Showing posts with label entrepreneurship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label entrepreneurship. Show all posts

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ghana's SHS graduates to get paid internships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

From June to August 2015, Junior Camp Ghana is rolling out a Ten-Week Internship Programme for Senior High School leavers. This programme is meant to expose them to the world of work. The Internship Programme will focus on grooming 10 participants in their various fields of interest, as they undergo 8-week internships at companies in Ghana. These will include Agriculture, Technology, Art, among others.

The Junior Camp Internship Programme (JCIP) will boost their confidence and capacity to improve their employability.  
“Experience is the best teacher, which is why internships are so valuable for career development,” Thelma Boamah, the JCIP project lead said. “JCIP participants will be supported to gain a better understanding of their career interests and, through practical experience, develop the soft skills employers want to see.”
Final year students in Senior High Schools in Ghana should apply via Bit.ly/JCIPAppForm before 1st May, 2015.

Junior Camp Ghana is a career guidance and mentorship programme run by the GhanaThink Foundation. This foundation believes in investing in the potentials of young Ghanaians, especially at the Junior High School and Senior High School level. They believe this will help heighten their interest and participation in ensuring the progress of the country. The main message in the Junior Camps is to encourage students to build skills. JCIP will give 10 driven high school graduates the opportunity to experience work and implement learnings as they continue to build skills.

Last year, over 3,000 students benefitted from the career guidance and counselling sessions on their campuses with mentors from various industries. This is an extension of the overall vision of the GhanaThink Foundation which has the slogan; “Less Talk, More Action”. JCIP is an effort to put more action to all the talks where students learnt about building skills in the previous year. The internship programme will offer successful applicants a unique opportunity to gain vital work experience and industry exposure.

Stay updated on this internship program and Junior Camp Ghana via our Twitter, Facebook and Google+ channels.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

VOTOmobile platform Hackathon

Photo Credit: www.votomobile.org

Earlier this week, I caught up with George, who works with VOTO Mobile, and asked him a few questions on the company's hackathon happening at iSpace tomorrow.

Here's the discourse:
Me: Who are you and what do you do? (Of course I know him, but I asked for the benefit of you, my readers)
George: I am George Arthur-Sarpong, I am a Senior Software Engineer at VOTO Mobile.

Me: How long have you worked with VOTO Mobile?
George: I have been on #teamVOTO since January 2013.

Me: What exactly does VOTO Mobile do?
George: At VOTO Mobile, we look to solving solutions to communication barriers between organizations, governments and institutions and the people they serve.
Our tools, available via the VOTO platform enables organizations to engage thousands to millions of people in decision making, feedback gathering, monitoring and evaluation, general information dissemination and    mass education through a simple phone call in the language of the receiving individual.
Our hopes are that these tools amplify the 'voices' of the under heard making them important stakeholders in decision making. It in turn directs and makes organization projects and programmes much more effective by reaching the masses through channels they can easily understand and thus achieving impact.

Me:
What is the hackathon about? What  are participants expected to get out of it?
George: Our Mobile Engagement platform for voice and SMS has been developed over the past year into a robust and global platform with excitingly new features every two weeks.
Also in line with our vision for open communication and towards Social impact, we created our API to engage firstly as in the case of this weekend's hackathon, the Ghana developer community on smart and innovative tools and apps that can be built to reach masses via voice and or SMS.
Let's call it an 'out-dooring' where it's officially open to third party app developers to do wonderful things with it.
Participants would be motivated and rewarded for their efforts at the end of the 2-day event.
They would be judged and awarded in three categories
  1. Most innovative application: The one that causes us to step back and say, "Wow – never thought of that!"
  2. Strongest execution: The most complete, most polished, ready-to-use application
  3. Strongest social impact potential: An idea that thoughtfully creates impact on a local or national issue.
So yeah there is a lot of interesting and thrilling prospects for the Hackathon happening at iSpace in Osu-Accra this weekend and of course, the entire #teamVOTO is in Accra to join our Accra developer community hack with VOTO.

