Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Recapping the Vodafone Ghana AppStar Awards & Exhibition

I've done what people will call emceeing at many Barcamps in Ghana. I'm the default +Barcamp Ghana emcee, but am trying to change that. I won't be emceeing +Barcamp Accra this Saturday. This year, I've emceed the weddings of my two sisters. I'm not sure I did a great job but I will do this better and better. Who knows? I should get +Kafui Dey MC's "How to MC any event" book. Maybe I'll become a professional emcee.  On December 3, 2014, I emceed the Vodafone Ghana AppStar Awards and Exhibition at the Fiesta Royale Hotel. This was the first I had emceed a professional event. I wasn't able to experience the event like an attendee because I was a different kind of participant. But that's why there is Twitter and hashtags :-)

I announced the day on Twitter.
Vodafone also welcomed us.
I then started reading a number of funny #appstargh tweets. I blogged about those earlier here. This was when fuel Tracker was demoed. Alongside a radio app whose name I can't remember now.
I introduced the judges. My +Party Crew buddy +Derek Bossman+Julius Owusu-Kyerematen who I knew from the States and +Todd Holcombe from the +Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology.
After wondering who will be finally especially be in the established app category, we learnt about it at the event.
The Vicinity App was demoed first. This app helps users find waakye spots, ATMs, and other places of interest around them. +Priscilla Haizel who I met this year was on the team with other MEST EITs Aberdeen Adelu and +Barnabas Nsoh.
I had missed most of the +VodafoneGhana #IconsRemix goodness because I didn't have a TV. So I didn't realise @AliceTwum and co when they came in. I thought they were media people because we were asked to vacate some seats we were in for them. Anyway, Alice, who was the 2nd runner up of the Vodafone Icons Remix edition sang a song after. Because I never knew the song, I thought it was hers. "I blast!" :-)
Smart Doctor was the next app to be demoed.
The Vodafone Icons first runner-up Titi (@icons_titi) and then the winner Chris (@Icons_Chris) performed after.
I released my first tweet while at the event. My phone's been having staying alive problems. Sigh.
Africa's Legends. That's what +Eyram Tawia and +Nana Kwabena Owusu will become part of. Kobby asked about African superheroes and someone in the audience mentioned my name. Honoured. Eish, I just remembered I have to write that blog post about how I do all I do.
GH Vigilante demoed next.
I was very happy when Africa's Legends won! More money and bragging rights for +Leti Arts. Kobby, Eyram and I go way back. Really proud of them.
Vicinity won! Another team from MEST? The +Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology schools just keep on #winning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Father Christmas of Barcamps in Ghana is here - Barcamp Accra 2014!

It's been a busy year for the +Barcamp Ghana program. On Saturday, we have our 14th Barcamp this year, which will also be the 8th Barcamp in Accra, since 2008. Barcamp Accra 2014 is a free networking forum where people will learn from, share and network with each other. It's a place for you to get inspired, motivated, connected, learn about opportunities, learn, share, promote in a fun environment. You won't get the full picture until you come. Or check out some photos. We've championed people starting up, making change, doing and being entreprising. For this Barcamp, we'll focus on how to grow what has been started and is doing well. Go on, register here!

The +Barcamp Accra team has seen a lot of changes, and this is also mostly because the +GhanaThink Foundation is growing. Folks move on to new roles, responsibilities, etc. As such this year's team is pretty new. In fact, most of the core team was not directly involved in organizing Barcamp Accra 2013+nii nai-kwade is now our coordinator, while +Bubune Sorkpor focuses on our resource personnel. What a lineup of mentors we have! +duncan qwame joins from the +Barcamp Koforidua team, as well as +Andrews Otoo from the +Barcamp Cape Coast team. +Barcamp Kumasi's +Yayra Tay, while transitioning to help keep a sane structure for GhanaThink, is on the team, joined by +Nana Fynn Class-Peters from the +Barcamp Takoradi team. +Atitsogbui Patrick Keli is a new member, rounding up the core team with +Watson Bedzrah. The +Barcamp Ghana team members +kofi yeboah +Leonard Hagan +Senam Aseye Bridget +Kobe Subramaniam and +Rachel Hormeku are playing their supporting roles as well. We foresee many Barcamps around Accra next year. If you want to organize one, contact any of them.

