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 Monday, December 15, 2014
"Technology and innovation for social good on display in Doha

In a parallel programme of workshops, sessions, pitching and collaborations, the ITU Telecom World 2014 Young Innovators Competition winners joined winners of the 2013 edition and start-ups from local and global partner organizations to set their own agenda on technology and innovation with a clear social dimension.

The programme kicked off with joint participation in the ShapeMENA event organized by the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper community, 3 – 4 December. The Young Innovators attended panel sessions on ‘Trends and Challenges facing young Arabs’, ‘Media Empowerment for Social Change Makers’, ‘Fuelling High Impact Philanthropy through Technology’, the ‘Future of Jobs’, and ‘Inspiring Positive Social Change’.

Learning experiences continued with two days of workshops from prominent local universities, including a visit to the state-of-the-art Qatar Science and Technology Park.
During ITU Telecom World 2014, 7 – 10 December, the Young Innovators hosted the ‘Young Influencers Day’ and the ‘Start-up Day’, two thematic events aimed at bringing the young participants together to solidify a distinct programme and voice. In addition, the Creative Conversations on the event show floor provided further opportunities for the young innovators competition winners to engage with the greater debate at ITU Telecom World and to participate in inter-disciplinary discussions on wearable technology, co-creation, and ICTs and sports.

Highlights included sessions on ‘Financing for Start-ups’, a master class in ‘Intellectual Property’, and a pitching session. Before an audience of delegates, peers, and investors, the Young Innovators presented their winning projects and responded to questions on their feasibility. The day concluded with a networking reception and informal chat between participants and the audience.

´These talented young people –digital natives–bring fresh perceptions, insights and innovations into the global ICT ecosystem,´ said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. ´They truly represent the future.´

The Young Innovators Competition onsite programme at ITU Telecom World provided an unprecedented opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas, engaging more young stakeholders in new and innovative ways. New collaborations have been set in motion for an even more eventful Young Innovators Programme at next year’s edition of ITU Telecom World that will take place 12 – 15 October 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.

For further information on the Young Innovators Programme and Competition, please see http://telecomworld.itu.int/take-part/young-innovators/

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, December 15, 2014 4:30:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Microsoft and 88mph have revealed the expansion of the Microsoft Ventures program into Nigeria. As part of the 4Afrika Initiative, the collaboration, according to both parties, will help improve start-ups’ productivity by offering tools, resources, expertise and routes to market around the world.

Amrote Abdella, Director of Start-up Engagement and Partnerships, Microsoft Africa Initiatives, stated that: ´There is a great opportunity to further develop the start-up ecosystem in Nigeria and drive innovation. By expanding Microsoft Ventures into Nigeria, we hope to reinvent productivity for start-ups. This means equipping them with the technology that puts their businesses first, by providing affordable devices, cloud-based software and pay-as-you-go models, that enable anytime-anywhere access.´

Start-ups for the program will be selected based on globally established criteria. These include having a full-time founding team, a bold vision for tackling a real problem, technology-driven solutions and less than $1 million raised.

´While working with Microsoft in Kenya, we found we were very aligned on finding businesses that deliver value to consumers, helping bring them to profitability, and hopefully getting more investors interested in web/mobile businesses,´ said Kresten Buch of 88mph.

88mph and L5Lab created a Joint Venture called 440.ng, to invest in start-ups in Nigeria. ´It’s still early days here and not a lot of players in this space, so we are thrilled that Microsoft wants to support our efforts here as well,´ Buch concluded.

One Nigerian start-up who has already benefited from the partnership with 88mph is Abiola Olaniran, founder of mobile games company Gamsole. To date, Gamsole has over 9 million game downloads, making Abiola Nigeria’s highest paid Windows game developer.“

(Source: IT News Africa)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:44:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 09, 2014
“A record 6,800 participants from 95 countries just attended the fifth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech.

Another 14.5 million people on Facebook and 7.5 million on Twitter also followed the 2-day event in the Ochre City, which wrapped up on Thursday (November 21).

Young people ´are the main drivers of change and progress´, United States Vice President Joe Biden told the audience of government officials, financial decision-makers, community figures and students.

The vice president led a large American delegation to the Moroccan event, including Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who said that the administration of US President Barack Obama was working to promote entrepreneurship and innovation around the world.

The summit provided ´an opportunity for young people to draw inspiration from successful experiences in the realm of modern technologies´, General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) President Meriem Bensaleh told Magharebia.

Agreements aimed at helping young entrepreneurs were signed by company bosses and a range of industrial and financial institutions.

´Over 600 young students came to broaden their knowledge and their know-how in the field of modern information technologies,´ Moroccan Deputy Foreign Minister M’barka Bouaida said.

Some 70% of young Moroccans want to start up their own business – the highest proportion in the MENA region, Deputy Minister of Small Enterprises Mamoun Bouhdoud pointed out.
Salim Belarrabi, a Moroccan computer engineering student, attended the Marrakech event to learn more about how to realise his ambitions.

´These days, a young person needs guidance and support from professionals in both the public and the private sector to start up a business successfully,´ Belarrabi said.

The student has a good chance at success, one industry expert told Magharebia.

According to Abdellatif Ch’biha, who runs a consultancy firm, the modern technology sector is now a lucrative area for young people who want to make an impact with their start-up.

´This sector in Morocco generates annual turnover of 33 billion dirhams, thanks to a technology boom that is benefiting from an increase in internet access, which is estimated at 16 million Moroccans online every day,´ he said.

The summit culminated in announcements about a US project to invest and train young Moroccans (the Enterprise and Innovation Seed Fund, worth 50 million dollars), the launch of the Moroccan Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club, and plans for an ´Enterprise City´ in the kingdom.

The Marrakech event also saw the inauguration of an annual million-dollar prize for entrepreneurship, to be awarded solely to young Africans.