Me: Why is the event being held in Accra, as VOTO Mobile is a Kumasi-based firm?
George: Yeah we are based in Kumasi operating globally, and we had and still have interactions with our local developer community in Kumasi.
We chose Accra this time to also have a feel of the developer community outside Kumasi.
So yes, it's an opportunity to interact and see what's the latest also in Accra, and meet and hack with the developers you know via mail or social media in person.

Me: Okay, sounds like a fun-packed weekend. Thanks for this opportunity. (hand shake)
George: Thanks for the time. Glad I was able to do this with you.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Plisionship: An e-commerce solution

The ONE United Against Malaria bead
Photo credit: ONE.org
A couple of months ago, I decided to purchase a couple of ONE.org's beads online.
My late mum was a beads trader, so I am a sucker for beads.
After selecting the items to buy, I realised the shipping cost was more than I had expected, so I decided to look for a friend who loves beads as myself. We decided it was best to order as one and share the shipping cost.

Problem solved.

What we did is almost the same as the platform my friend Ilias, and his Plisionship team are building.
Plisionship loosely translated means friendship. Plision is a Greek word that refers to someone who is close to you and is ready to help you. In helping you, he/she helps himself/herself.

The concept is this simple: once you see an item you wish to buy online, you share it within your network and see if any other friend of yours wants to buy the same item, or even a different item (but from the same e-shop). You then create a group (after logging in) of individuals willing to buy some products from the same e-shop and buy as a group. The creation of the group is only once. So whenever one wishes to buy something, he shares it by posting it. The shipping costs may be reduced (as you share it) or even eliminated if you bargain with the e-tailer. Plisionship looks at individuals linking with their networks (especially people close to them geographically), so as to share interests in goods and services, and share delivery costs.

Remember that, your 'network' on this platform does not only refer to friends and family. Whoever you have a simple relationship with: at home, at your workplace, any other place you hang out, can be part of this group ('your network').

Do visit their website  and register to try out the service.
The video below sheds more light on Plisionship:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Press Release: Barcamp Tema 2014

BarCamp Tema 2014 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tema, Ghana and beyond. It takes place on March 22, 2014 at the Rotary Centre (Club House) in Tema. The theme is “Building People of Excellence”. This Barcamp will be the 29th organized by the GhanaThink Foundation as it builds a network of young change makers, doers and entrepreneurs in Ghana. It's being organized in conjunction with the Rotaract Club of Tema.

Our speed mentoring session would feature speed mentors including Victoria Okoye (Relief International), Edem Kumodzi of QuickBets, Kow Essuman (Lawyer), Manasseh Azure Awuni (Joy FM), Sara Nana Yeboah (Nurse & Entrepreneur), Emmanuel Nyame (Ghana Startup Cup), Tonyi Senayah (Horseman Shoes), Freda Addu (HR Consultant), etc. Various presentations on excellence would be done by Enyonam Kumahor of ThoughtWorks, as well as Emmanuel Gamor of Global Media Alliance. We would also interview Yoofi Grant of Databank on this topic. We'd close the day with breakout sessions.
Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tema eventbrite website (barcamptema14.eventbrite.com) or text "Barcamp Tema [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.

BarCamp Tema 2014 is sponsored by GhanaThink Foundation, Google, Rotaract Club of Tema, Nandimobile. Our media partners are CITI FM, Adom TV, MPWR Show, Spy Ghana.
Stay tuned via our social media: Twitter Facebook Google+

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dream . Initiate . Create


In 2008, some friends and I decided to set up a web development firm -- techsonetGH -- that is currently re-branding itself. In getting a sort of slogan for ourselves and to portray our core values to clients  we settled on dream.initiate.create.
We believe that all achievement stems from dreaming. Seeing the results of one's imaginations before they even materialise.
However, dreaming alone won't make any change. The Good Book even says, "Faith without works, is meaningless."
Once the dream has been fully captured, followed by an initiative to see it through, the creation is inevitable.
Whether the creation is accepted by folks or not, the satisfaction got is that you took a step.
So let's dream, initiate, and create.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Fuschia -- Clothing & Crafts

In an earlier post, I commented on how Ghanaians have taken to Ghanaian fabrics being used to create crafts such as handbags, wallets, purses, shoes, and of course, great dresses for every occasion.
A number of innovative individuals are really doing a lot in this area.
You can check out Trends and Blends who writes exclusively on fashion.
A lady who is doing a lot in this fashion innovation crusade is Abena Woode of Fuschia Ghana. She is based in Kumasi. As the Innovation Director of Fuschia, she's always on the look out for what steps to take to improve the services and customer satisfaction, Fuschia delivers.

