Open Collaboration for African Techies
Some people still wonder what the point of a “barcamp” is… Cameroon’s campers think it’s great for the tech community to get together, share our experiences, promote each other, find avenues for collaboration and just network. But here are a few reasons why BarCamp Cameroon 2013, held last weekend on October 26th at UIDB, was probably Buea’s most memorable tech event till date.
Rebecca Enonchong’s Keynote: Having a patron of Cameroon’s tech community officially welcome participants to “Silicon Mountain” is like a mark of approval on the work that’s been going on and motivation for newcomers in this space. Will Buea actually become Cameroon’s indisputable technology hub? The story is as yet untold, but having the CEO of AppsTech cast her vote of confidence is a call to action and a reminder of the potential that resides within the small mountain town.
All Tech Everything: Disappointingly, professionals from industries that don’t appear to have a direct link with technology often fail to realize how technology can be leveraged to improve business. This notion was dispelled at multiple points throughout the day’s events but we thought the “Bamboo Man” expressed it best. Durable cell phone cases, laptop shells and even laptop bags add a jungle aesthetic to your hardware. But more importantly, Lekuama Ketuafor Godwin honed his craft to provide for a growing trend. Think tech, then think in all directions. Call him at +237 72 67 49 55 to order.
Lunch a.k.a Item 11: Our lunch was catered by Master Chef, a small restaurant in Buea’s Molyko area and Bonga Juice, a fresh juice startup that is all the rave in Buea. Bonga Juice in particular say they want to “keep the community’s entrepreneurs healthy”. Getting local food and drink fledglings to cater at #bccam13 was cool enough; especially when the juice cups have BarCamp Cameroon stickers on them. But here’s the scoop, both of these providers source several of their ingredients from Agro-Mart. Yes, our very own Agro-Hub‘s supermarket. Now you see why those juices deserve those stickers.
“Made In Cameroon” software: One of the highlights of #bccam13 was Feem, a LAN data sharing application developed by Fritz Ekwoge, CEO of FeePerfect. Feem itself witnessed a multitude of new users but it was amazing to see participants communicating and sharing over Feem the entire day. Hearing the Francophone attendees saying “je vais te Feem ça” (“I’ll Feem it to you”) was definitely a proud “Made In Cameroon” moment.
On behalf of the BarCamp Cameroon committee, ActivSpaces would like to say a big thank you to all the sponsors, volunteers, and participants that made it happen. We can’t wait till the next time we see you in Silicon Mountain!
PS. Contact us to find out more information about the BarCamp Cameroon 2013 CD. It contains all the presentations and software that featured during the event. If you’d like a copy please shoot us a mail and we’ll try and get one to you.
This is a message from the BarCamp Cameroon 2013 committee (http://blog.barcampcameroon.org/).
We hope you’re all excited and getting ready for BarCamp Cameroon 2013. There are a few reminders and pointers that we’d like to give you to help prepare you for the event.
Please do well to print out your tickets and bring them along with you to the event. These will give you access to refreshments, the possibility of reimbursements for those of you coming from out of town, and of course the after-party at Peeps Lounge. The ticket is your Camper’s Pass and will keep you a happy camper ;)
In the spirit of BarCamp, presentations will be scheduled on the fly during the event. However, we’re also offering priority placements for those of you who indicate the willingness to do a presentation beforehand. We’re inviting everybody to try and present something; show that you’re made in Cameroon! Please send the title of your presentation, your name and/or the name of your organization to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com. Sessions per participant will be 10-15 minutes of presentation followed by 5-10 minutes of Q&A (approximately 20 minutes in total). Please bear this in mind. If you would like to host a longer discussion, please inform us as soon as possible.
For attendants coming from out of town and needing overnight accommodation in Buea, please do well to contact Wasamundi staff (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible. The sooner you reach out to Wasamundi the better assistance they can give you. The earliest birds may have access to free accommodation while later requests will have decent discounted prices at various lodges in Buea.
We’re looking forward to seeing you at BarCamp Cameroon 2013. Stay tuned though, there’s no telling what this BarCamp may throw at you!
From uncomfortable seating to the practically nonexistent schedules, travelling in Cameroon by public transportation is often a hassle. One startup is trying to make it easier for Cameroonians to reserve seats and purchase bus tickets while simultaneously rendering a real-time accounting solution to the transportation agencies involved. We recently caught up with Acha Nelson, Co-Founder and CEO of QuickTicket to give us a quick run-through of what his venture’s been up to.
Nelson’s definition of QuickTicket illustrates a strategic, two-pronged approach to the market…
“QuickTicket, located in Buea, Cameroon will serve the general public, providing a real time connection to agencies by allowing users to check bus schedules, reserve or purchase tickets, choose favorable seats, monitor the status of buses, check for parcel deliveries online and receive bus and delivery status updates via SMS.
In addition, QuickTicket aims to provides administrative, accounting and data analysis software to bus companies for inter-agency co-ordination and better management.”
On how ActivSpaces’ business acceleration program has affected QuickTicket, Nelson is very candid…
“It has been a bit tiring, but it has broadened my horizons and made me think more like an entrepreneur. I get to think not just of a simple product, but of a sustainable product that can serve not just the public, but also fit into the core problems of bus agencies and other companies, with revenue to finance its operations and make profit, while creating jobs for our society. I have had to ask my self the hard questions of why I do what I do, and what is the best thing for my startup, and the answers have revealed countless problems affecting many parts of the world and the best way to build my product in order to scale to an international company.”