The announcements drew lengthy applause from participants, who hailed the measures as concrete steps to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity among young people.

The next edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, an initiative launched by the White House in 2009, will be held in an as-yet unnanouced Sahel country.“
 
(Source: Magharebia)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:46:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Dimension Data, the US$6 billion ICT solutions and services provider, has announced that 45 learners have graduated today from its innovative Saturday School Programme.

The Dimension Data Saturday School initiative is a two-year programme that benefits 100 grade 11 and 12 pupils from 21 public high schools in Gauteng every year. Learners attend mathematics, physical science, life sciences, English, computer studies and life skills classes every Saturday.

´Our objective with the Saturday School is to produce high-calibre learners who will go on to achieve their ambitions in whatever sphere of life or business they choose. We give them the tools to be able to take the next step in their life through a good Matric pass. I have no doubt this class will continue in the footsteps of their predecessors and do exceptionally well in the 2014 Matric exams. We are very excited about what the future holds for these bright young minds,´ says Zellah Fuphe, Executive, Strategic Relations at Dimension Data Middle East and Africa.

Learners are accepted into the programme in grade 11, following a stringent selection process based on merit, academic performance, communication skills, attitude and leadership potential.

In addition to working through the formal syllabus, the learners receive leadership, entrepreneurship and social skills training, all aimed at preparing them for challenges beyond Matric. Grade 12 learners participate in the company's career day initiative, where they are exposed to the various career opportunities available at Dimension Data and to the broader ICT industry. They are also provided with an opportunity to be mentored by senior company executives who specialise in the career interest they have selected. The Saturday School initiative also includes the Winter School Programme for the Matric learners in preparation for their end-of-year exams.

Established 20 years ago with just 11 pupils, the Dimension Data Saturday School has consistently achieved a 100% pass rate and has assisted hundreds of learners to achieve their dreams. Last year's graduating class (the class of 2013) achieved 95% university entrance and 93 distinctions among 45 learners.

The Saturday School is based at Dimension Data's Bryanston head office and tuition is provided by subject experts and qualified educators, as well as Dimension Data employee volunteers.“

Source: Dimensio Data)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:35:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Telecom operator, Tigo Ghana in partnership with Reach for Change has announced a one week extension for its ‘Digital Change-makers’ competition.

Originally closing on December 1, 2014, Ghanaians can continue to submit their applications until December 8, 2014.



Digital Change-makers is aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurs to use technology to solve some of Ghana’s most pressing needs. For the prize money of GHS 60,000 ($20,000), two winners will be selected and also given expert guidance to implement their projects.

According to Tigo, public response has been encouraging and extending the deadline has become necessary as several people are still going through the various stages of the application at www.tigo.com.gh/digitalchangemakers.

Digital Change-makers is the first of its kind this year as previous years have focused mainly on social entrepreneurs. Past winners include the award-winning Regina Agyare of Tech Needs Girls; Hayford Siaw of Street Library Ghana, Marian Ewurama Wiredu and Erasmus Ackon of IT4Teens, James Kofi Annan of Challenging Heights and Peter Kwarteng of Neonatal Network Support System (NNSS) just to mention a few.

Both Tigo and Reach for Change, a non-governmental organisation hopes to receive quality applications that will demonstrate how mobile broadband, digital and/or information technology can improve the quality of lives of children and society.“

(Source: ModernGhana)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:25:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“The W.TEC Academy has commenced in 5 schools in the Lagos Mainland area. The pilot phase of the programme has indeed shown great potential for the future of the programme. The Academy is an initiative of the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre with its supporters, set out to set up computer clubs for girls in public schools to improve the gender gap in the Tech world rite from the school level. This project will is a beautiful one as it is set to inspire our girls to the Technology world, Tech Entrepreneurial skills.

The project will be aiming at promoting volunteerism for its instructors and development of the ICT utilisation in public schools in Lagos. The program which will be conducted once a week in the schools during their society and clubs periods will have 25 girls per school. The one year program will be divided into three terms where the girls will be taken through the various levels of computer training starting with Word processing, Multi – media and spreadsheets before moving on to web design and html coding in the second term.

The program for now is conducted at Aiyetoro Snr Grammar School, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Jr Secondary School, Aje Comprehensive Jnr Secondary School, Onike Jnr Secondary School, Herbert Macaulay Jnr High School.“

(Source: W.TEC)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:15:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) today announced a 30-day extension of the entry for its Innovation Prize Award (see also #IPA2015). Applications can now be received by 30 November 2014 at 24h00 GMT. With a total prize share of US$150 000, African innovators stand to gain much more, such as recognition through our unique IPA brand, increased opportunities to attract investments, continental and international media attention, and the chance to positively transform the African innovation landscape.

IPA targets innovators in 5 key sectors. The competition is open to all Africans including those in the diaspora, irrespective of socio-economic status, gender, demographics or profession. Says IPA Director, Pauline Mujawamariya: ´We want to take the ecosystem of innovation to a new level across the continent, and are therefore encouraging applications from all 54 African countries to be a part of this unique initiative. We particularly encourage women and young people from all sectors to submit their application´.

As one of the top 10 finalists, you will receive media exposure and IPA will invest up to US$5 000 to further spotlight your innovation. Our criteria for selection  is simple, and if you can meet these you stand a chance to win – BIG! We are looking for smart, innovative solutions that can drive tangible change on the ground and better the lives of Africans.

Winning the prize is certainly the main attraction here, but IPA 2015 has more to offer in terms of post-prize support. So if your idea can shine bright and sustain itself, you are in the line up to receive support to take your venture further and ignite the African innovation ecosystem!

Apply now! Your innovation stands to win a grand share of US$150 000.

