Attend a Free Networking Forum in Accra

 BarCamp Accra 2014 is a free networking forum where participants learn, share and network. This 42nd Barcamp in Ghana takes place on December 20, 2014 at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology in East Legon, Accra. The theme is ‘Expanding Excellent Entreprises’. This is part of the Barcamp Ghana program run by the GhanaThink Foundation (now 10 years old), building a network of change makers, doers and Banner for event pageentrepreneurs.

Over the last 6 years since Barcamps in Ghana started, we’ve championed businesses ‘starting up’. We now have many young Ghanaian businesses. Now, we need to see these grow. We’ll be discussing great Ghanaian entreprise examples. Come learn from, share and network with various young professionals and students. Some of our confirmed resource personnel include Bridget Otoo (TV3), Nana Yaw Asiedu (Oxford & Beaumont), Rosy Fynn (Surfline), Anima Misa (Sapphire), Alex Bram (SMS GH), Christabel Dadzie (Optimal Solutions), Selorm Branttie (mPedigree), Anita Erskine (Viasat1), etc

Register at Barcamp Accra Eventbrite site.   You can also register by sending “Barcamp Accra Your Name Your Email Address” to 1945 on all mobile networks.(example – Barcamp Accra Esi Eshun esi@eshun.co) .  Contact us via barcamp at www.ghanathink.org for sponsorship or partnership opportunities. Our hashtag is #bcaccra.

Barcamp Accra 2014 is supported by Making All Voices Count, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology,mPedigree GoldKeys, Saazaa Shoes, Nandimobile. Our media partners areSpy Ghana, YFM, XFM and Citi FM.

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BRIGHT SIMONS: Listed among 35 innovators under 35 in the world.

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This is the 13th annual celebration of people who are driving the next generation of technological breakthroughs, we’re presenting the stories in a new way. We’ve grouped them by categories that reflect the variety of approaches that people can take to solving big problems. The Inventors, for instance, are creating new technologies. The Entrepreneurs are turning technologies into viable businesses. The Visionaries are anticipating how technologies can make life better, while Humanitarians are concentrating on expanding opportunities. And the Pioneersare exploring new frontiers, setting the stage for future innovations.

This project takes months of effort. It begins with nominations from the public and MIT Technology Review editors. People who have been selected by our publishing partners as local Innovators Under 35 in several regions worldwide are also considered. The editors go through the hundreds of candidates and select fewer than 100 finalists, all of whom will be younger than 35 on October 1. A panel of judges rates the finalists on the originality and impact of their work. Finally, the editors take the judges’ scores into account to select the group.

Bright Simons,31, founder of mPedigree network, based in Ghana. It allows people to determine with a text message whether their medicine is legitimate. Read Bright’s story below:

“I grew up in Ghana, where we’d inherited the British boarding school system. At Presbyterian Boys High School, many upperclassmen were abusive toward the younger students. Once, I was made to stay awake all night in a kneeling position outside. But in my final year at school I became student council president and led efforts to reduce abuses. That experience opened my eyes to a whole new world of fighting the system—of being an activist. And this led directly to my becoming a technology innovator.

A few years later, after studying astrophysics at Durham University in the U.K., I transferred that instinct to try to help African farmers. They grow food organically by default, because they don’t have money for chemicals. But they also don’t have money for the organic certification process that would let them get better prices. So in 2005, I led a team of PhD students to try to implement a solution using mobile technology.

30%
of medicine sold in some countries is bogus

The idea was that at the point of sale there’d be a code on the product. You’d enter that in a mobile device, and up will pop the history and even pictures of the farm. But we realized a big flaw: farmers have to be trained to do the coding. This was not practical.

But picking up a fruit and wanting to know if it is organically grown is similar to picking up a pack of medicine and seeing if it was properly tested and certified. About 2,000 people die every day from counterfeit medicine. So we shifted the idea to pharmaceuticals.