We've seen many startups win local and international awards, especially this year. We're looking to celebrate a lot of them. A lot of things have also happened in 2014 around Ghana. We'll find a way to incorporate a lot of them at the Barcamp. It's the end of year shindig for positive change in Ghana. You don't want to miss it. Join us to discuss this at the event or via the hashtag #bcaccra. Read the press release below to learn more.

BarCamp Accra 2014 is a free networking event to bring people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue about Accra, Ghana and beyond. The event shall be held on December 20 at Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. The theme is also “Expanding Excellent Entreprises”. This Barcamp event will be the 42nd organized by the GhanaThink Foundation, as part of its Barcamp Ghana program which is building a network of change makers, doers and entrepreneurs.

GhanaThink celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Over the 6 years of Barcamps in Ghana, we've championed 'starting up'. We've seen the creation of many Ghanaian-owned entreprises. Now, we need to see these entreprises grow. At Barcamp Accra, we will discuss, in interactive sessions, what some Ghanaian entreprises are doing well and how they can expand. We'll cap off the day with breakout sessions.

There will also be the popular speed mentoring sessions with many inspirational people. Confirmed mentors include Bridget Otoo (TV3), +Rosy Fynn (Surfline), +Anima Misa Amoah (Sapphire Productions), Gifty Bingley (Tigo), +Afua Ankomah (Open Data), Stephanie Aboagye (EY), +Tanko Mohammed (GNFoods), +Kwabena Poku (MediaPop), Inna Patty (MissGhana), +Christabel Dadzie  (Ahaspora), +Alex Adjei Bram - [SMSGH] (SMS GH), +selorm branttie (mPedigree), +Anita Erskine  (Viasat1), +Nana Yaw Asiedu (Oxford & Beaumont), +Caroline Sampson (YFM & ETV), +Raja Owusu-Ansah (Republic), +Regina Agyare  (TechNeedsGirls), Hamdiya Ismaila (Venture Capital Ghana), +Franklin Cudjoe (IMANI Ghana), +Esi ! Ansah (Axis HCL), +Godwin Etse Sikanku (Legon), +Beryl Agyekum (Echo Haus), etc.

Register at http://barcampaccra14.eventbrite.com/. You can also register by sending “Barcamp Accra Your Name Your Email Address” to 1945 (example - Barcamp Accra Esi Eshun esi@eshun.co) . Contact us via barcamp at www.ghanathink.org for sponsorship or partnership opportunities.

Barcamp Accra is supported by the +Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, +Making All Voices Count, +Kimathi Kuenyehia Foundation, SMS GH, mPedigree, +Saazaa Shoes+Surfline GH, Nandimobile. Our media partners are +Spy Ghana, Modern Ghana, Echo Haus, +TV3 NETWORK LIMITED GHANA, +viasat ghana, +Citi97.3FM, Y 107.9 FM, and X 95.1 FM.

Check out Barcamp Accra on Twitter |Facebook | Google+

Friday, December 5, 2014

Marking International Volunteer Day in Ghana via #volunteeringh

Today, I was on TV3's New Day morning show talking about the +Ghana Volunteer Program. I went with +Dieu-Donne Gameli who organized an NVDay activity this year, as well as Utopia Wishlist's +Kofi Asare Aboagye who organized NVDay activities last year and this year. Bridget Otoo asked us some great questions, especially about +GhanaThink Foundation too. Many thanks to +nana aba Anamoah who set up this interview. On this occasion of International Volunteer Day, the GVP team is using this opportunity to promote volunteerism in Ghana and account for its work so far. You can read more about this from our press release below.