Since its inaugural launch in 2011, African leaders have endorsed IPA as an essential stimulus needed to create a platform to spur innovation across Africa in sectors critical to the continent’s sustainable development. Jean Claude Bastos de Morais  founder of the prestigious annual award, now in its 4th year running, is encouraging innovators across the continent to take advantage of the 30 November 2014 deadline: ´The African continent is the new innovation frontier, and we therefore encourage innovators to be a part of the IPA platform and unleash their innovation potential, not only to further develop their inventions, but to contribute to Africa’s success story.´”

(Source: AIF)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:05:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“At this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Morocco, Microsoft has signed a new strategic alliance with Tunisian startup Saphon Energy, a company that specialises in the research and development of wind energy. The company also introduced the first round of 50 women entrepreneurs to go through its Cloud Startup Academy. This is in-line with Microsoft 4Afrika’s commitment to support African startups to innovate for the continent and the world.

´North Africa is an important region to us. We see tremendous potential for technology in the region to transform the lives of people, increase business aptitude and bring positive change across society,´ says Samir Benmakhlouf, Managing Director of Microsoft Morocco, who at this year’s GES will also be leading the workshop discussion around: Talent to Entrepreneurship. ´Microsoft 4Afrika’s support of Saphon Energy is a perfect illustration of our commitment to promote new ideas born in Africa with the potential to change the world.´

Saphon Energy, a clean-tech company, is the creator and owner of a breakthrough and patented technology, which converts wind energy into electricity. Known as the ‘Saphonian’ or ‘Zero-blade Wind Converter’, the bladeless and rotation-less technology can also be used to pump water and spread connectivity. The technology has already been awarded with a number of international prizes, including: Best Idea at the Sustainable Entrepreneurship 2013 Awards and one of the Innovation Prizes for Africa in 2013.

´The Saphonian has the potential to contribute to transforming the African economic landscape and triggering deep social progress across the continent,´ says Anis Aouini, Creator and Founder of Saphon Energy. ´By improving connectivity and electricity availability, the technology will support entrepreneurship and improve employability.´

Through the collaboration, Saphon Energy will receive financial resources, technology support and large scale visibility to help them validate the revolutionary aspects and industrial capacity of their invention. Additionally, Saphon Energy is developing ´Maraya´ a solution that enables the collection and monitoring of data leveraging the benefits of Microsoft Azure Machine Learning services.

´Personally, I’ve always been impressed by the impact of Microsoft in shaping the new global economy based on intelligence and authentic lateral thinking. Today, it is a real privilege for me and the whole team of Saphon Energy to join forces with Microsoft and connect their intelligence with ours. Support from companies like Microsoft is very important to help African tech companies transcend, scale and unleash their true innovative potential,´ adds Anis.

Growth of female entrepreneurs in the region is also vital to boosting local economies and disposable income. Microsoft recently collaborated with AFEM to launch a Cloud Startup Academy, the first program of its kind in Morocco whose mission is to help young women launch innovative startups based on the latest Cloud technology. The first round of 50 women began their training on 17 November 2014.

“We believe that cloud computing has the greatest potential to transform competitiveness amongst SMEs and start-ups, delivering greater access to IT, slashing costs and enabling more agile, innovative business models. We look forward to seeing the business models that come out of the Academy,” says Samir.

 Through events like GES 2014, ongoing partnerships with innovation hubs and on-the-ground programs and internships, Microsoft hopes to continue identifying and supporting more innovations from Africa. Other 4Afrika beneficiary startups present at GES included iTaxi.ma from Morocco and Chifco from Tunisia.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 9:59:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Two Nigerian youths, Messrs Anthony Oniwon and Abdulganiyu Onabanjo were the cynosure of all eyes, Wednesday week, Night in Cape Town as they carted away a whopping $35, 000, approximately, N6 million, as winners of Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation 2014.

Etisalat used the opportunity of the AfricaCom Awards Gala Dinner which rounded off this year’s AfricaCom Conference, at the Cape Town International Conference Centre Nov 11-13 to present the prizes.

Oniwon created and developed Exam mate solution, an Exam preparatory programme for JAMB candidates, designed to reduce the failure rate in JAMB examinations. The application, according to Etisalat, rated highest among others considered in the Most Innovative Product or Service category of the award and therefore merited the coveted Prize of $25,000- over N4million, while Onabanjo’s Interactive Media Interface Design (IMID), a remote communication interface for GPRS-enabled pre-paid meters, ranked top in the Most Innovative Idea category and also deserved the top prize of N$10,000 – approximately N1.7 million. Presenting the Awards, Etisalat Nigeria’s Director, Consumer Segment, Oluwole Rawa and his colleague Adia Sowho, Head Digital Media, described the award initiative as Etisalat’s way of encouraging and celebrating valuable innovation in the African market. The Award is in its third edition.

Rawa expressed pleasure that the competition was beginning to inspire local software developers and ingenious people to create innovative and relevant mobile broadband products and services that can make a positive impact on the aggregate African economy. ´At Etisalat, we see ourselves as a young and innovative company, setting the pace for others in the telecommu-nications industry.

Therefore we are glad to see that the Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation is spurring young people across Africa to be creative´ he said. Beneficiaries of the Prize, The Anthony Oniwon and Abdulganiyu Onabanjo both commended Etisalat for introducing the award.“

(Source: Vanguard)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 9:53:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 08, 2014
Young social entrepreneurs to participate in accelerator programme at
ITU Telecom World in Doha and win seed funding

ITU Telecom has announced the winners of its fourth annual Young Innovators’ Competition. Open to young social entrepreneurs between ages 18 and 30 from around the world, the competition sought innovative digital solutions with positive social impact to four challenges, focusing on developmental issues and technologies. The winners will be heading to ITU Telecom World 2014, the leading networking, solutions showcasing and knowledge-sharing event for the global ICT community in Doha, Qatar, 7-11 December.