Do check out Fuschia's Facebook page, like it and hold your breath for a surprise this festive season.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Why be ungrateful?

When I tell my friends that I feel -- I know -- I insult God any time I complain about where I wish I was in life, and how 'fucked up' my life is, they seldom get it.
I have been blessed with a lot of opportunities, and have had the pleasure of meeting angels on earth. My sweetest taboo is one of such earth angels.
You see, most folks don't have it 'as easy' as I do. An example is the mother of eight I just met in Adum,  Kumasi. She's been walking through town since morning, begging for alms. Her last two kids are with her -- under the scorching sun.
I asked where her husband is and she says the father of her first four children is dead. The father of the 2nd set of four has refused to look after the children.
I then asked why she is not farming, and if there was a piece of land she could farm on. Apparently, her uncle has sold the land she could have farmed on!
I know there's more I could do to help her, but I couldn't.
One thing for sure though is that, the image of her and her kids would pay in my mind for some weeks to come.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Harnessing (available) resources for development

Barcamp Sunyani 2013 advert
Last year, the very first barcamp was held in Sunyani. It was an event that saw stakeholders in the region, meet to network and discuss issues related to its development.
This year, another barcamp beckons. As an agricultural hub of Ghana, there is the need to find out the resources available to us, to improve the sector.
  • What information is available to farmers and those in agriculture?
  • What role does (or can) ICT play in agriculture?
  • What organisations are doing a lot to better the agricultural sector in Ghana as a whole?
  • What can I do as an individual to help in the development of my community?
For answers to these and other questions, join us at Barcamp Sunyani on the 9th of November, 2013 at the University of Energy and Renewable Resources, at 9am prompt.
Do follow discussions on twitter via the hashtag #bcsyi. You can also register for the event online.
See you when I see you...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Misplaced priority?

Yesterday, I missed Barcamp Kumasi because I had been invited by AIESEC-CUCG to talk to SHS students about my career. This was a major programme of the group for the academic year; I felt glad to be a mentor for my younger brothers and sisters.

I got to the venue and was hugely disappointed -- after a while. The picture below explains why.
The empty auditorium
I found out the heads of the invited schools had not prioritised the event -- after accepting the invitation in person!
"Oh, is it today? I have forgotten o", was a reply from one of the heads.

Here I was, saddened by the fact that, these young leaders are replicating GhanaThink Foundation's barcamps, which are empowering the youth to shape their future -- for free, and such heads of schools are failing to see their impact and appreciate them.

Misplaced priorities?

The foreign AIESEC interns were hugely surprised and disappointed. And rightly so.
I refuse to support the 'excuse' that this is Ghana, and so such actions should be tolerated. If they are, then where comes the change we are working for?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The 'Sin' of inaction...

Are you afraid of failure? Me too -- at least until I had a sober introspection recently. I've always been reluctant to make a move,and follow up on an idea, simply because I feel I'm not 'perfect'/well prepared yet. "When at all would you be ready?",I asked myself during my reflection. Let me share a couple of my inaction with you.

In my senior year at the university, we took a course in Entrepreneurship. One of our mini projects was to write a business plan for any business of our choosing. My teammates and I targeted the transport sector, and decided to write a business plan for the cab (taxi) business. It included online booking and other such features. We FAILED to follow up on the plan and implement it -- we felt we were not ready yet (at least i thought so). Imagine the ambivalent feeling I had when I learnt of a similar idea being implemented in Nigeria now -- TaxiPark.