In 2007 we set up a nonprofit organization in Ghana and rolled out a pilot, and the next year Nigerian health officials invited us to replicate the concept there. But we wanted to get to a point where a big company like Sanofi-Aventis would use us. We learned that most companies won’t do business with an NGO, so in 2009 we launched mPedigree as a business.

You can send a free text message and get a reply in a few seconds verifying [that a medicine] is authentic. In addition, distributors and other middlemen can check the codes to verify that the supply has not been compromised. This helped reveal to a major Indian company that there was pilfering at a depot. Genuine antimalarial medicines would be replaced by counterfeits. The shady characters cannot get away with this anymore. If we had not stopped these leakages in the supply chain, they could have put thousands of patients at risk.

The system is used in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and India, with pilots in Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, and Bangladesh. We’ve got a relationship with many of the major regional—and a growing number of multinational—pharmas, including Sanofi-Aventis. In Nigeria our codes are on 50 million packs of antimalarial drugs alone, and we have just signed up two Chinese drug makers.

We are now expanding to seeds, cosmetics, and other businesses. And new applications are emerging that we hadn’t expected, in the areas of logistics, supply chain management, and marketing. If you send an SMS to check authenticity, you’ve also given good information about exactly where and when a drug was sold—as well as provided a potential marketing opportunity to dispense coupons. We have built a major platform for supply chains in the developing world. But back at my school, of course, they still remember me as the activist.”

as told to David Talbot

There is another African, Evans Wadongo, 27, from Kenya.

SOURCE: http://www.technologyreview.com

TAN Monthly Networking Event – Dropifi: An Africa-based Tech Startup

Dropifi: An Africa-based Innovative Tech Startup

Program Description

Dropifi is an enterprise cloud computing company that provides business software on a subscription basis.  Over 7,200 businesses from over 32 countries use Dropifi’s solution to manage their critical sales and customer service activities daily.  Dropifi has won numerous awards in product design and ease of use.

Dropifi was founded in 2011 by 3 former postgraduate students of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Accra, Ghana, David Osei, Philips Effah, and Kamil Nabong.  Dropifi became first African startup to win Kauffman Foundation’s Startup Open competition in 2012 beating other 499 startups in over 100 countries.  In 2012 CNBC/Yahoo Finance names Dropifi one of the top 10  most promising startups in the world.  In 2013, Dropifi joined “500 Startups” accelerator program in Silicon Valley, becoming the first African startup to be accepted into the leading accelerator program in the Valley.  Dropifi has been featured on CNN, BBC, Forbes, Huffington Post, Techcrunch and many others.

  • Event Program Outline:

5:00 – 5:30 PM: Registration and Networking (Lite Snack and Drinks)
5:30 – 6:15 PM: Program Presentation – David Osei, Dropifi
6:15 – 6:45 PM: Q&A + Open Discussions
6:45 – 7:30 PM: Final Networking

Please RSVP by August 19, 2013

  • David Osei: David Osei is the CEO and co-founder of Dropifi.  In 2012, David was named #2 top technology startup entrepreneur to watch in Africa by IT News Africa.  The 26 year old Ghanaian completed KNUST in 2011 with a degree in Mathematics, the same year he was accepted into MEST to pursue a post-graduate study in Software and Entrepreneurship.  He has consulted for the CNFA/Bill Gates Foundation on Mobile Banking, and was part of the consulting team in the setup of the Stanford SEED program in Ghana.  He co-founded Dropifi in 2011 with a $50K seed funding from MEST.

 

About The African Network (TAN)

Founded in 2004, The African Network (TAN)is one of the fastest growing nonprofit organizations in the USA dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship among people of African descent everywhere and assisting entrepreneurs interested in doing business in Africa. TAN’s goals include building successful business enterprises across a variety of technology-driven industry platforms through education, networking, and mentoring. TAN also provides business professionals with employment opportunities throughout the African continent with a primary mission to create a vital ecosystem for American entrepreneurs to excel and succeed in science and technology investment partnerships in one of the world’s fastest emerging markets: Africa.