Aside our TV3 interview, we have a lot of media engagement as part of the anniversary. +William Osilaja Boampong of the GVP team was joined by +klenam fiadzoe, an NVDay14 activity organizer with the Rotaract Club of Accra South, interviewed by +Benkoku Avle. The GVP lead +Ela Asare was joined by team member +krystabel vorsah and Chris of the CSR Hub on Live 91.9 FM. +duncan qwame, a GhanaThink member passionate about volunteerism was interviewed by +Kwaku David on XFM 95.1, joined by +Rita Kusi who also organized an NVDay activity this year in conjunction with Klenam's group.

In Kumasi, +Baaba Forster-Forson of the +Creativity Group and +maame ama tuFfet of #One4TheKids were interviewed on Focus 94.3 FM about today's subject matter, pertaining to what they did in Kumasi this year. In Ho, +Barcamp Ho members +Elvis Bomasah & +Courage Christson Tetteh were interviewed by Kuul 103.5 FM about NVDay in the Volta region. +Barcamp Tamale's +maccarthy lomotey was joined by +Ruka Yaro & +portia dery on Bishara Radio to talk about NVDay activities in Tamale this year+Jon Mydaz will be

See the full press release via the GhanaThink website. A few highlights of that are below.

GhanaThink's Ghana Volunteer Program (GVP) is marking one year since it’s inception. As some of you might be aware of, the National Volunteer Day Initiative (NVDay) which started on September 21, 2013, metamorphosed into GVP and was launched on the 5th of December 2013 - International Volunteer Day - across social media and traditional media.  

The focus of GVP at present is to acquire volunteers for volunteer opportunities around Ghana. GVP also helps volunteer activity organizers find volunteers. This program seeks to encourage volunteerism in Ghana, and to market and make attractive volunteer activities. In furtherance of this focus, in 2014, GVP sourced for Volunteers for three events namely: Dain Agribusiness Workshop, Chale Wote Street Art Festival, Lifebuoy Global Handwashing day.

The second National Volunteer Day spanned across from 20th - 22nd September. Volunteers used the holiday and weekend to create, support and join volunteer activities. Many people joined to volunteer in GH for NVDay14. About 80 activities were documented, in 8 of our 10 regions and this involved 1,022 volunteers. There was a lot of online and offline engagement and publicity before, during and after these activities.  Reactions and feedback were captured via Storify.

On the occasion of 2014’s International Volunteer Day, the GVP team engages the media all over Ghana discussing the work done so far under the program and what the future plans are for our nation. Through these engagements, we will encourage more people to do community service within Ghana. The GVP lead, Eleanor Asare commented: “The volunteer spirit is the same our founding fathers engendered within our citizenry. We would be cherishing the ideals of founding Ghana and joining a national effort to work for Ghana”. Volunteering demonstrates initiative and hard work, two ideals that many organizations look for while hiring. The GVP team and all of GhanaThink believes that by volunteering, volunteers would be building their CVs and experience.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The 2nd Barcamp Kasoa is finally here! #bckasoa

I sit in my father's home office in Kumasi as I type this blog post. +Barcamp Kasoa is tomorrow morning. I won't be there. I'll be in Kumasi like I was today for my sister +Stacey Mensah's engagement. She gets married tomorrow and aside collecting 'akonta sekan' amongst other things, I have to emcee the reception. Just like I did for Tracey Mensah's wedding which fell on the same day as Barcamp Ashesi. I trust the +Barcamp Kasoa organizing team, ably supported by the +Barcamp Ghana team, to hold a successful Barcamp tomorrow. This will be our 41st Barcamp, after +Barcamp Sunyani last weekend, which was the 40th. Go, +GhanaThink Foundation, go!

Barcamp Kasoa was born out of the initiative of +Elorm Billy-Awittor & +Mawuli Tsikata who wanted to bring the Barcamp goodness to Kasoa. The first event faced a number of challenges, including the serious thought of considering having it at Methodist University College with the help of the +GDG Methodist University College Ghana, especially +Raindolf Owusu & +Jeffery Abas. Elorm & Mawuli were supported by +krystabel vorsah+Emelia Agblevor and +Edmund Laryea, and the first Barcamp Kasoa happened in April 2013. +jennepha omueti who attended that event and +Danshiki Lapido joined the team this year. I'm excited to see how Elorm, Krystabel, Emelia, Edmund, Jennifer, Danshiki work with the +Barcamp Ghana team members - +kofi yeboah +Leonard Hagan and +Senam Aseye Bridget.