From over 822 entries for four Challenges from 99 countries worldwide, submitted on a dedicated platform powered by Crowdicity, eight start-ups and concepts were selected on the basis of social impact and potential for business success:

Challenge 1 on Local Digital Content with Challenge Partner Ooredoo

·    TeleMuseum – Lorna Okeng, Uganda:  online virtual museum preserving and digitalizing African local content, oral traditions, and culture in cinema
·    Incept – Safouan Ben Jha, Tunisia: interactive, multilingual augmented reality app for museums and historic sites

Challenge 2 on Open Source Technologies for Disaster Management

·    Social Media Coordination (SoMeC) – Hemant Purohit, India: web app to identify social media influencers and improve disaster response coordination
·    NAJI – Your Mobile Is Your Saviour – Sahar Pakseresht, Iran: app and bracelet using body sensor networks to locate people missing in natural disasters

Challenge 3 on Smart Cities & Climate Change with Challenge Partner WHO

·    Making Sense of Sensor Technology – Vratul Kumar, India: wireless smart sensor technology applied to waste disposal networks
·    Matti – Jeisson Díaz, Colombia: GPS-based social app to raise awareness on recycling and climate change

Challenge 4 on the Internet of Things with Challenge Partner IEEE IoT Initiative

·    Unplugged – Marvin Arnold, USA: developing a secure decentralized information exchange platform to rival the Internet
·    CONNECTED ECO – Fatoumata Kebe, France/Mali: solar-powered sensor providing real-time analysis of soil conditions and irrigation needs

At ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha, the Young Innovators Competition winners will take part in an accelerator programme to take their projects to the next level via one-on-one sessions with start-up mentors and business experts, hands-on workshop training and peer mentoring from the winners of the 2013 competition. Based on their performance during the Young Innovators Pitching Session, each winner will be awarded up to USD 10,000 for start-ups and USD 5,000 for concepts.

In addition, the competition winners will have space in a dedicated pavilion on the show floor, the InnovationSpace, where they will have the opportunity to display their work alongside other social innovations by former winners and a community of global inventors, and where they will host two thematic days during ITU Telecom World 2014:

Young Influencers Day – 7 December


In collaboration with the Doha Hub of the Global Shapers Community, a World Economic Forum initiative, the ITU Telecom World Young Innovators Programme will gather young influencers from across the region along with young entrepreneurs to explore the potential of ICT in mitigating global challenges, and discuss ´What are the Driving Forces for Innovation and Social Change´. All young people interested in joining the inter-active panel discussions are welcome to attend.

Start-up Day – 9 December


The day is dedicated to start-ups, entrepreneurs and discussions on taking one’s project to the next level, organized in partnership with ictQATAR Digital Incubation Centre. The focus of the day will be on financing and investment, including a session on how to reach out to investors and what to be aware of when doing so. By bringing together guest innovators and their start-ups from all over the world, this day demonstrates the Young Innovators Programme’s commitment to the power of collaboration and knowledge-sharing in changing the future for the better.

´These bright young minds have found creative technological solutions to developmental challenges both in their communities and in the wider world,´ said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “The innovative social start-ups, winners of the competition, as well as alumni from previous years, are an inspiration to all delegates, guests and participants in ITU Telecom World. Their resolve to improve their community and enthusiasm to spread the idealism of their ventures is truly impressive.´

ITU Secretary-General elect Houlin Zhao added: ´Expanding the spotlight from winners of the competition to promising local and regional start-ups, touching base with young thought- and business leaders through partner programmes, reinforces ITU Telecom World as a key platform for interaction, not only for the current big players in the ICT sector, but also for the new and emerging disruptive leaders of tomorrow.´

For further information on the Young Innovators Programme and Competition, please see http://telecomworld.itu.int/take-part/young-innovators/.”

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, December 08, 2014 10:19:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Despite setbacks, Ethiopia’s tech economy has been making strides, luring entrepreneurs from throughout Africa and gaining international recognition.

This is due to a mix of increased government support for ICT development and the establishment of start-up incubators and hubs that are creating an ideal landscape for the tech industry to grow.


Now home to 1,000 members, incubator iceaddis  is the first of its kind in Ethiopia, describing itself as: ´Collaborative work spaces where aspiring young entrepreneurs, ICT driven individuals, techies, youth and creative individuals can come together to receive business and life skill training, prototyping, technology transfer and enhance their productivity and, ultimately, form viable and sustainable business plans for the future.´

Easily drawing comparisons to other tech hubs in the region, like Nairobi’s iHub  – which now has over 16,000 members – or Uganda’s Hive Colab , iceaddis grew organically, starting with small events and workshops.

According to iceaddis member Markos Lemma, in Ethiopia ´there is high potential for techies to develop applications and technical solutions.´

Adam Abate, founder of Apposit, an information technology services company, attributes this potential to the benefits of exploiting a largely untapped market.

´Infrastructure is expanding at a rapid rate, and the most obvious opportunity in Ethiopia is that there’s still very little here,´ he said.

´Any business you can think of, you can start.´
As Internet access slowly grows in this country of nearly 90 million, a tech boom seems likely. Right now, a mere 1% of Ethiopians have access to the Internet ― even a small increase in that number would create many more opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The Ethiopian government is also investing in ICT. Last year, the government announced plans for a $250 million technology park called Ethio ICT . So far, more than 12 local and international companies have booked space, including China’s ZTE and Techno Mobile and Security Innovation Network (SINET), both of whom will establish their own ICT incubation centres.

The Ministry of Communication & Information Technology states that its aims for establishing the ICT park in Ethiopia are ´to foster the growth of the ICT sector in the country by providing a conducive environment for businesses to develop ICT-supported indigenous business entrepreneurs and to provide employment opportunities for Ethiopians.´

The education sector is also embracing tech. Today, teachers in 75 schools throughout Ethiopia use video technology to record their lessons and evaluate and discuss them with other teachers.