Register – http://theafricannetwork821.eventbrite.com/

BARCAMP TAMALE 2013

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Barcamp Tamale 2013 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tamale, Ghana and beyond. It will take place on August 17, 2013 at Tamale Polytechnic. The theme for this year is yet to be determined. This Barcamp hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.

The GhanaThink Foundation has successfully organized 20 BarCamps in Ghana. BarCamp Tamale 2013 will be a showcase of how Ghana’s youth are taking charge of its development and how they can be spurred on to do more. There will be a focus on channeling the present energies around entertainment into positive developments and progress for Tamale and surrounding areas as well.

The Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Northern Region and beyond. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. Various Tamale leaders will be on a panel that will center on the theme.

Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tamale eventbrite website (barcamptamale13.eventbrite.com) or text “Barcamp Tamale [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the BarCamp Tamale team through the eventbrite page for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

BarCamp Tamale 2013 is sponsored by GhanaThink Foundation, Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are the Ghana News Agency. Join us to move the Northern Region and Ghana forward.

THE POWER OF NETWORKING: A LESSON FOR GRADUATES.

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Picture by: Kofi Yeboah

Networking is when like-minded people meet and discuss about  mutual opportunities that will benefit them. It involves sharing ideas with people of similar interest. Many graduates complete school without having any network of friends who will be of great help to them. Many of these graduates sit in lecture rooms and do not even bother to greet or say hello to the next person sitting next to them. Networking with friends has been one of the tools for success confirmed by many successful people. 

Networking is an essential part of building wealth. Andrewws Williams

Your opportunity might be sitting next to you and all you need to grab it is to say hello or greet, lets put away our pride and do what we will one day benefit from. Make friends with people who are even not reading the same programme with you. These are some of the essentials things that winners do. In this our 21st century, its all about recommendation and this will be done by the very people we meet daily.

Robert Kiyosaki says, “The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.”

If graduates are going to take over the world then they need to master the skill of networking, ability to communicate with people from every part of the world. I have seen the power of networking in so many ways and how it has worked in my favour. In this world, people recommend who they know for contracts. My young mentor, Ato Ulzen Appiah once said,

it is not about who you know that can get you the job or contract, but it is who knows what you know that gets you the job.

In other words, people will recommend you only if they know you are good for it. It can also mean that people will not recommend you even if you are an expert because they do not know you. Have friends across all sectors especially my dear students, do not look at other students who are studying other programmes as inferior. The tables will one day turn around. In my search for answers and confirmation of the power of networking, I reached out to some outstanding young people in the world who are effecting positive change to share their thoughts on the essence of  Networking.

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“Networking helps to increase an individual’ human resource assets. you’re able to have a pool of people to   call for help in your career development. Networking helps to increase your opportunities as each network is capable of informing you of any available opportunity.” Emmanuel Woyome, Career Coach, & Destiny Pathfinder. He helps people to find their place in life for effectiveness & fulfillment  He writes, speaks, coaches and trains on Career & Personal Development. He is the author of two books.

 

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“How far you go in life is directly proportionate to who you know. It sounds like a cliche, but there is a lot of luck involved in business, financial success, career climbing, however, the more people you know, the luckier you get. Networking is the vehicle for luck.” Simon Dixon, has worked with venture capitalists and helped companies go public, raised angel finance for his first business, he has helped businesses raise alternative finance, written two books on the future of banking, Simon Dixon has the passion to work with entrepreneurs and do something a bit disruptive in the banking sector. CEO BankToTheFuture.com

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 “The essence of networking is to provide a strategic (personal advertising) outlook to an external audience. It activates deep entrenched knowledge, capability and competence. The youth must embrace the culture of networking to encapsulate the mechanism of success and unimpeded breakthrough.” Daniel Bonsu, Chief Consultant/Co-Founder, Golden Africa Group · London, United Kingdom.

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“Your success Quotient = 2(connectivity quotient) + 3(quality of connections)”. Charles Kofi Fekpe, Chartered certified accountant, I am also the Managing Consultant of CFEKPE Consulting Ltd and also a Published Writer.

