Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Major developments in the Ghanaian Tech Scene in 2013 - Part 2

I was invited to host the #MomoAccra (Mobile Monday) end-of-year party at +233 Jazz Bar & Grill together with Dorothy Gordon, the Director-General at the KACE-AITI. The main organizer, +Nana Fosu directed me, to talk through some major developments that happened on the tech scene in Ghana. I loved the positive energy during the event and the positive news people left the venue with. A celebration of our achievements and accomplishments. Proof that we are succeeding and making things happen. Music to my ears. I led the discussion to bring out many things that happened in Ghana's tech industry this year. There's more to come, with an eye on the over-subscribed +Barcamp Accra happening on December 23rd at the World Bank office, but let's recap some of what has happened in this year.

Ghana had been crying for iHub type spaces and then after +mFriday's Tech Hub was launched last year, 2013 saw the launch and opening of 2 community tech spaces - iSpace and Hub Accra.  iSpace was founded by +Fiifi Baidoo & +Josiah Eyison, and funded by +Google Africa & Indigo Trust. It is a space for entrepreneurs and developers to work out of, meet and find resources. It hosted multiple +BloggingGhana meetups, hackathons, the +Mpwr networking soiree and the recent +Tech Needs Girls Gh Hour of Code event. The +The Vim Series was inactive this year but the Google Developers Group organized a meetup around the +Google Cloud Developer Challenge event, led by +Kobe Subramaniam. It hosts +regina agyare's Soronko Solutions and +Emmanuel Okyere's Hutspace, amongst others.

Hub Accra is a similar space run by the Open University of West Africa and SliceBiz. It hosted multiple pitch events for the Ghana Startup Cup and the Next Wave Africa pitches for female entrepreneurs. It's also hosted a monthly Hacker space too. And also a couple of The Savvy Madam events too. As well as Unreasonable At Sea event in Accra too. Wanna learn more? Ask +Victor Ofoegbu, +John Roberts+William Senyo or +Heather Cochran. On the other hand, Hub Accra partner - Slice Biz, winner of Startup Weekend Accra 2012, went on to win at the Apps for Africa Challenge as well. It hosts +Wayne Miranda's Growth Mosaic, and +Edison Gbenga's AgriPro, amongst others.

The Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence for ICT organized various Mobile Monday events in Accra around many discussions and insights on different parts of the tech industry in Ghana. KACE-AITI hosted +BloggingGhana's #BlogCamp13, which promoted more use of social media and blogs. Alongside this was the organization of Ghana's first Social Media Awards. KACE-AITI also run a successful innovation week as well. i-week 2013 featured many promising startups in Ghana. #233moments started by yours truly had a mention there as a great Ghanaian campaign on social media. Supported heavily by Google, many YouTube videos were made for startups like +kasahorow (which launched the kasahorow keyboard which I use on my Android phone), +CLAK Impressions, amongst others. +Lenny Wosornu talked about how CLAK Impressions got a lot of mileage from its YouTube video and was able to train many people around Ghana in over 10 universities on online marketing, some of which placed highly in the 2013 Google Online Marketing Challenge.


The +Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) hosted the Startup Weekend Accra event this year as well. Chillax emerged the winners. They also hosted the ONE.org team led by Bono as well as various interactions with the tech community when the Boston College crew visited. They also hosted various venture capitalists who visited Ghana recently. MEST48, a weekend startup idea to venture event, was also organized there. A couple of MEST students organized the first +Dev Congress which brought together local developers, organized at iSpace. +GDG Ghana, the umbrella Google Developers Group, also organized a DevFest at the Coconut Grove Hotel where developers came together and learnt more about Google Developer tools.

I asked about what had happened around the country since most of the discussions centered on happenings in Accra. "Barcamps!" I heard +setriakor nyomi mention it. He'd presented his Oware 3D app at +Barcamp Cape Coast this year. I talked through the various +Barcamp Ghana events that had happened this year: +Barcamp Kasoa+Barcamp Tema+Barcamp Tamale, Barcamp Cape Coast, +Barcamp Kumasi+Barcamp Ho+Barcamp Sunyani, and +Barcamp Koforidua. #BcAccra happens on December 23rd. The Tech Hub at KNUST in Kumasi hosted many tech events as well. There was an Hour of Code event as well as various workshops and seminars run in conjunction with +mFriday. They hosted a TEDx KNUST as well. 
   
This is only part 2 of what happened in the Tech scene in Ghana. I mostly covered what we covered at the Mobile Monday meetup earlier. Check Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2. "It is happening in Accra!"
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