Miss Jessica Colaço, the Research Leader at Strathmore Research and Consultancy Centre (SRCC) was named by 'Business Daily' as one of the top 40, under 40 years of age women in Kenya's business scene. Ms Colaço was the only one in the list working in an education institution.
Ms Colaço is a trailblazer. In naming her, 'Business Daily' said she has been instrumental in connecting young software developers with multi-national ICT companies Google and Facebook. Ms Colaço's engagement with Google started in her final undergraduate year of study in 2007 when she realized there was a severe lack of maps on the East Africa region on Google maps.
So she developed her own system to allow mobile phone users to view detailed street maps of Nairobi and access her user generated point-of-interest (POI) database.
In March 2008, Ms Colaço helped organize the first ever Nairobi Facebook Developer Garage, an event that served as a forum for students from different universities and professional developers in Kenya to learn about the Facebook programming platform.
Ms Colaço was in mid-2008 involved in conducting a baseline research and follow up survey for the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). She worked with nine Saccos across the region to document the income and education levels of their members.
Later in 2008, she helped organize the Mobile Boot Camp, a forum for the ICT community to learn about the mobile phone infrastructure, development platforms, and technical support. As a research lead at SRCC, Ms Colaço has used her position to spearhead and manage the research projects within the company and she continues to court international firms to adopt Kenyan-made solutions.
How the nominees were identified
For two months, 'Business Daily' ran adverts inviting readers to nominate women who had made outstanding achievements in any sector of the country's economy. The nominees had to be under 40 years of age. The response according to the paper was superb.
A panel was convened to collate and tabulate the data before coming up with a final list. The selection was based on the goal of picking outstanding women from as many sectors of the economy as possible. "While we agree the list is subjective, we are convinced the nominees are worthy of selection," the paper noted.