 

 

 

 

 

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“One of the most essential skills you need to have in order to grow in your career is networking skills. I have worked with and been helped by many people that I have met through networking. And it should always be reciprocal. Working alone is not an option in today’s world”. Dr. Yemisi Akinbobola, visiting lecturer at Birmingham City University,  founder and editor-in-chief of IQ4News.

 

 

 

 

Ato

“It’s not about “who you know” but about “who knows what you know”. Networking allows you to expand your knowledge base, increase the number of people who can deliver skills and resources you might need as well. By making people know what you know, they are able to find and recommend you for opportunities.” Ato Ulzen-Appiah, co-founder Museke.com, an African music website. Initiator of BarcampGhana.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Find and/or make a peer network of passionate doers as your core base (80% of your focus), and then continue to interact with all of kinds of people (20%), understanding what others are looking for and helping them out (60%), while sharing what you are passionate about (40%), and a powerful flow will rapidly develop and grow” Todd Porter Co-founder IMPACT Foundation Japan / TEDxTokyo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Networking is one powerful element that aids in achieving ones goal in their area of interest. Though people underestimate it, one ought to take it seriously to build a personal ecosystem. In Ghana, we build our first level and lifetime networks from Secondary School. However in my opinion, every time you meet someone, you ought to move from trying to be the only island with one route to being an island that has many routes to other islands. It’s about making an impression and a connection in a matter of second. How do we achieve this? Being polite, open and maintaining integrity. Nehemiah Kwesi TT Senyo Yelu Attigah, an experienced software engineer, project manager, business analyst,Microsoft Dynamics specialist ,a blogger, and entrepreneur. He is a member of the Ghana Think (BarCamp Ghana) and BloggingGhana’s BlogCamp Teams.

 

 

 

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“The thing about networking is that it has ‘exponential effects’. Take the old idea of ‘six degrees of separation’, that is the notion that everyone can connect to anyone on the globe through a maximum of six intermediate contacts. It follows that the greater the diversity of one’s network, the higher the relevance of contacts to one’s likely goals and ambitions, since contacts are more likely to be ‘connections’ rather than mere acquaintances. To my mind, young people can do nothing better than diversifying the networks to which they belong.”   B. Simons is the Director of Development Research at IMANI, and the Coordinator of the mPedigree Network. He performs a range of functions for IMANI related to social marketing, research and coordinating alliances.

GHANA: RESTRUCTURING THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM CAMPAIGN (THE GRADE “A” DISEASE)

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Has the education system failed our students and the nation at large? The answer is yes, perhaps it is how our education system is structured that needs to be questioned. Students especially those in the  tertiary get disappointed when they graduate with all the best grades they have when they do not get all the glorious life and happiness education promised them. Other students in the so called developed countries do enjoy that promise because of the different educational structure they have. Parents pay huge sums of money and still get no reward for doing that, they have to even continue to feed their child until he/she finds a job to do.  The number of graduates that complete the university increase every year, but unemployment rate is rising and never declining.

In the year 2011, the rate of jobless graduates hit 44.8%. 44.8 percent of graduates from the universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions are said to be jobless, a data has revealed. These graduates are believed to be in the age bracket of 22 and 25, a study conducted by Dr. William Baah-Boateng, a labour economist and senior lecturer at the Department of Economics, the University of Ghana has disclosed. The study was based on 2006 findings, but the number of jobless graduates is said to have gone up following the implementation of the fiscal stabilization programme, spanning 2008 to 2012. However, most of the jobs created during the period are vulnerable with limited or no social protection, the study indicated. Vulnerable employment has declined but still remains high. Yearly, several graduates from the country’s tertiary institutions estimated to be in the region of 50,000 come out of school searching for jobs. This excludes those from the senior high school and the junior high schools, who number over 300,000……….. He was optimistic that these graduates will find jobs after four years, noting some of these graduates do not even know where to go and find jobs. In 2006, about 2.6 million Ghanaians were not working or jobless with some deciding not to work. Nana Owusu Afari, President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), who also made a presentation, noted that industries do not need second and third degrees, urging young graduates to acquire skills and experience before doing so. He urged government to support the training of graduates, adding that industry can only offer short courses and not the entire training programmes.  (GhanatoGhana.com)

I believe education is supposed to bring change and make students creative. Why do majority of Ghanaian graduates look for jobs after they complete school? Could this be one of the reasons for the rising unemployed graduates? Did formal education teach us to be dependent on the government for jobs?