Another inaction of mine was not following up on an idea to develop a web/SMS-based results (grade) notification for students in my alma mater. This idea I got while doing my national service. I was not however surprised when mFriday came out with a similar app.

I can go on and on. The point I'm trying to make is that we should try even when we are not sure of the outcome. Face our fears. Inaction is devastating -- very devastating. No wonder the Confiteor (said during the Catholic Mass), has a line that goes thus, "..., in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, ..."

Join me this Saturday at the Methodist University campus in Accra, for the mother of all Barcamps in Ghana -- Barcamp Accra. Let's pledge to make efforts and thus fail so much that failure has no other choice than to let us be.

Register for Barcamp Accra here: http://barcampaccra12.eventbrite.com/

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Vim Series!

I got a wish of mine fulfilled last Wednesday, when I partook in the Vim Series for the first time.
Vim Series is a meeting of individuals interested in technology (its challenges, prospects, application et cetera) in Ghana. It's held every Wednesday evening (6:30pm - 8:30pm) at Esoko.
I met a number of cool folks from diverse disciplines. Exchange of ideas is real fun!
Brett Nakatsu from StartupWeekend was there to share what the organisation is about and the upcoming StartupWeekend to be held in Accra this weekend. Follow #SWAccra on Twitter for updates.
Present also were guys from Open University of West Africa -- an institution taking open source education to a different dimension, by making use of MOOCs.
I enjoyed myself and felt inspired as well. If you are in Accra, and can spare 2 hours of your evening to meet cool folks and form alliances, check out the Vim Series. You will be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Re-branding Ghana with Fabric

Lately, the love of Ghanaian Fabric (and design) has caught up like wildfire among the country's youth.
Individuals and companies are branding items such as bags, shoes; wallets with fabric. Nice.
I share some pics of the rebirth of my wallet (now clothed) in this post.




Monday, October 8, 2012

FASMICRO's Ekele shares some thoughts

In my previous post, I shared my experience at the Embedded Systems Training that took place at the KNUST. Apart from the learning experience and exposure I got, I also got something far more valuable – the friendship of the trainer, Ekele. In our numerous conversations, a lot of topics cropped up and they were duly digested. I however want to share a few of Ekele’s thoughts pertaining to Embedded Systems mostly. Enjoy.
Me: How did you get into this field?
Ekele: In my first year i Senior High School, electronics was one of the subjects we were taught. Our electronics teacher did a very good job activating my electronic curiosity. When teaching, he would bring LED, transistors, resistor e.t.c to the class and show them to us. He told us where they can be applied – in T.V, radios e.t.c. So, I fell in love with electronic components.
Me: What have been your challenges and triumphs?
Ekele: When I started learning about micro controllers, I discovered I couldn't get a programmer. I searched and searched in the market. I finally got a circuit diagram from the Internet and built one. Even today, there are some components one will need and would just have to order it from the USA or another developed country.
I get a burst of joy when I write a long code for something and at the end of the day, I get the device/equipment working. For instance, the first time I wrote code for a digital signboard, it took me a long time (more than a week) to get things up. Sometimes I don’t think about food and people around me will start complaining. They will ask me what I am doing that will make me not to bother about my food. And I will answer, "You will not understand." When they finally see me clapping and grinning from ear to ear, they know I have just achieved something.
Me: What is the future of embedded systems in Africa?
Ekele: It is a virgin field in Africa. It is a core requirement to become a technologically advanced country – that is my opinion. If people can start building hardware on the continent, gradually we will not be third world any more.
Me: Your advice to graduates who complain of unemployment?
Ekele: I believe every student should acquire knowledge that can be converted into a product/service. By so doing, they can easily start a business after school. Start doing something on your own; people will notice and start to contact you. Why wait?
Me: Advice on how to succeed in a chosen field?
Ekele: You have to strongly believe in what you do, you have to constantly acquire more information in that area and you have to look for ways to solve problems with what you do.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Exploring the Virgin Territory of Embedded Systems

An embedded system
Photo Credit: PlantAutomation
Consider the following scenarios:
  • Your car has been stolen. How do you track its location?
  • You travel and realise you’ve left your lights on! How do you save energy – and money – by switching off the lights?

