And the winner is…
After three gruelling days of sleepless nights and tireless #hacking, 19 apps were finally showcased in a keenly contested battle of hackers. The five main categories were in health, security/alert services, lifestyle/home services, entertainment/games, and transportation/traffic management services. On the whole for some of the ideas, while not particularly novelty, the implementation was quite interesting. In the spirit of simplification the real trick here was about making the app practical, easily accessible and relevant to Ghanaians.
|Team CheckIt crowned 2015 #MESTVodafone Hackathon Champions
This hackathon was by many standards very different. There were three levels of assessment; source code review, functionality implementation and pitches(comprising business, pitch quality among other critics considerations). At the end of the event, two teams emerged as winners and runners up. CheckIt, the 2015 #MESTVodafone Hackathon Champions took on the challenge of addressing the nagging issue fake drug peddling in Africa, particularly in Ghana. While their idea is not necessarily novelty, the simplicity of the implementation, the intuitiveness and appeal of the app, and the potential impact seems to have won the hearts of the highly esteemed judges. RoadMate, on the other hand seeks to give real time traffic updates and suggest shortest routes, public transport fares among many benefits to the regular public transport user in Ghana. They choose the crowd sourcing approach which seems to fill the nagging gap in the current Google Maps and Google Navigator due to the almost none existent addressing system in Ghana.
|Team RoadMate comes up runners up in the 2015 #MESTVodafone Hackathon.
Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology(MEST) and Vodafone Ghana extend their congratulations to the well deserving teams. All the participants are also invited to the after party at GIMPA.
DevCongress, a proud supporter of the biggest true hackathon in Ghana says a big AYIKOOO to CheckIt and RoadMate. We hope you don’t abandon the idea and go to sleep. For once, let a fully fledged idea come out of a hackathon. That is the dream!
Here is a peep into the winning apps.
Some highlight from the pitch day
#Hacking continues unabated.
After the festive opening of the biggest hackathon of the year, the #MESTVodafone #Hackathon kicked into full gear by day 2. 19 teams/app had been fully confirmed. Hacker have worked feverishly all through the night. It was impressive to find people on code-steroids hacking almost nonstop for 48 hours! The energy and drive is amazing. It is a great feeling in here.
The ideas are another thing. The innovation, the simplistic genius and the tenacity to solve problems is most commendable. Definitely one of the hacks must see the light of day.
One of the ideas that caught attention almost immediately is CaptureIT. They present the most simple way to enable journalist get almost instant access to photos of events around the world as they happen. This takes news crowdsourcing up one notch. Even more interesting is Trodini. Imagine yourself late for a very important meeting and want to get there even faster. Trodden is what will get you there. It crowdsources shortest routs to various locations and real time traffic updates to help users get there on time. It also rewards you to posting your shortcut routes.
|Trodini gets you there twice as fast!
As promised, this is not going to be your usual #kpakpakpa code. There will be special source code review and feature implementation test before the pitches. Loaded!
Here are other highlights of day 2.
The sun rose quickly, almost in a hurry to see the hackathon begin. The eventful partnership between Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) was announced in pump and splendour with the C.E.O of Vodafone Harris Broumidis and the Managing Director of MEST Ekua Odoom in attendance.
This was quickly followed by a quick and exciting launch of the hackathon. The participants then went on a pitching spree selling their ideas and skills to another. By end of the day the 150 plus participants had formed 20 teams with different innovative ideas in the areas of Lifestyle and home services, security and alert systems, health, gaming and entertainment, and transportation and traffic. These keenly passionate developers had gathered to brainstorm on pragmatic solutions to pertinent issues plaguing Ghanaians in the above mentioned areas.
“On the whole it has been a great event so far. I have met really nice people and I think we have the winning team (DATEEM). The reception has been great and the food as well. The highest point of my day has the fantastic facilitators who have helped us snapped our idea. This is just great.” says Stephan Froelich, IBM End User Support officer, @frostymarvelous
Here are a few pictures of the day. Stay tuned for more updates. Day 1 is ending but hacking continues unabated. Good luck all.
|MEST MD, Ekua Odoom signs with Vodafone Ghana CEO, Harris Broumidis
Various initiatives and partnerships have been launched recently to drive entrepreneurship among the Ghanaian youth. Beyond the promises of the government to promote entrepreneurship, other private organisations who realise the need are taking the steps to nurture more entrepreneurs.
The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology needs no introduction when it comes to software entrepreneurship across Africa. With more than 15 startups and 2 acquisitions, the school continues to chart the course of “creating globally successful software companies.”
Vodafone Ghana, one of the most profitable Vodafone branches worldwide, has been involved in providing avenues in the field of software development to bring out the best in Ghanaian youth and creating more economic opportunities. With the Mobile for Good program, and later the Vodafone App Star Competition, the involvement with the community keeps growing. (Evidence by Leti Arts winning the App Star Competition.)