People enter the tertiary institutions and become less creative; their ingenuity gets shuttered for life. It is as if the formal education covers the eyes of our imagination with an unseen blanket. Students do not even think beyond the walls of the tertiary environment, their minds tend to be closed from the outside world. They do not even know the trending opportunities that easily put money into ones pocket. All they think of is how they are going to pass their quizzes, how to get past questions and get an “A” in every course. “Getting an “A” in the formal education does not make you an A student in life”. Students in the tertiary do not even bother to know what is happening outside them (current affairs). Business students study about marketing, but will never sell anything on campus, they are good sales people with respect to grades, but not in the real life. Selling is even seen as a job for illiterates. Every graduate wants to work at a place where his study of interest is. We are limited in life due to the courses we read, we read nothing else in school apart from the books and notes given us. We are being prepared to take the seat as future leaders, but we all know that our colleagues who schooled in the foreign countries will take these seats first and leave the unimportant ones to us because they have a better education than we do. For example in some countries like Singapore which has per capita GDP higher than USA, Japan and other so called developed countries, changed their educational system from the traditional way of learning to innovative, less classroom and more creativity.

Getting excellent grades does not equate to getting higher income in life, if it was so teachers would have been the richest people in the world. In Ghana, about 90% of teachers are poor, why! Why do we keep on deceiving our generation that this kind of formal education is the key to our progress?  All a child knows in Ghana is to go to school, get a job, marry, go on retirement and spend your pension salary and wait to die. Let us wake up from our sleep, nobody will come and change what we need to change for us. The current educational system is not helping and is the cause of our consistent poverty as a nation. Students are so concerned about their grades that even if they do not get good grades they assume that they have failed in life. They equate higher grades to higher income and it’s not true. Ask yourself why Ghanaians start business and they fail, but a foreigner comes to start the same business and they succeed and they will intend employ us. Many graduates are employed in businesses that they barely apply what they learnt in school. We come out of school and we don’t even know how to do common power point presentation, we do not even find time to assess ourselves to see how well we are ready for the market, instead we are busy thinking of how we can excel in out quizzes and exams. One thing graduates forget is that there is a vast difference between schooling and education, the former is a want and the latter is a necessity. Ninety percent of education is learnt in the real life and not in the classroom that is why some graduates get surprised when they come out of school and they do not get jobs to do. Universities award best business student and these students have not even come out with any business idea or have not been running any practical business while on campus, no award is given to the best entrepreneurial student. We praise students who excel in grades and condemn those who excel in real life. If we really want our students to be at par globally, then we need to change our method of teaching from kindergarten to tertiary.

Computer science students do coding on papers, study programmes that are outmoded and does not meet the current standards. We have students who are reading courses that are literally irrelevant to their programme and one sad thing is that they are sacked from the institution if they fail that course. For example, a student reading Biological Science will be given an African Studies course which is supposed to help the student have a fair knowledge about Africa, but if he should fail that course and he even get A’s in all his main courses, he will be sacked, how? Student are seen as intelligent based on their ability to solve past questions so if a student is not fortunate to get these past questions then he is not a brilliant student. Anybody, who is very good at memorizing without being a student, can get A’s in most of the courses in our tertiary institutions.