The answer to these, and many other similar ones, is embedded systems.
For more on the applications of embedded systems, click here.
Embedded systems are simply specialized computer systems that are part of larger systems or machines
The Kumasi Center for Lifelong Learning-KCLL, seeing the prospects of this industry, organised a 10-day training workshop on embedded systems at the School of Science, KNUST. This was done in partnership with First Atlantic Semiconductors & Microelectronics-FASMICRO, Nigeria's largest embedded systems company, and MFriday, a group of mobile technology enthusiasts (made up of students and industry experts).
I'm currently participating in the workshop as a ‘trainee-observer’ (on the request of the KCLL’s Executive Director, Yaw), to see how best to replicate the training on the Catholic University College of Ghana campus.
Participants have so far been introduced to the PIC microchip/microcontroller, FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array, a special type of programmable microprocessor) and taught how to write programs in the Assembler and C languages. They've also been introduced to the USART/UART and USB communication protocol. Some of the mini projects saw participants programming a digital clock, the seven segment display of an LED, a piano, and an LCD.
The last day of the training -- tomorrow -- will be used to highlight the business aspects of embedded systems.
The trainer, Ekele, believes the field is a ‘virgin’ territory in Africa and hopes a lot more people embrace it. He says, “A lot of people are into software, but what is the software going to interact with – hardware.”
It’s been an exciting experience, and I wish a number of institutions in Ghana would set up Microelectronics Training and Development Centers (MTDCs) to train students in this field.
Please let me know what your thoughts are by commenting on this post.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Tamale Experience

Over the weekend, I was in Ghana's Northern Regional capital, Tamale. Amazing place.
I was first welcomed by the Central Mosque which made me miss my trips to Abuja (in Nigeria) last year. The roads are a must-see. The sense of culture abounds in this town. It's full of life.
My word, was I surprised to actually see a lot of motorcycles. Most being ridden by ladies. The sad part of that for me though was the riders not being in their helmets (about 2 in 25 did have helmets on).
I was actually there to participate in a Barcamp event, to meet and interact with people to see how best the condition of the people can be improved, and their stories told to the world. Whoever said the youth are the future of any nation is right. A lot of ideas were floated, and action plans made.
Personally, the future of Tamale and indeed Ghana is secured and bright.
A picture of the Larambaga mosque. Photo credit: Barcampers


Sunday, July 8, 2012

SIFE-CUCG are National Champions!

Last Thursday, I was at the Accra International Conference Center to serve as a volunteer for the SIFE Ghana National Exposition 2012. I was also there to support the SIFE team from the Catholic University College of Ghana. This event is an annual event that showcases projects that have been initiated and/or completed by SIFE teams in tertiary institutions across the country. Did I mention it was my first time ever partaking in this event? I was amazed at the projects students had initiated and completed within the past year, in such areas as job creation, poverty reduction, youth empowerment, et cetera. Sitting through the presentations, I thought to myself, "Why do you think you have to be in a certain (high) position before making an impact on society?" Indeed, I took a cue from the students -- lesson well noted.
SIFE CUCG team
The two-day event saw the Catholic University emerge as victors! Their major project was the building of a bakery for the locals of the Mantukwa village in the Brong Ahafo Region. The money for this project was raised by the students -- they used their birthdays to raise it -- just like some celebs do for charity: water. I was deeply touched by the competiting institutions; projects and pray we all give a little more support to these change makers.
The winners will represent Ghana at the SIFE world cup in Washington DC that would take place from the 30th Sept - 2nd OCtober.
We wish them the very best.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

First-ever Barcamp Sunyani -- The experience

The first-ever Barcamp event in Sunyani ended almost three hours ago – boy was I blown away (no hyperbole intended). Ideas. Energy. Networking. These were all in full supply at the event, which took place at the FFRT (KNUST-SYI).

A barcamp is simply a FREE networking event that brings individuals together to brainstorm and find solutions to problems affecting their communities and propose ways of developing their communities and the country as a whole. A novel idea, don’t you think?