This morning, the official MEST-Vodafone partnership was signed. Under this partnership, Vodafone with its infrastructure and technology base will nurture and provide support for MEST and its related developer communities. Also at the event, the MEST Vodafone Hackathon lasting the next 3 days was launched. The hackathon themed, “Powerfully Simple” presents software hackers with 5 categories within which they find pains and build viable solutions over the hackathon period.
Vodafone CEO, Harris Broumidis added that innovation from young entrepreneurs are needed because most groundbreaking software systems come from events like #MESTVodafone Hackathon. Since there is “myopia of operational framework” in large organisations, hackathons provide the platform for thinking out of the box and sparking ingenuity.” He therefore challenged the participants to, “Go out there and change the world and make the changes that we all deserve.”
We look forward to more of such partnerships as entrepreneurship takes centre stage across the continent. Does this partnership benefit you as a software developer? What are your thoughts and questions?
Over the past year, Ghanaian developers have been involved in several hackathons on various sectors in oil and gas, social good, citizenship, etc. Sometimes, I wonder if these activities are able to achieve the desired results. Many teams usually just come for the money and leave.
I have been fortunate to witness just about 2 MEST hackathons It gets more exciting as the years go by, from being in the winning team two years ago to covering it last year. The participation of developers outside MEST has increased over the years, same for the organisations involved.
This year, MEST has partnered with Vodafone Ghana to host the 2015 MEST-Vodafone hackathon which comes off from Feb 5 – 7. This is a major development as the telecoms company is beginning to gain an interest in the developer space and tech in general. First with App Star, then Mobile for Good. This hackathon promises to be better as it looks at simplifying processes across various sectors in Ghana, processes we long for daily.
It’s an opportunity to build products which provide access to information, simplify transactions, and shorten business processes, etc. As usual the prizes have been bumped up for this year – I caught wind of something exciting, details will be out later. Just stay tuned to hear more about the prizes for this year.
Participation is free, register through this link, the seats are limited. Hackathons are fast becoming a part of Ghanaian tech culture now. I hope we begin to fully appreciate and continue development on the products which are built at these events. I look forward to this hackathon. Will you be there? Any experiences of hackathons to share?
Leti Arts has been known as a pioneer for mobile games in Africa. From its beginnings with iWarrior all the way to Africa’s Legends and then to the World Cup Games for MTN Ghana, Leti Arts has become an established game brand through its awards and nominations.
Later last year, Leti Arts won in the “Most Established App” category in the Vodafone AppStar Competition in Ghana when it presented Africa’s Legends. This qualified the bonafide game company to the international competition held in India earlier this week together with Vicinity App, the winner for Upcoming Developer category from Ghana.
AppStar is the Annual Developer Contest conducted by Vodafone, for developers across several countries of African & Asian continent, to promote local talent & bring them to the international stage.
In the international competition in India this year, Leti Arts competed with several other app stars from Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and India.
Leti Arts came tops internationally as the winners were announced. Second place was CarGuru from South Africa, which simplifies “your motoring experience, to provide one easy-to-use resource for all your motoring needs.”
We are excited a Ghanaian company has won this international competition setting an example for several upcoming tech startups from Ghana. Congratulations to the team!
Have you tried any of Leti Arts’ apps yet? What do you think about Vodafone App Star?
iSpace Foundation is happy to announce Selection of Ethel Cofie one of its supporters for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Washington Fellowship. iSpace is a space for developers, innovators, entrepreneurs and technology lovers to come together in a shared facility and work together.
The Washington Fellowship is the new flagship program of the President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). This program will bring over 500 young leaders to the United States for leadership training, academic coursework, and mentoring, and will create unique opportunities in Africa to put those new skills to practical use .
As part of the Fellowship Ethel will be Interacting with President Obama at a Presidential Summit in Washington DC, Participate in an intensive academic and leadership program at YALE University and meet with U.S. government, civic, and business leaders;
Ethel Cofie is an IT and Strategy consultant with a passion to support businesses in their efforts to provide customers with great service/product, provide excellent customer service and make profit by providing excellent and appropriate technology solutions.
Her experience spans a variety of countries including UK, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and she has worked on projects like the Bill and Melinda Gates Funded Mobile Technology for Health and Ford Foundation funded election-monitoring project for Nigerian Elections.
After resigning her role as Head of Commercial Solutions at Vodafone, She started her own Company Edel Consultancy which is the vehicle for driving her passion (www.edelitconsult.com ).
She also runs monthly Women in Technology Knowledge sharing series an informal networking group focused on education and enhancing women’s careers
One of the tenets of the YALI Fellowship will be to share lessons learnt with all and Ethel will be doing that by sharing her journey on her website www.yali.ethelcofie.com
She will also be sharing videos of the inspiring stories of the other participants on her Youtube channel and promoting Ghana and Ghanaian businesses with her online presence.
To learn more about this, please contact: