Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kreating Kumasi Konnect

Sometime last year, +kofi yeboah had an idea for a monthly meetup. He had returned from Kenya where he attended the Amani Institute and was brimming with ideas. I admired Kofi, he reminded me of myself when I was younger. To a great extent, that's probably only because he is younger than me. I've known him since +Barcamp Cape Coast 2011 and he's grown into being more awesome, aspirational and inspirational. I wasn't surprised when he sought to organize a monthly event for social entrepreneurs in Accra. Today, that idea has given birth to Kumasi Konnect and a lot more like it are about to follow. Watch this space.

Kofi ended up moving to Kumasi late last year to start his national service with +Clean Team Ghana. Today, he's traveling to Singapore to represent Clean Team at the BOP Convention Expo. I've heard many great things about Singapore from friends like +Curtis Vanderpuije and I know Kofi will come back and share a lot of great experiences. Last year, he was selected to attend the Preparing Global Leader Academy. Via the +GhanaThink Foundation, we supported him to raise the money he needed to go to Jordan as well. I was impressed with how he took charge of the process and drove the campaign to raise the money. He's a very driven young man.

Earlier this year, I was thinking about the lack of networking amongst the entrepreneurial community in Oseikrom. Again. I remembered Kofi's meetup idea and told him we should pilot this in Kumasi. I've been part of the +Global Shapers Accra Hub's Accra Discourse and I was itching to see something similar happen in Kumasi, and in fact, around the country. I'd also seen the +mFriday group at Tech grow quieter with their regular meetings also absent. We needed to fill the void in between +Barcamp Kumasi events. So we came up with the meetup idea and eventually called it Kumasi Konnect.

We spoke with the Kumasi team for GhanaThink and selected a couple of volunteers. Soon enough, the team was formed. Kofi, +Rasheeda Yehuza+Prince Boadu+priscilla sarfo-frimpong and myself. We approached +mFriday Ghana to host the first event at the Tech Hub in KNUST and they agreed. Prince brought on Frank Boateng as the very first speaker. We were able to secure pre- and post event interviews with Ultimate Radio in Kumasi, who had supported +Barcamp Kumasi 2013 through +kojo akoto boateng's work. We had a press release and sold (free) tickets via Ego Tickets, using a Ghanaian made answer to Eventbrite, built by +Alfred Rowe.

The first event went really well. We hosted about 60 people on June 25, 2014. The budget was GHC 350. We can surely do more of these meetups for an even smaller amount. Frank Boateng gave a great speech and set the tone for more conversations. You can see a Storify story capturing Frank's soundbites, etc. Planning for the next is underway with Valerie Okudzeto (nee Labi), the CEO of Clean Team Ghana and a Mandela Washington Fellow speaking next on September 4, 2014. You can get tickets for this one at Ego Tickets as well. As usual, the hashtag is #KumasiKonnect. This is where I should say that similar events are coming to Cape Coast and Koforidua soon (already being planned) and also to Tamale after discussions at +Barcamp Tamale.

I was really proud of the team that put this together. Priscilla was getting involved in something of this nature for the first time and acquitted herself well. Rasheeda has been involved in +Tech Needs Girls Gh & already runs her own Nasara Mobile firm which supported Kumasi Konnect with SMS communication. Prince is the convenor of TEDx KNUST at which I spoke once. And you know about Kofi Yeboah already. He's taken over leadership of the +Barcamp Ghana program from me alongside +Kobe Subramaniam+Senam Aseye Bridget  +Leonard Hagan and +Rachel Hormeku. He's growing in stature just like the people I've mentioned in this blog and am excited to see them become more influential and excellent. The critical mass is growing and it has multiple champions. And we're konnecting as well. 
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