SHM Foundation Tackles Health at #Hack4Good Hackathon

Hackathons are beginning to be a part of Ghanaian tech culture. Just in the first half of this year, there have been about 3 of them. That’s encouraging for a country with a growing tech space like Ghana. I had the opportunity to take part in the #Hack4Good Hackathon at iSpace yesterday organized by SHM Foundation.

The iSpace Innovation Stairs

This hackathon was different in that it brought health professionals who worked with the techies all through the day. I was lucky to have Jacqueline and Kobby as part of my team. The hackathon was aimed a coming up with solutions for the health industry, an industry that can really benefit from techies in Ghana.

The event started at 9am with registrations, chat, and new people meeting each other. by 10am, a lot more people had joined and the room full enough to begin the activities planned out for the day. Josiah, co-founder of iSpace, welcomed all participants, explained the reason behind the hackathon, the rules concerning the cash prize, and wished all teams luck. For this hackathon, 50% of the cash prize would be presented on winning, and the other 50% disbursed when the prototype/MVP with the said features was completed.

Josiah of iSpace welcomes all

After that introduction, there was breakfast for all since most people had left their homes early. Team formation began after that. Team formation was different this time around. Participants numbered to 5 and people with the same numbers fell into the same groups. Later, as and when techies and health professionals arrived, the joined the groups.

The main topics for finding solutions for were as follows:

  • Sexual Health
  • Mental Health
  • Sex Education
  • Streamlining Health Policies Using Technology. 

At the end of the day, 3 teams had worked on Sexual Health, 1 on Mental Health, and another on Sex Education.

Lunch time soon came as teams were still discussing and finding practical solutions within the topic areas given. Lunch was well taken care of by the techies. Teams reconvened after that since the reporting time for pitches was 4pm. A few more hours, more prototyping, coding, and validation, time was almost up for the presentations. By 4:30, the presentations had began.

The teams and their ideas are as follows:

  1. Mentolibera: A web/SMS application which has a CSO-based approach to adopt and care for mental patients. the organizations pay through mPower Payments and are able to monitor patient’s progress online.
  2. Colorite: A mobile game that uses photographic memory of players to help them remember sexual health tips, and to find a was to engage the youth and provide useful information to promote healthy sexuality.
  3. Mentis: A gamified web/SMS application to help mental patients keep in touch with their doctors, and also provide a way for addicts to reach close people easily when they feel vulnerable.
  4. Doctor Doctor: A mobile app that simply connects patients to specialized doctors in and around their current location.
  5. Sexual Health: A web/SMS application to help people connect with doctors, and find useful information that have to deal with the very simple but negligible questions about sexuality.

After the pitches and our late snack, the stage was set for the live streaming of the Google I/O Conference Keynote. More guys from the Google Developer Group has come around. Feedback was given to each team, results were announced and Sexual Health was adjudged winners of the Hack4Good Hackathon.

Winner of the #Hack4Good Hackathon: Sexual Health

Honestly, I think the approach taken to this approach was excellent since it brought together both techies and experts. Also, the nature of the disbursement of funds encourages the techies to build the product and not just make prototypes like people have done at previous hackathons.

Congrats to all teams that participated and the organizers!

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Judges for DEMO Africa 2014 Announced As Application Deadline Ends



Press Release

The application window for DEMO 2014 has finally closed with the host VC4Africa confirming that 27 African countries are represented this year. VC4Africa Founder Ben White confirmed that Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana have the highest applicants while the areas that have attracted the highest number of applications include; Communication, Retail and Media & Entertainment. “The entrepreneurs who are accepted as applicants should make sure their profiles are brushed up to convince the judges,” he added

The applications will be vetted by an executive panel comprising experts in business and tech. The panel is tasked with the responsibility of shortlisting the best forty from the applications submitted from across the region.

The jurists who have been hand-picked based on their experience and contribution to the start-up scene in Africa include; Dele Akinsade-Nigeria, Stephen Gugu-Kenya, Bob Mbori-Tanzania, Victor Okigbo-Nigeria, Ali Hussein-Kenya, Rebecca Enonchong-Cameroon, Moses Sitati- Kenya, Kevin Schuster-Ghana, Martin Burtler-South Africa, Muchiri Nyaga-Kenya, Lukonga Lindunda-Zambia, Toby Shapshak-South Africa and Richard Tanksley-Ghana

Harry Hare, the DEMO Africa Executive producer, exuded confidence in the group. “The jury is composed of highly experienced individuals and I am positive that they will pick the best by global standards.” Harry added.