´On the latest videos I can see that because of this, my teaching skills have improved,´ says a teacher from Gafat Primary School in North-Central Ethiopia.

In 10 schools without electricity, solar panels are being used to run the computers and charge the cameras teachers use to evaluate their lessons.

Such innovative thinking isn’t a surprise considering how seriously Ethiopia treats education. The country is one of the few in Africa on track to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of providing universal access to primary education. Many new school buildings have been built over the past few years and there are no fees for primary and secondary schooling. Enrolment has jumped as a result.

Those who graduate into the tech world will find plenty of markets to explore. ´The middle class is increasing, the market is growing,´ Markos Lemma, co-founder of iceaddis, told the BBC.

´There are a lot of opportunities for techies in Ethiopia.´“

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Monday, December 08, 2014 10:06:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Digify, the Google and IAB SA-backed three-month digital bootcamp run by youth agency Livity Africa, is calling talented 18-to-25-year-olds to apply for its January 2015 intake.

Commencing in Johannesburg in mid-January 2015, 15 young people will join the successful initiative which has seen graduates start their careers in some of the country's top digital agencies including Native VML and Retroviral.

Livity Africa Managing Director Gavin Weale says: ´What is really unique about this bootcamp is our strong links with leaders in the digital industry. Not only is Google funding the initiative, they provide Google experts to ensure the young people receive up-to-date training with Search, AdWords, Analytics and YouTube and as well as running campaigns on other social media networks.´

´In addition to gaining technical skills, our Digifyers work closely with brands and agencies to develop campaigns for real live briefs. In the last two cohorts, they have developed campaign ideas for brands like Red Bull, Kit Kat, Nescafé, MTN, Nandos and Mountain Dew,´ says Weale.

Skilled individuals to sustain South Africa's fast digital growth

Google South Africa Country Marketing Manager Elizma Nolte says: ´We are delighted to continue supporting Digify as part of a local initiative to grow digital talent in South Africa. We have been impressed with the talent emerging from Digify, and initiatives like these are of utmost importance in making sure we have skilled individuals to sustain South Africa's fast digital growth.´

Weale adds, ´As an industry, we need to fill a gap of at least a quarter of the current workforce (IT Web, 2011). Digify aims to place all graduates in paid entry level jobs or internships in the digital industry with the first round of cohorts placed in agencies like Native VML, Retroviral, FoxP2, Casson Media, Aqua Agency and iClinic.´

´Our current cohort of graduates will be available for paid internships or roles from mid-December 2014, so get in touch if you are looking for next generation talent,´ says Weale.

Tumelo Popela graduated from Digify in May and has gone on to work for Native VML. ´Thanks to Digify, I got to learn a great deal and ended up working for the agency I've always dreamt of. I have one of the most talented and inspiring managers who has helped me transition into my career. Digify is a wonderful programme for people who want to get into the digital space but need a head start. I'm really glad I joined Digify,´ says Popela.

For more information and to apply for Digify, visit http://livemag.co.za/now-taking-applications-round-three-digify/. Applications close Sunday, 30 November and you must be available to start mid-January 2015.

If you are an agency, brand or organisation who would like to place Digify graduates in your company, provide an innovative speaker for our weekly industry talks or submit a real live brief for our talented young team to respond to, please contact Hlengiwe Simelane at hlengiwe@livityafrica.com  or 011 028 7487."

(Source: Bizcommunity)

Monday, December 08, 2014 10:01:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Tigo Digital Change-makers has begun the search for social entrepreneurs with digital solutions to improve the lives of children and society.

Tigo Digital Change-makers is a partnership between telecom operator, Tigo and international non-governmental organisation, Reach for Change.

It is aimed at developing and encouraging social entrepreneurs to use technology to solve some of Ghana’s most pressing needs.

The two best entries will each receive GHS60, 000 (US$S20, 000), expert guidance and support to bring their business/dreams to life.

Head of Corporate Communications and CSR for Tigo Ghana, Gifty Bingley, says: ´As a digital lifestyle brand, Tigo is putting more emphasis on using Information Communication Technology (ICT) for development. Technology is no longer an ordinary enabler, it is now central to the way we work and live.´

´Through Tigo Digital Change-makers, we want to use our technology to impact positively on development. In 2013, we had amazing Change leaders such as Regina Agyare of Soronko Solutions; and Erasmus Ackon and Marian Wiredu, both from IT4Teens who are using technology to overcome social and economic barriers to increase access to information and education, and empower children from deprived communities,´ she explained.

For 2014, Tigo hopes to receive quality applications that demonstrate the potential in utilizing mobile broadband, digital and/or information technology to improve the quality of lives of children and other proposed projects.

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply online at www.tigo.com.gh/digitalchangemakers. Applications close on December 1, 2014.“

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Monday, December 08, 2014 9:56:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“Telecentre Academy will be introducing the Entrepreneurship and ICT course to three Latin American countries namely Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador starting November.

It will be recalled that earlier this year, TCA launched two pilot batches of the course ´Women, Entrepreneurship and ICTs": the first one in Spanish in June, and the second one in English in July.

See here the Video testimonial of participants of the Entrepreneurship and ICTs pilot course:
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iHyanNKZyg)

The upcoming launch of the course in the three identified Latin American countries is being carried out in coordination with local organizations namely Colnodo, CDI Chile, and Fundapi. For Colombia and Chile, the trainers will be former participants of the concluded pilot edition of the course.

According to TCA Program Manager Ana Agudo, the Academy is looking to expand the coverage of the course to make it applicable to youth as well, not just to women, and it is constantly on the lookout for new partners who will play the role of TCA agents that will implement and offer the course in their respective countries.

