Open Collaboration for African Techies
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.
The Tech Trailblazers Awards strengthens African ties with AfriLabs Partnerships
Last week, 1st August 2013 – The global enterprise tech startups awards, The Tech Trailblazers (@techtrailblaze) announced a partnership with AfriLabs (@Afrilabs), a pan-African network of technology and innovation hubs promoting the growth and development of the African technology sector. AfriLabs believes that by working together, individual labs improve the chances of success and create greater opportunities for its members.
With 20 accelerators and hubs in 13 countries across Africa and an active social media following, AfriLabs is the largest tech hub network in Africa and in the perfect position to support a partnership that reaches across multiple countries on the continent.
As part of the partnership with the Tech Trailblazers Awards, AfriLabs is now able to offer its members a chance to gain visibility with some of the technology industry’s most influential people across the world via the judging panel, as well as offering the platform for them to compete in a globally recognised enterprise technology competition, with categories including cloud, mobile, info security, big data, virtualisation, networking, storage, sustainable IT and emerging markets. In addition, all African entrants will be automatically entered for the Middle East and Africa Cup.
AfriLabs Director Tayo Akinyemi said about the partnership, “Partnering with the Tech Trailblazers Awards is a great opportunity for AfriLabs to enable its network members to be rewarded for their innovation. Making new connections with the judging network, having the chance to win great sponsor prizes and receiving visibility on an international scale is very exciting.”
Rose Ross, Founder and Chief Trailblazer said, “Being able to reach into Africa and bring their finest in enterprise technology to a global platform is going to be a great experience and it will be interesting to see how they compare with all the other entrants from around the world.”
The new African partnerships add to the collaboration with Silicon Cape, Ventureburn and Tech News. The Tech Trailblazers Awards is open to entries until September 12th 2013.
Last year’s winners and runners-up are listed at http://techtrailblazers.com/tech-trailblazers-winners-2012/
The Tech Trailblazers Awards 2014 are now open. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive regular updates or more information, follow @techtrailblaze on Twitter or via the hashtag #TTAwards, or visit Tech Trailblazers on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/tech-trailblazers-awards.
About the Tech Trailblazers Awards - www.techtrailblazers.com @techtrailblaze
Tech Trailblazers is a new concept in awards, designed explicitly for smaller businesses and startups that are five years old or less and at C-series funding or below. The awards have low barriers to entry and prizes that not only recognize startup innovation, but also proactively help startups grow their businesses with access to exclusive coaching, mentoring and development and prizes from a prize fund worth an estimated $1m+. The awards include the following categories:
In addition to the above categories, all entrants are automatically entered into the Regional Trailblazers Cup competition free of charge. The Regional Cups include:
AfriLabs is a pan-African network of tech and innovation hubs founded to support the growth of communities around African technology hubs. Each hub serves as a nexus for technologists, investors, tech companies and web/mobile engineers in its community. AfriLabs was formed to support these hubs and bolster technology as a platform for entrepreneurship and innovation. Ultimately, AfriLabs believes it will have impact by supporting the growth of Africa’s knowledge economy through the development of an innovation infrastructure composed of hubs and other key stakeholders.
Yes, indeed! After going through all the hurdles that you can only go through in Cameroon to open up an office, we’re glad to announce that ActivSpaces’ incubator in Douala will open its doors on Saturday, June 15th.
Djoss.tv, the winner of the Cameroon Startup Challenge 2012 is the first team that will make use of this space. We’re eager to get in touch with the several other Douala-based startups that have engaged us over the past few months seeking incubation. Consider this another open call for membership applications.
Startups incubated at our Douala hub will be able to benefit from a front street location in the heart of Akwa, surrounded by businesses and the energizing buzz of commerce. Mentors from our powerful benefactor, AppsTech, will scarcely be further than a flight of stairs away. This is going to be the place for ventures that feel they’re ready for action.
We’re inviting the entire technology startup community to join us at ActivSpaces Douala to celebrate this milestone. We’ve planned some creative activity so that we can own the space and the moment together. So come prepared for fun and refreshments and let’s get ready to activate Douala!
Where: ActivSpaces Douala, AppsTech Building, Akwa.
When: Saturday, June 15th, 2:00 PM
We’ll be doing a brief presentation on ActivSpaces, our mission and our milestones. We want the community to understand that they own this space and it’s there to support innovation. We’re looking for ambassadors to help spread this message.
Also, ActivSpaces Douala is still a quite bare. We’re going to be getting our hands a little dirty to decorate the space and imbue it with our spirit. So come prepared to participate and feel free to bring props of your own. We’ll end the day with networking and refreshments. Look forward to seeing you there!
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.