Showing posts with label start-ups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label start-ups. Show all posts

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+

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Am I ready?

A lot of young CS grads in Ghana – myself inclusive – hope to have their own start-ups after school. Others just want to be employed so they earn some income. The job market, however, is very competitive and the barrier of entry for start-ups is pretty daunting.
The real barrier in my opinion is the fact that most of us want to be perfect before we start our own enterprises or even bid for projects. How do you become perfect without practice?
I remember instances where I did get some projects to work on. I was scared of failure because I thought I was not ready. Guess what, as I started to work on the project, my skills sharpened and I gained new insight into Software Development.
Then comes the next fun-killer, (some) organizations not trusting in the abilities and skills of their young interns/employees, when they design software in-house. These organizations do not even test the software to ascertain its good and bad parts. They only want to buy software they feel is complete and professional – from well established vendors. Sometimes, these ‘so-called’ professional software do not even meet the requirements of the organizations!
This attitude dampens the spirit of these young, enthusiastic interns who literally ‘kill’ themselves to develop something.
It’s about time we start believing in our own folks’ abilities and inculcate the habit of testing in-house software so we get the right software to meet our requirements.
To my fellow yet-to-be developers/entrepreneurs, let’s not be afraid to be ‘thrown into the pool’. With determination and self-belief, we would stay afloat and conquer.
Let’s do it.