How to Become a TCA Agent

For organizations that are interested in becoming TCA agents, below is a summary of the steps involved:
·    Signification of interest via email to TCA team 
·    Agreement on partnership scope and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
·    Training of TCA agent's staff for local delivery of training
·    Customization of the course if deemed necessary
·    Delivery of the course through TCA's online learning platform

For questions pertaining to TCA courses and becoming a TCA agent, contact the TCA team.“

(Futher details)



Monday, December 08, 2014 9:41:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Intel Foundation Awards $100,000 for Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation



"Lab4U, a team of student entrepreneurs from Chile, has won the 10th annual Intel Global Challenge, a global business plan competition that encourages student entrepreneurs to tackle some of the world's most pressing issues through computing technology. The competition provides a unique entrepreneurship experience by giving teams access to top venture capitalists and investors in Silicon Valley.

Lab4U, comprised of team members from the University of Chile and a local cancer research center, developed a technology that uses a mobile phone as a science instrument in order to democratize laboratory equipment. Through built-in mobile sensors and a crowd-learning web platform, users can prepare, analyze and share lab results via a mobile phone. The team, inspired to create this technology by a lack of lab instruments at their own university, aims to change the way science is taught and how experiments are performed.

´At Intel, we believe in giving today's young innovators the opportunities and resources to foster their interest in entrepreneurship,´ said Staci Palmer, Intel's director of Global Strategic Initiatives and Marketing in the Corporate Affairs Group. ´Through programs like the Intel Global Challenge, students from around the world, like Lab4U, are able to pursue their passion to create new technologies that positively affect people's lives.´

The Intel Foundation awarded $100,000 total in cash prizes, including a $50,000 grand prize and three $15,000 awards for teams taking first place in the following categories: Internet, mobile and software computing; computing for social innovation; and Internet of Things and hardware. Additionally, a $5,000 prize for social media was awarded.

Innovations from the three first-place winners ranged from education to manufacturing. Neuron Guard of Italy developed an on-site, integrated solution for the treatment of acute brain damage to prevent irreversible loss after a stroke, sudden cardiac death or traumatic brain injury. Karisma Kidz of the United Kingdom created a mobile application called, ´Moodville,´ a gaming solution for children to increase their emotional intelligence through mood identification and management. Servtech of Taiwan invented a technology infrastructure to leverage information communication technologies in manufacturing. Through Servtech's technology, factories can use big data to access machine conditions and detect anomalies in equipment. Plaze of Lebanon was awarded for their innovative approach to social media during the Intel Global Challenge.

The competition, held at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, drew 26 teams from 20 countries around the world. These finalist teams were selected from more than 60 countries and nine regional competitions. Founded in 2005, the Intel Global Challenge is designed to motivate young entrepreneurs to develop innovative technologies that solve real-world challenges, build viable business models, and move that technology out of university labs and into the market.

Over the past decade alone, Intel has invested more than $1 billion, and its employees have donated close to 4 million hours, to improve education in over 70 countries. For the latest Intel education news, visit www.intel.com/newsroom/education, join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/Intel and follow Twitter updates at twitter.com/intelinvolved."

(Source: Intel)

Monday, December 08, 2014 9:33:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 07, 2014
“Innovative business plans from young entrepreneurs around the world will be on display next week as part of the Intel® Global Challenge. This competition is designed to motivate young entrepreneurs to develop promising technologies that solve real-world challenges, build viable business models, and move that technology out of university labs and into the market. The finalists consist of 26 teams, who are presenting business plans in areas such as computer science, wearable technology and 3-D printing.

As part of this competition, finalists will have the opportunity to meet with successful venture capitalists and hear from experts in entrepreneurship. In addition, the Intel Foundation will award $100,000 in cash prizes. The grand prize winning team will receive $50,000, three first prize winning teams will each receive $15,000, and a $5,000 social media prize will be awarded.“

Further information

Friday, November 07, 2014 10:27:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Six early-stage startups focused on Big Data, Smart Cities and IoT/Cloud selected to accelerate Internet of Everything (IoE) growth and innovation in Europe.

Today Cisco announced the 6 winners of the first Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) Program in Europe during the Pioneers Festival in Vienna.  Cisco EIR is an incubation program focused on nurturing and growing breakthrough advancements at early-stage startups. The first cohort of winners from Europe have undergone a rigorous multi-phase selection process, including a final pitch during the Pioneers Investors Day, focused on the viability of their business plans, the strength of the teams and their alignment with Cisco’s strategic focus on IoE.

The winners are:

Big Data and analytics

Dataiku (France): develops a software workspace called Data Science Studio (DSS) for business analysts and data scientists that aggregates all the steps and big data tools necessary to get from raw data to production-ready applications.

MammothDB (Bulgaria): created an analytics database for enterprise data warehousing. It is an inexpensive database that is compliant with industry standards and is designed to serve as the data warehouse backbone for enterprise business analytics.

Mentat Innovations (Greece, UK): specializes in technology for streaming data analytics at scale using cutting edge statistical techniques and infrastructure. Their solutions have immediate applicability in areas including cybersecurity, defense & intelligence, retail, Web analytics and healthcare.

Smart Cities

Graphmasters (Germany): specializes in Cloud-based routing to reduce traffic jams. By providing centralized routing decisions and precise, personalized driving instructions, traffic can be managed more efficiently.

ICE Gateway (Germany): develops an outdoor wireless infrastructure that serves as a communication platform for smart city applications, including parking, lighting, location-based services and many others.

IoT/Cloud

Flatout (Austria): provides affordable and easy-to-use Smart Home solutions to businesses interested in entering the connected living market.

