Archive for February, 2015

TechCampWestAfrica

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 11, 2015 by kola

This is one event I couldn’t get in as a participant because I had applied late for admission and entry but having been educated what the whole summit was about I was adamant to get in.

Having pestered the organizers with emails and phone calls and persistent reminders, even in the middle of the night, flooding their various social media pages with requests to get in, they offered me a way in – as a volunteer. It didn’t matter to me because all I wanted was to be part of this program. I wouldn’t mind even sleeping in the conference hall, I remember writing in one of my persistent emails and when they thought I was joking I took a trip to Accra from Tamale, during a BarCamp, to remind them that I absolutely had to be part of the #TechCampWA.

Sure you’re wondering why it’s so important to me to be a part of this program.

TechCampWA is the single largest event to have different people from all over West Africa who are doing different things, albeit similar, in different fields, coming together with industry players and sponsors to have a workshop on the way forward for African development.

These are serious minded people passionate about African growth and development and with the USEmbassy involved you know it’s no mean event.

This year the focus was on entrepreneurship and the skills needed to develop an enterprise with the theme: Adapt
Empower
Measure.

However the best part of the program was that all the 100 participants were youth from all over West Africa. The future of Africa is in the hands of the youth and it was edifying seeing African youth, both male and female, ready to take charge and do various things in their respective countries to ensure development of Africa as a whole.  

Being a social worker passionate about community development, it was imperative that I learn a few pointers not only to educate myself but to impart to the various people I partner with in trying to make Africa a better place. I had realized early on that it is never prudent to always wait for government initiatives and policy to affect development in our various communities and community by community we serve a whole nation.

It wasn’t surprising when it was established at the TechCamp that young entrepreneurs needed healthy cooperation to achieve development and not competition. One person can not do it all and as such needs other facets in different aspects to make an enterprise work.

There were various lessons for the participants and another participant shared the core lessons. http:// http://newaccra.com/things-we-learnt-from-techcampwa2015/

Being a workshop it meant hands on practical participation in several exercises and as a volunteer the various tasks assigned to me kept me flexible enough albeit busy to take in snippets of info from the various exercises.

The best exercise for me however was the JAM Session where I was to assist under the topic The Internet and Emerging Technologies in Industry. At this session it was established that technology has now made it possible to even see ideas where hitherto you only had the idea in your head, it was easier now to just see what your product looked like and have a prototype of it to do as you please. 

With just a small motherboard which has the capacity of a full computer processor, there were software and hardware available that could be acquired to make that idea tangible.

The example the facilitator gave had to do with patents and prototype building. Hitherto one had to design the specs of the product and then usually take to China, where raw materials were cheap, for the prototype to be built and the Chinese always had a duplicate of these prototypes and that’s how come the market is flooded with Chinese products which weren’t necessarily inferior but then ensured that that product that you expected to capture the market with wasn’t exclusive to you. 

The highlight of that JAM Session was the introduction of the participants to the new technology of the 3D printer which uses a polymer and other materials, depending on what the product was, to produce the product that the entrepreneur has thought about. The desktop 3D printer produces models of the idea and it was made mention that there were industrial printers that used other materials to produce full prototypes of products no matter the size. It was just a matter of time and getting raw materials into the printer.

TechCampWA was a forum to train a breed of generational thinkers, movers and shakers of the African enterprise.  Thinkers who will not only have ideas but build on those ideas given the available resources at hand.

With the field trips to the various hubs around, what other young people are doing and to the independence square to see the significance of what our forebears have done for us so we can live the way we do as Africans, participants realized that there was no way they could act in a vacuum. The resources are available and one just has to be aware of where and when to tap into these various resources.

It’s very important that we as individuals identify such opportunities to educate ourselves as youth and future leaders so we can have an effective impact on our environment and communities. It’s up to you to take the bulls by the horns, cliche as it may sound, and go out there and make your ideas work for you.

Like I always say
It begins with YOU!!