Kasoa is growing steadily and now there is also the presence of the West Hills Mall. I know it's in Weija, but we can't discount how it will affect Kasoa. The Kasoa interchange is also in the works. There's so much to discuss in contributing a healthy market for business in Kasoa. Join us to discuss this at the event or via the hashtag #bckasoa. Read the press release below to learn more.

BarCamp Kasoa 2014 is a free networking event to bring people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue about Kasoa, Ghana and beyond. This event would take place on November 29, 2014 at Hase International School, Kasoa. The theme is 'Contributing to a healthy market for business'. This 2nd Barcamp Kasoa event will be the 41st Barcamp in Ghana. This is part of the Barcamp Ghana program run by the GhanaThink Foundation, building a network of changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs.
At Barcamp Kasoa, we will discuss ways to make Kasoa a more attractive place to do business with a focus on health and sanitary conditions. We would discuss the present state of Kasoa, its emerging growth and how it will be affected by the many projects happening around it. We would also discuss how Kasoa and its surrounding areas can be positively affected by youth and how the youth can tap into the many opportunities around them. “Many young people have innovative ideas that needs funding and mentorship support, that is our focus for Barcamp Kasoa”, says Kofi Yeboah - Barcamp Ghana lead, “we want to bring together mentors and agencies that fun ideas to be under one umbrella”.

Barcamp Kasoa will feature a team from Ushahidi in Kenya, which will discuss Making All Voices Count, an international initiative that contributes towards effective governance and accountability by enabling citizen engagement and open, responsive government in 12 countries in Africa and Asia. The consortium is seeking additional innovative ideas for funding as well as an opportunity to learn from current actors across various fields in Ghana. Reach for Change is organizing a Digital Changemakers competition sponsored by Tigo. Come learn more about these opportunities at Barcamp Kasoa!  

Thought and business leaders in various areas will share insight and inspiration. As usual, we will have multiple user-generated breakout sessions about topics relevant to Kasoa and beyond. Our speed mentoring session will help participants gain insights and answers to questions. Our confirmed resource personnel include +Monica Nthiga ( +Ushahidi), +Francis Addai (Rancard), Awura Abena Agyeman ( +WEAR Ghana GHANA ), +Angorkor Nai-Kwade (WEAR Ghana), +George Anti (Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance), Samuel Agyemang-Prempeh (WEAR Purple), +Derek Bossman ( +AdsBrook), +Gerard Yitamkey ( +Ahonya.com), +Sam Dogbatse (Reach for Change), +Kwaku David ( +Kwaku DavidPhotography) etc.

Register at Barcamp Kasoa Eventbrite site. You can also register by sending “Barcamp Kasoa, Your Name, Your Email Address” to 1945 on all mobile networks.(example - Barcamp Kasoa Esi Eshun esi@eshun.co). Contact us via barcamp at www.ghanathink.org for sponsorship or partnership opportunities. Barcamp Kasoa 2014 is supported by Making All Voices Count, mPedigree GoldKeys, Saazaa Shoes, +Reach for Change, Nandimobile, +Inform Ghana, +BloggingGhana. Our media partners are +Spy Ghana, XFM, Radio Universe, +CitiFM Fanpage.

Stay tuned via our social media. Hashtag is #bckasoa. Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wherever you are in Ghana, Jumia is here for you

I first learnt about Jumia via a billboard in Lagos (on the main bridge connecting the island and the mainlands) sometime in 2013. I was in Las Gidi working with external and internal clients for Rancard. Given what we know about putting billboards and their costs, I was giddy about seeing these - for an ecommerce website nonetheless. I later found out it was a ‘popular’ website for Nigerians to buy items online. Amazon for Nigeria. This month, still Africa’s leading online retailer, Jumia, launched in Ghana. Ghana is the latest African country Jumia is operating in. Akwaaba, Jumia.