Commenting on his role in the jury, Ali Hussein one of the judges from Kenya, expressed optimism in the applicants. “Having been a judge in the previous DEMO Africa, I know there is a tough task ahead. The applications are usually very competitive. It’s not easy to decide who makes it to the final forty. However, our decision will be based on the ability to link creativity, innovation, effectiveness and scalability”.

The best forty start-ups will have a chance to launch their products to an ecosystem of VCs, investors, tech acquisition specialists, IT buyers and media from across the region and around the globe. Before launching, the startups will undergo a one and a half month coaching and mentorship program organized by DEMO Africa and the US State Department. The program will be coordinated by Dr Susan Amat, CEO, VentureHive and will include both local and international mentors and coaches.

As has been witnessed in the previous events, the September event is expected to attract top notch African investors. Participants registration is already open on https://www.eventbrite.com/e/demo-africa-2014-tickets-10936486325. The secretariat has put together a special package for investor delegates which comprises: 15% discount on a DEMO Africa ticket, 15% discount on a VC4A Pro Account, Access to the companies’ financials, Ticket to the Investor Cocktail on DEMO Africa’s opening evening, Ticket to a special Investor Bootcamp at DEMO Africa as well as access to a special Investor Lounge and Deal Room at DEMO Africa . More information on this package can be found at http://vc4afri.ca/h6j8u

DEMO Africa 2014 is scheduled to take place between 22nd and 26th of September at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. This year’s event is being organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners (Microsoft, Nokia, US State Department, DEMO, USAID, African Development Bank, VC4Africa among others) and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.

For more information please contact:

Mbugua Njihia| Event Director
Office:+254  20  404 1646
Mobile:+254  721 668 709
Email:mbugua@demo-africa.com

Evelyne Wangui | Project and Communication Manager
Office:+254  20  404 1646
Mobile:+254  726 087 451
Email: evelyne.wangui@demo-africa.com

Deadline for DEMO Africa Extended To June 22

June 16th 2014

Press Release

DEMO Africa extends application deadline to June 22
In startup land, getting through the starting blocks usually takes double the time; molding, tweaking, and playing around with ideas before finally having a ready product. Cognizant of this “universal” truth, DEMO Africa is keeping the application window open for one more week from Sunday June 15 to Sunday June 22, 2014.
Harry Hare, executive producer, DEMO Africa, said the extension has been motivated by the need to allow start-ups who have been working hard to meet the application guidelines but had not managed to do so by the initial June 15 deadline.
“From experiences, there is always a last minute rush by start-ups to comply. By extending the deadline, we want to give more time for innovators to ensure that their efforts do not go to  not waste, thereby boosting their confidence which is what we are about,” said Hare.
The VC4Africa founder Ben White supported the move to extend the deadline. He observed that the standards set by the applicants are really high and explained, “It’s always thrilling to see how hard entrepreneurs work on their applications and the jury has a tough job ahead of them. That said, many entrepreneurs have asked for more time to put their best foot forward. It’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurs on the sidelines to still get their hat in the ring, but they are going to have to move fast”.
VC4Africa is hosting the application window on http://demoafrica2014.com.
This move comes even as curtains fall on DEMO Africa’s innovation tours 2014. The tours which have been concluded in Lagos, Nigeria at the iDEA hub, have seen the DEMO Africa team visiting various countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ghana. This provided an opportunity for the team to meet Africa start-ups and coach on how best to apply for DEMO Africa 2014.
The applications will be looked through by an executive panel comprising experts in business and tech. The panel is tasked with the responsibility of shortlisting the best forty from the hundreds of applications submitted from across the region. The final forty will be based on the ability to link creativity, innovation, effectiveness and scalability. Names of the panel members will be released in the first week of July and Harry Hare assured continental representation in the selection panel.
The best forty start-ups will have a chance to launch their products to an ecosystem of VCs, investors, tech acquisition specialists, IT buyers and media from across the region and around the globe.
This history-making event is scheduled to take place between 22nd and 26th of September at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. Delegate registration is already open and those wishing to attend can take advantage of the early bird registration here http://bit.ly/1iwGWQb
This year’s event is being organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners (which include Microsoft, Nokia, US State Department, DEMO, USAID, African Development Bank, VC4Africa among others) and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.