The 12-week business acceleration program at ActivSpaces (the Activation BootCamp) equips startups for entry into the marketplace. Nelson’s outlook after the boot camp is optimistic…
“The most interesting part of our startup is that some clients and even the general public have taken a great interest in what we are doing and we have an offer to fund our start-up expenses. We also have a few other potential investors and it is interesting that our biggest potential investor is a Cameroonian, which is rare. Also we just discovered a competitor and a potential client has just declared us to be better, though we haven’t done a deal yet. We also have a lot of more features to developed. The only depressing part is that of financing. Before the boot camp, we never really thought we will need that much, but have already burned through what we prepared in the research and other trips. Hopefully, we will sort through all of that.”
QuickTicket is fresh out of the Activation Boot Camp and we’re looking forward to seeing what they’ll be achieving in the coming weeks and months. If you would like to stay updated, grab their details below.
Location: Buea, Cameroon
Founded: January 2013
As QuickTicket prepares its entry into the marketplace, we’re seeking partnerships, support and mentoring. Check out our public profiles, support us on Vc4Africa, and help us make it happen!
October will mark three years of ActivSpaces’ existence; of dedication towards fostering technology and entrepreneurship in Cameroon. We’ve experienced ups and downs, failures and successes, scrapped projects and innovations. We’re not alone in these trials and we’ve had the opportunity to witness and share in the exponential growth of Cameroon’s tech community. As our three year anniversary approaches, we want nothing more but to share these stories beyond the sphere of this new league of startups. We want every Cameroonian and world citizen to understand how technology and entrepreneurship can impact a society, and think forward to more solutions, novel enterprise and game-changing invention. In this light, we’re honored to be coordinating BarCamp Cameroon 2013.
What is BarCamp?
BarCamp Cameroon is the biggest annual gathering of passionate individuals from all fields of the digital and technology society: entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, bloggers, journalists, activists and students. It’s a meeting of forward-thinking minds coming together to discuss the myriad opportunities and challenges we face in this technological era. BarCamp is dubbed a “non-conference” because of its informal format and on-the-spot scheduling. Still, quality discussions, stimulating interaction and a trade fair-like atmosphere are some of its hallmarks. We see BarCamp as a combining platform between Cameroon’s technology and civil society, geared at addressing grand issues of the day.
On October 26th, BarCamp Cameroon will for the first time be held in one of Cameroon’s two Anglophone regions – the one dubbed “the place to be” – and ActivSpaces’ very own hometown, Buea. The theme for 2013 is “Made In Cameroon” and the event will be a showcasing of the numerous, locally developed, technology-driven projects and a bid to the general public to adopt the DIY spirit of entrepreneurship.
Just some things to look out for…
1) BarCamp Community Wireless Network
The BarCamp Community Wireless Network will host digital brochures of sponsors and startups. It will also hold demo software and applications built by local entrepreneurs. This year we want participants to leave with more than memorable discussions. We want them to have access to digital content that they can actually use and candidly pass the message that innovations have indeed been made in Cameroon.
2) Creative Industries Lounge
We’re strong believers that Africa can develop by sharing its culture across the world, a feat that can be tackled through the creative industries. This year, a lounge will be dedicated to lovers of interactive media and video games. Talks will be held by leading game developers and other players from Cameroon’s creative industries.
3) BarCamp Challenge
When you get to Buea in October (which you must do), be sure to log on to the BarCamp Community Wireless Network or risk losing out. We’re going to be hosting the BarCamp Challenge, a digital quiz of sorts, to discover and reward the day’s most active participants. If you find yourself among the day’s winners, you’ll find out what’s in the goodie bag ;)
Get your Camper’s Pass now from Eventbrite. Only ticket holders will have access to free refreshments and travel funding reimbursement at the event (provided for by BarCamp Cameroon’s benevolent sponsors). There are only 200 tickets up for grabs. The clock is ticking…
Buea’s tech community would like to welcome participants to the place to be and show you how techies party when they’re not geeking out. Hold on to your Camper’s Pass as Peeps Lounge is set to provide free drinks to the first 30 entrants at the #bccam13 after-party! It’s going to be… wait for it… legendary!
As from this very moment, follow @barcampcameroon and the #bccam13 hashtag on Twitter for real-time updates about BarCamp Cameroon. Contact us at ActivSpaces for any inquiries you may have about the event and planning a trip to Buea. Information on the BarCamp Cameroon website may be in a state of flux in the weeks leading up to the event. Things may change but this is afterall the nature of BarCamp Cameroon.
When: October 26th, 2013 | 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Where: UIDB Buea, Block 2
How: Download your Camper’s Pass
As usual, stay tuned. There will be more announcements and possibly material made available before the event to prepare participants. Most importantly help spread the word. We want to see everybody there!
The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) has announced the call for the 2014 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). The prize honors and encourages innovative achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or saving cost in Africa. The prize also promotes among young African men and women the pursuit of science, technology and engineering careers as well as business opportunities with potentials of contributing to sustainable development in Africa.
The IPA is focused on:
• Mobilizing leaders from all sectors to fuel African innovation
• Promoting innovation across Africa in key sectors through the competition
• Promoting science, technology and engineering as a rewarding career path among African youth.
• Encouraging entrepreneurs, innovators, funding bodies and business development service providers to exchange ideas and explore innovative business opportunities.
The IPA anticipates contributing to the following outcomes:
Applications for IPA 2014 close on October 31st, 2013 so get your innovations in now. Visit the IPA website for more information and updates about the competition and join their community on Facebook. You can also view and share this flyer for further details about IPA’s priority areas.
We hope to see more innovations from Cameroon compete for the prize this year. Entrepreneurs should feel free to reach out to us for application support at the hub.
This blog is a resource for news, project updates, member profiles and community events at ActivSpaces, an open collaboration space, innovation hub and startup incubator for African techies. Based in Buea, Cameroon.