dhanji comes back when the country is undergoing a major shift from focus on employment to entrepreneurship and says she wants to equip young people with skills for innovation and problem solving.
Kenya is largely viewed as the most innovative country on the continent especially in financial technology and Ms Dhanji is among those helping to develop the intellectual horsepower that is attracting major international investors looking for quality workforce.
The company has since worked with major companies and intergovernmental organizations in training employees on how to innovate. She wants to reach more young people and train them on problem solving and innovative approach to everyday problems.
When Risk-takers.com met Dhanji, she was training young innovators from across East Africa on tackling the effects of climate change using technology sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) in Nairobi.