Jumia first launched in 2012 and has already successfully brought e-commerce to Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon. If you know more about Jumia, you know it’s actually managed by Rocket Internet, one of the most aggressive tech companies worldwide. With German type efficiency and American type aggression and African type resourcefulness, Jumia is growing at a fast pace. I fully expect it to ramp up quickly in Ghana and be a major player in the space here shortly. So don’t be surprised when you see their billboards in town. Actually, I will not be surprised if we don’t see their billboards in town. Maybe they’ll do more BTL this time, then ATL. (below-the-line, above-the-line advertising.

Jumia is part of Africa Internet Holding’s portfolio. AIH is the parent group of nine successful and fast-growing companies in more than 20 African countries, accounting for over 3000 staff. That’s a lot of IT jobs right there, which has been a major discussion point in the ongoing Innovation Month in Ghana. AIH’s network of companies includes JUMIA, Kaymu, Hellofood, Lamudi, Carmudi, Zando, Jovago, Lendico and Easy Taxi. Easy Taxi is a popular service amongst people in my network. HelloFood is patronized here and Lamudi has been making some good waves.https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif
One of the most impressive things about Jumia is that they have their own warehouses and delivery teams. They have recently turned on a variety of payment options including cash on delivery, credit card and mobile money as well - closing the loop on e-commerce and payments. Jumia has adapted the global megatrend for African consumers and won the trust of a large and constantly growing customer base. I wasn’t surprised when I realised they were among the first cohort of companies in Stanford SEED’s West Africa program, hosted in Accra when I attended the launch.

According to a 2013 report by good old McKinsey, Ghana has 3.5 million internet users and an internet penetration rate of 55% in urban areas, while a quarter of city residents go online daily, the second-highest rate in Africa. To do what exactly, I’d love to know. A quarter is impressive, and will be more meaningful when we collectively go online and do more than communicate amongst ourselves. I must add my favorite stat - Ghana also has more mobile users than people. That means a whole lot of people accessing Jumia will be via the phone. Being mobile responsive cannot be underrated. At all at all at all.

Temitope Abereoje is the Country Manager for Jumia Ghana. I will forgive you if you thought of Nigerian aggression. But believe you me, the Jumia Ghana team will operate Ghana with a lot of insight, while borrowing from best practices elsewhere. In a press statement, Temitope said: “This is another exciting step for Jumia. We are confident that Ghanaians will embrace the opportunity to shop easily and conveniently online, and are committed to maintaining our high standards of security, great value and fantastic service as we continue to expand across the continent.”

In spite of the cedi’s troubles, Ghana is still one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, with a GDP of $37 billion. If the masses thronging the new mall in Accra is anything to go by, it is proven that Ghanaians have an increasing purchasing power and are in a position to begin taking full advantage of online services. These point to a great market for Jumia to thrive in and Ghanaians to gain more value from being online. But you can stop reading from me now. Here are some other testimonials. Go on, select an item, register your order and get it delivered anywhere in Ghana.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The 3rd Barcamp Takoradi is finally here! #bctdi

Next year, the +GhanaThink Foundation will break the buck of having +Barcamp Takoradi only in even years - 2010, 2012, 2014. This year's Barcamp Takoradi will focus on building a neworked community which can be leveraged for more special things to happen in the Twin-Cities of Ghana. Let's welcome the 3rd Barcamp in Takoradi (arguably the 3rd biggest city in Ghana). I missed the first one though in 2010, when +Mac-Jordan Degadjor led a team alongside +Donald Ward +Teresa Lemaire +Kwamena Appiah-Kubi and co to organize it. The event was held at the Takoradi Technical Institute. Saturday's Barcamp Takoradi will be at +Takoradi Polytechic just like in 2012, but in a different venue.

