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+

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

10000+ reasons for you to submit your app to Vodafone Appstar, by November 21st

Have an app you've developed that you want more people to know about?
Want to win GHC10,000 to support monetizing your app and work?
Want to pit yourself against developers from other countries?
Want to have your app highlighted and featured in an appstore to be accessed by millions of users?

Then participate in the Vodafone Ghana App Star Contest. Deadline is November 21, 2014!

It's a mobile app competition to uncover creative and innovative app developers in Ghana and to offer them an opportunity to compete internationally with other developers. Let me save you the fine print details. Rights to your app remain with you, and you can have your app marketed to millions of Vodafone users. Imagine what getting a 1% conversion on that would mean for your efforts?


The AppStar competition is the latest signal of intent by +Vodafone Ghana to engage the tech community further. They've already organized meetups in various communities in Ghana (including the +Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology & the +mFriday Tech Hub) to engage and promote the competition

This annual contest - first time with +Vodafone Ghana - is categorized into start-up and established developers. There's a fine line when it comes to these groupings in Ghana but it also strikes some healthy conversation about developer demand and experience in Ghana. Winners of the competition in each category in Ghana will be awarded prizes worth GHC10,000 and an all-expense paid trip to India to participate in the global App Star competition on 15th January, 2015. There, these two winners will be matched against winners from South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and India

The overall winners of the Vodafone AppStar competition (established and start-up) will win all-expense paid trips to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a congress which is one of the best places to be for people in the tech community worldwide. The second prize winners will receive USD 5,000 worth of Amazon Shopping vouchers. Other participants at the Global level will receive devices from Vodafone. Here's the real kicker though - all winners will receive free advertisements on Vodafone Group’s app store. That's millions of people accessing your app. Oh, I mentioned this already? It's just that important for you to know.

App developers in Ghana can participate by registering on the Vodafone App Star websitewww.vodafoneappstar.com  to submit their apps. Sorry for making you read this long before giving you the website. The deadline is this next Friday - November 21, 2014. But don't fret. You have an app built already, submit it. I've not seen an app competition with as much bang for buck and as much value for being open, yet.

Submit your old or new app to the Vodafone #AppStarGH competition


Sometime at the end of September, #appstargh was trending in Ghana on Twitter. Many got curious. We wouldn't have gotten to this point if Ghanaians hadn't applied their creativity. Recent times have shown that Ghanaians are comedians and will make fun of many things. In fact, you could say Ghanaians are jokers - in positive and negative ways. There was one huge beneficiary either you looked at this particular issue - AppStar GH. Turned out it's about Vodafone's App Star mobile app competition. Now, this competition is not a joke. It has some great incentives tied to it in unearthing more great Ghanaian built mobile applications. But before we delve further, you'll want to read these tweets







There's not much to say after these tweets. Is there? Ghanaians are ingenuous with words. I really admire Vodafone's social media work over the course of this year. I was featured in one of their campaigns earlier this year - #AskAto where I answered many questions about myself and social media. I blogged about it here. These campaigns are run by the folks at Echo Haus, who are doing an awesome job on social media. Social media gurus be that.

We have to show we are ingenuous with our skills as well. Some of the apps mentioned above should be pretty easy to build. There's 10,000 GHC waiting for you at the end of the competition. Go on. Build it app. Learn more about the Vodafone AppStar competition at http://www.vodafoneappstar.com/. The deadline is November 21, 2014. This next Friday. You've built an app. Submit it.


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