The Cisco EIR Program, launched in the USA in August 2013 and in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) in July 2014, aims to nurture early-stage startups working on the next big idea for the Internet of Everything (IoE). Once on-board, each cohort of entrepreneurs in Europe spends six months in residence with Cisco and Cisco partners in Vienna. The Cisco EIR Program offers the successful startups strategic funding, access to co-working space, basic software tools and a potential opportunity to collaborate with Cisco product and engineering teams.

´Cisco EIR takes Cisco’s best practices coupled with its partner ecosystem to help startups accelerate their product development and business growth. Cisco’s goal is to create an environment that embraces strategic freedom while giving the startups potential opportunities to collaborate closely with Cisco,´ said Mala Anand, Senior Vice President, Cisco Services Platforms Group. ´Europe is a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent, and Vienna is a place where the concept of open innovation and startup incubation is well understood – both are gateways to key emerging markets. Through this collaboration with Pioneers, the successful applicants will have unprecedented access to Cisco and Cisco’s partner ecosystem to fuel their growth trajectories.´

Cisco EIR launched its first cohort consisting of six startups in Silicon Valley in April 2014. This program has now expanded with six startups in Europe, which will begin their in-residence incubation with Cisco in January 2015. The selected companies are going to be supported by a team of executives and mentors who represent a cross-section of expertise from Cisco and its partners.“

(Source: Cisco)

Friday, November 07, 2014 10:24:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“ITU is strengthening its commitment to including young people in its policy-setting processes with a special Youth Programme underway at its Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14) currently underway in Busan, Republic of Korea. The programme is designed to more effectively empower and engage the next generation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) leaders to ensure continued leadership and stability in the ICT field.

The Young ICT Policy Leaders (YIPL) programme specifically aims to advance the policy making skills of tomorrow’s ICT professionals. It provides a platform for mentorship and networking, and nurtures knowledge and skills exchange through a series of five sessions with global leaders from the ICT sector. The sessions are themed as follows: Working and Thriving in the ICT Sector; Why Policy Leadership Matters; Working in a Multi-stakeholder World; Leadership in Building Consensus; and Getting the Job Done: Lessons for 2018.

Each national delegation at PP-14 was invited to nominate two young members of their delegation (aged under 35) to participate in the programme, with the City of Busan funding the participation of a further 35 delegates from Least Developed Countries, to ensure broad participation.

Two thousand young people from across the globe contributed to the PP-14 youth public consultation, an online crowd-sourced youth policy statement which was submitted as a proposed Resolution on Youth to the PP-14 Plenary by Costa Rica. This innovative initiative paves the way for greater inclusion of youth voices in governance processes, enabling them to actively contribute to policies which directly affect them.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said ´It is very encouraging to see such informed and energetic contributions to our main policy-making conference processes. Young people are not just the future of this sector, they are a current force of creators, entrepreneurs and consumers and we stand to benefit the more we can integrate their voices and insights into policies that will guide our sector towards the future knowledge economy.´

The PP-14 Youth Programme is part of ITU’s wider Youth Programme which seeks to utilize ICTs to enhance education, reduce youth unemployment, bridge the digital divide and promote the social and economic development of young people globally.

The Busan Initiative was also launched during PP-14 and aims to address issues related to greater participation of youth in the digital economy, including tackling youth unemployment and access to ICTs. Read more here.”

Further information

Friday, November 07, 2014 10:15:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Outbox invites you to apply for an all expenses paid two week immersion program* in Silicon Valley. This is a unique opportunity for non-us startups to access resources and scale globally. Founders will come to Silicon Valley for the two weeks, where they will have the opportunity to live and collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs from all around the world and take part in an intense agenda of meetings and workshops with entrepreneurs, investors, experts and executives.

Accepted startups must have launched a technology based MVP and gathered feedback from early adopter/customers. Ideally – but not required – a startup should have raised some investment capital, have a team between 3 to 20 people and have a product or service that can be launched globally.

To qualify:
  • Startup must be based outside the U.S
  • Have already launched a product or nearing completion of beta testing product with prospective customers
  • Attending founders (up to 2 founders) must be proficient in English
Please have a look at the previous showcase for Blackbox Connect https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Messbm5cHhg&feature=youtu.be in order to learn more about the program.

Application deadline is November 21st 2014. Program dates: February 2nd to February 13th 2015. Female founders are encouraged to apply.
Apply now; http://tinyurl.com/bbc-outbox

(Source: WOUGNET)

Friday, November 07, 2014 10:06:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Rlg Communications Gambia Limited, a computer assembling plant, Tuesday launched what it called ‘Connect Gambia – Vision 2020’ as part of its efforts to making The Gambia an ICT nation and creating more jobs for the youth of the country.

Rlg Communications Gambia Limited is part of a multinational company currently operating in Africa and Asia. ‘Connect Gambia – Vision 2020’ project is meant to provide Gambians assembled laptops connected to the Internet for every child from the primary to secondary schools through the university.

Speaking on behalf of the managing director of Rlg Gambia, the company’s marketing officer, Andrew Sambou, stated that tablets for school-going students will be connected with relevant school curriculum content, and would be replicated across the sub-region.

Over the past years, the communications company has worked very closely with partners like the Ministries of Trade and Education to strengthen their capacity in creating more job opportunities for young Gambians, Sambou told the gathering.

With the support of The Gambia government through the Ministry of Trade, he informed that in March 2014, Rlg was able to train 30 youths in the Upper River Region who are set to graduate later this month in Basse. These students, he noted, form the third phase of the programme conducted by the company.

As an extremely important facet of society, he said, the tablet for teachers will help reduce their workload, saying through the apps used, they will help their students get real work from hand written assignment to presentations.

Sambou further disclosed that his company is currently working with the decision making house to make the ‘Connect Gambia – Vision 2020’ project work by 2015.