Barcamp Takoradi 2010 was the first Barcamp +Kobe Subramaniam attended. Today, he's part of the +Barcamp Ghana team alongside +kofi yeboah, +Senam Aseye Bridget +Rachel Hormeku and Takoradi native +Leonard Hagan. +Nana Fynn Class-Peters who's held the fort greatly run our recent Twitter chat in the run-up to the event. +araba assafuaba yelbert joined the team this year and is the defacto lead - while only a second year student at T-Poly. After several calls for volunteers based in Takoradi, +herbert acheampong joined our team alongside some Curious Minds - +Dora Mochiah & Dora Ampaabeng. +Enock Seth Nyamador, who's attended multiple Barcamps, and joined the +Ghana Volunteer Program, is contributing as well. He's currently studying nearby, at the University of Mines in Tarkwa.

I'm looking forward to a great event with a lot of awesome people based in Takoradi (and Sekondi), all of which will find a lot of value in being there. It's well documented now that Takoradi is not growing as quickly as it should and its growth is having adverse effects on its residents. In 2011, I wrote this blog post - Watching, guiding and aiding Takoradi's growth. I am looking for first hand experiences in order to rewrite this story. Join me at the event or participate via the #bctdi hashtag. Read the press release below.

BarCamp Takoradi 2014 is a FREE networking forum to bring people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue about Takoradi, Ghana and beyond. The Theme for this year is "Building skills to leverage on local opportunities" BarCamp Takoradi 2014 will take place in 15th November 2014 at the School of Applied Arts Conference room at Takoradi Polytechnic. It hopes to assemble Western Regional stakeholders to network, build a supportive entreprising community and partnership. Participants will learn from, share and network with each other.

The 3rd Barcamp Takoradi is as part of the Barcamp Ghana program run by the GhanaThink Foundation, an NGO based both in Ghana and the USA. GhanaThink has organized 38 BarCamps in Ghana in building a network of changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs. This Barcamp will connect and strengthen a community of motivated and aspirational people in the Twin-cities, ultimately benefiting the Western region and Ghana.

At Barcamp Takoradi, we will discuss how residents in the Twin Cities - Sekondi & Takoradi - can acquire relevant skills to take advantage of the economic growth in the area. From the recent pre-event chat on Twitter via the #bctdi hashtag, many people spoke about the need for opportunities to be given to young people in Takoradi. Other respondents argued that the young people must be qualified in order to take on these (job) opportunities. Ato Ulzen-Appiah, director of the GhanaThink Foundation commented: "There are various opportunities and gaps that need to be filled as Takoradi grows. Ghanaians must build skills and expertise to take advantage of these".
Thought and business leaders such as Seth Awuku (leading lawyer), James Pyne (Oil & Gas) and Issa Ouedrago (Revolutionary Farmer) in the region will share insight and inspiration. As usual, we will have multiple user-generated breakout sessions about topics relevant to the Western Region and beyond. Our speed mentoring session will help participants gain insights and answers to questions. Our confirmed mentors include +Afua Prempeh (Mandela Washington Fellow), +Fiifi Adinkra (+Ghana Ndwom), +Andy Adisi (Empire FM), Kwame Mensah (WERENGO), Joe Jackson (co-founder of SOFT), Kojo Sam (Network Engineer), Solomon Da Costa (Tigo), +nana kofi koomson (233Times), Sia German (IPMC), etc.

Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Takoradi eventbrite website (barcamptakoradi14.eventbrite.com). You can also register by sending “Barcamp Takoradi, Your Name, Your Email Address” to 1945 on all mobile networks (example - Barcamp Takoradi Esi Eshun esi@eshun.co) . Contact us via barcamp at ghanathink dot org for sponsorship or partnership opportunities. Barcamp Takoradi is supported by Takoradi Poly NSBE, Reach for Change, Curious Minds Ghana, Nandimobile, Empire 102.7 FM, Melody 91.1 FM, Spy Ghana.

Stay tuned via our social media. Twitter | Facebook| Google+

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