I attended my first-ever barcamp event in Kumasi, three weeks ago at the KNUST campus. What makes today’s event even more remarkable – apart from the organisation – is the number of ladies present. These ladies were bold and they cogently defended their ideas in a clear manner. Women of substance. Wow. The event also had a number of highlights:

1. A discussion on whether Sunyani is a worthy candidate as the capital city of Ghana? A number of positives and negatives were identified, but in all, we realised it could be the capital of Ghana if enough thought, energy and planning is employed by our leaders.
Sunyani – better known as the Sun City, is simply a town to love. ;-)
2. A representative of the Youth Council implored us to really take part in the on-going biometric voter registration and actually go on to vote. No sitting on the fence. From his speech, I learnt that the word ‘youth’ is not found – not even once – in the 1992 constitution! Can you believe that?
3. Mr. Agbozo, a lecturer at the Catholic University, gave an insightful talk on Entrepreneurship. He shared the results of a survey he carried out in his class based on priorities and surprisingly, achievement was at the bottom while love was fourth. Even learning didn’t place. (No surprise for me.) Good news though is that, barcamp participants decided to change their attitude. This I believe would diffuse and take our youth by storm. Go Ghana!
The next speaker was the General Manager of Eusbett Hotel, Mr. Mensah. He also gave a lot of insight into where Sunyani has come from in terms of development and the opportunities still lurking around. I bet you a number of his ideas would see fruition by the close of the year.
The BloggingGhana crew was also there to talk on their #iRegistered campaign which seeks to cover the registration and voting processes via social media (blogs, tweets, Facebook, Google+, Instagram et cetera.)
4. During the breakout session, a number of topics were discussed:
  • How to develop the Sunyani Township?
  • What GTUG is all about?
  • How to keep Sunyani clean?
  • The (correct) use of Social Media
5. A GTUG coordinator, Jojoo Imbeah, demonstrated how culture can be fused into technology. He actually used the Mozilla Firefox browser in Akan!
6. The last, but definitely not the least highlight was when participants ended the event by singing the national Anthem, “God Bless our Homeland Ghana…”
Participants are of the view that, barcamp Sunyani should be held frequently. Taking into consideration the number of barcamps in the country, I would propose that it is organised twice in a year.
God be the oga, oshe!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Use simple tools to create complex applications: think locally, impact globally

The much anticipated Google Ghana Conference took place last week, on the 19th & 20th March at the Alisa hotel in Accra – yours truly was present – as always.(smiles)

This year’s event did justice to my expectations: cool, knowledgeable presenters; relaxed atmosphere fostering partnerships and enhancing opportunities; great entrepreneurial discussions.

The first day saw Googlers giving presentations on technologies/topics such as HTML5, Google App Engine, Google+, User Experience among others. My personal highlight of the day was during the Site Clinic track where the website of techsonetGH (under construction) was ‘diagnosed’ by Luisella. It was an eye-opener into ways I could become a better webmaster. The topic for the panel discussion was, “Can Ghana have a software company with 100+ developers?” In all, participants believed it was possible but would require skills development, hard work, dedication, and of course investment.

The cultural environment of Google as alluded in the keynote address of the day was experienced personally in my interactions with Googlers present at the event. These guys are cool! (wink) Ideas indeed do come from everywhere…

Day 2 was nothing short of exciting. It was great listening to entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts discuss ideas and share experiences. One fact that stood out is that, your ideas can best be explained by you in detail, nobody cares about your idea – sharing therefore is key.
During the track on Adsense, I really got to see how Africans get a ‘third eye’ when it comes to matters involving money. Some participants really wanted to know how to track their revenue online. (still laughing)

Julia’s presentation on Google+ APIs also saw eyes rolling and heads nodding. The fact that individuals without smart phones and data enabled devices could still enjoy Google + is simply genius. The hangout feature was simply awesome as a number of participants saw it as their replacement of Skype. I also found out – as did other participants that you can actually monetize on Youtube!

I can’t end without talking about the great photographs taken by RQV Photo Studio. The dude is amazing.

In all, the event was a great success and boy did I have me some fun. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.