 

 

MENTAL SLAVERY

My greatest concern has been for those who write exams and fail especially entry exams to tertiary institutions. Those who fail assume they are failures in life and that they will not amount to anything in society and they begin to act as such. We have made them to believe that their contribution outside the classroom is worthless. Their self- esteem is killed and they assume they are incompetent, some struggle writing the particular subject they failed numerous times with the hope that they will pass one day. Mentally, they cannot think beyond passing their exams. I believe that it is not everybody that will be okay with the classroom style, instead there should be another alternative. Imagine someone who read Visual Arts in the High School and did extremely well in his electives and had to stay in the house for close to four years because he failed Mathematics. There should be a different grading system for every programme in the SHS. We are wasting human resources if we allow all these brilliant people to stay in the house for these number of years.  Young people with creative ideas are in the house re-writing courses they failed in SHS of which they will not be using in the real world and teachers and society make them  believe that they are not intelligent. In the university we read courses which have nothing in relation to our main programme of study and a student who fails will be sacked and labeled a failure in life. This mental harm will make the person not function to his maximum because he has also come to the realization that he is a failure. The fact that a student failed to remember the solution to a past question does not make him a failure. If you are first or second class student in academics it should reflect in the real world as well.

 

ALTERNATIVE METHOD

Technology (Bill Gates’ view): This is a conversation that Jeffrey R. Young had with Bill Gates about the Future of Higher Education, which was originally published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, USA. He shared a very effective method of learning and teaching with technology. You can get the full conversation on www.thegatesnotes.com

It is not every student who is comfortable with the classroom or lecture room setting and so this online education should be encouraged to reduce the number of youth who are in the house doing nothing.

I will share a few strategies that can help our educational system to be better:

  • There should be less focus on grading or passing of “paper exams” and refocus on passing practical service. Students should be made to take field work relating to their study and much of the grading should be based on this. This will minimize cheating in exams and quizzes as students will know that their grading is not based on the written exams.
  • We should bring experts in the working field to come and lecture students about the changes in the market, to help student adapt to current trends.
  • Universities should allow companies and organisations to mount courses and bring their own people to teach them.
  • Students should be taught to create their own businesses than to wait on government to be employed. Entrepreneurship should be practically taught. Business students should set up businesses on campus and run it for profit. This is should be part of their grading system.
  • Students should be given exams questions (some programmes) before they sit for the exams, this will make them become expects in that area.
  • We should do away with traditional structure and replaced it with a more flexible approach that encourages creativity and problem solving, individualized learning, and a wider range of academic and vocational options. This is one of the decisions Finland made and today, its students rank among the top on global assessments of student learning, http://www.oecd.org/pisa/.
  • There should be an assessment system or team to consistently check the progress of the education system and effect changes where necessary.

These are my own views on Ghana’s educational system, there might be mistakes to the approaches i suggested above, please do well to comment or share your views.

BARCAMP TEMA.

 

BarCamp Tema 2012 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tema, Ghana and beyond. It will take place on October 27, 2012 at the Central University Campus in Miotso near Tema. The theme for this year is “Vertical mentoring and horizontal inspiration, driving excellence”. This Barcamp hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.


The GhanaThink Foundation has successfully organized 17 BarCamps in Ghana. BarCamp Tema 2012 is being organized in conjunction with the Google Group at Central University College. The event will be a showcase of how Ghana’s youth are taking charge of its development and how they can be spurred on to do more. The spotlight will be on demonstrating the power of mentoring and role models and how youth can inspire other youth to drive excellence. There will be a focus on channeling the present energies around entertainment into positive developments and progress for Tema and surrounding areas as well.


The Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Volta Region and beyond. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. We are also organizing a start-up bazaar  where young entrepreneurs and innovators can showcase their products and services.


Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tema eventbrite website (barcamptema12.eventbrite.com) or text “Barcamp Tema [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the BarCamp Ho team through the eventbrite page for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.


BarCamp Tema 2012 is sponsored by Central University College, GhanaThink Foundation, Google Ghana, Nandimobile, Fienipa Group, etc. Our media partners are Spy Ghana, Modern Ghana, TNG, and the Ghana News Agency. Join us to move the Greater Accra Region and Ghana forward.