´With the continuous support of the Gambian government, Rlg will be able to equip and get latest advanced courses in ICT for all National Assembly members as part of the company’s vision for 2015. To make the project a success, Rlg institute of technology has franchise with the world renowned IT training institute in India called APTECH,´ he concluded.“

(Source: Daily Observer Gambia)

Friday, November 07, 2014 11:46:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 03, 2014
“Inaugural GEM-TECH Awards bring winners from around the world to Busan, Korea to highlight the transformative power of ICTs

Seven outstanding individuals and organizations leading pioneering projects and advocacy linked to harnessing the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to boost gender empowerment were honoured this morning as recipients of the first-ever GEM-TECH Awards.

The awards were conferred by ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré before some 2,500 delegates at a special ceremony in the morning Plenary session of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference currently taking place in Busan, Republic of Korea. The event was introduced by leading Korean TV personality Jie-ae Sohn, a journalist with 25 years’ experience as a correspondent for some of the world’s leading media channels.

Co-organized with UN Women, the GEM-TECH Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of organizations and individuals in the area of gender equality and mainstreaming through information and communication technology (ICT). The launch of the awards in June of this year prompted over 360 nominations from over 70 countries around the world. The awards were open to leading women and men, as well as organizations working in the field of ICT and gender.

The seven GEM-TECH winners are:

Category 1: applications, content, production capacities and skills for women’s social and political empowerment and links with sustainable development
Winner: UNESCO’s Women in Africa’s History e-Learning project Africa

Category 2: ICT applications, content, production capacities and skills for women’s economic empowerment and poverty reduction
Winner: iMerit Technology, India

Category 3: Promoting Women in the ICT sector – initiatives to attract, retain and promote women in the ICT sector and into decision-making roles (public/private sector)
Winner: BCS Chartered Institute for IT United Kingdom

Category 4: Enabling girls to become ICT creators – initiatives aimed at providing girls with the opportunity to become not just active users, but creators of ICTs and content
Winner: Research Center for Feminist Action (CIPAF) Dominican Republic

Category 5: Closing the ICT gender gap, ensuring ICT accessibility for women, such as digital literacy training and ensuring affordable and meaningful access to ICTs by women.
Winner: Telecentre.org Foundation Philippines

Category 6: Efforts to reduce online threats and to build women’s confidence and security in the use of ICTs
Winner: Association for Progressive Communications (APC) South Africa

Category 7: ICT and broadband strategies, policies and frameworks that promote women’s digital empowerment
Winner: Federal Ministry of Communication Technology Nigeria

The awards were sponsored by Gold Partners the Sultanate of Oman, the Republic of Rwanda, the Swiss Confederation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Silver Partners Cisco Systems and Facebook.

Congratulating the seven winners out of a field of 37 finalists, ITU’s Dr Touré praised the exceptionally high quality of nominations, and stressed that much still needs to be done to leverage the full power of ICTs to improve the lives of women and men.

´It is almost 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – so where do we stand today with reference to Gender Equality and Mainstreaming?´ asked Dr Touré, who pointed to a ‘gender digital divide’ that is particularly worrying in the developing world. ´ITU estimates that some 200 million fewer women are online compared to men. Women are coming online later, and more slowly. Without remedial action, it is estimated that the internet gender gap could grow to 350 million within three or four years. Equality in access to broadband is not only an issue of right and wrong; it also makes commercial and economic sense,´ he said.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said ´We need all of you to join our efforts, so that these inspiring GEM-TECH winners and others working at the forefront of digital inclusion are leading a turning point for women’s digital empowerment through technology.´

This morning’s ceremony also recognized six GEM-TECH ‘Global Achievers’ – organizations and individuals recognized for exceptional long-term commitment to furthering the issue of ICT and gender. They are: Alcatel-Lucent’s StrongHer initiative; Cisco Systems’ Distinguished Consulting Engineer, Monique Morrow; Academy Award winning actor and advocate Geena Davis; GSMA’s Connected Women programme; Intel Corporation’s Director of Social Impact, Renee Wittemyer, and former Serbian Minister of Communications and State Secretary for Digital Agenda, Jasna Matić.

The award ceremony was followed later in the day by a lunchtime GEM-TECH High Level Dialogue, where winners and partners had the opportunity to showcase their projects and initiatives, and where other experts from industry, civil society and government joined a stimulating debate on the topic of ‘Gender and ICTs: why gender equality matters and where do we stand today?’, moderated by Korea’s Jie-ae Sohn. The GEM-TECH HLD can be viewed on archived webcast in seven languages at: www.itu.int/pp14/webcast.

The day’s ICT and gender-related activities will wrap up this evening with an exclusive gala dinner event held at Nurimaru APEC House on Busan’s Dongbaekseon Island.“

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:57:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“´With 2000 innovators from 48 countries entering in its first three years; IPA 2015 takes investment in unleashing and supporting sustainable African led innovation past half a million USD

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) is calling on all African innovators to submit their entries for the fourth edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) competition. The IPA is presented annually, enabling and encouraging African pioneers to develop creative ideas and techniques to overcome some of the challenges faced by the continent and support sustainable development.

´At the African Innovation Foundation we are passionate about Africa and its potential, that we firmly believe will be led by empowering a new generation of African innovators and entrepreneurs. But we also recognise that this new generation needs the resources and the opportunities to realise their ambition,´ said AIF and IPA founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais. ´IPA provides a platform to encourage and harness these entrepreneurial skills in order to help improve the lives of Africans and to help realise untapped potential. The prize is also a great way of unleashing creativity and promoting growth within the African continent.´

The IPA is becoming integral to facilitating ground-breaking thinking, creativity and driving awareness to the outstanding work being done in Africa by Africans. IPA 2013 winner, AgriProtein went on to raise $11 million to build its first two commercial farms in Cape Town.

´Africa needs meaningful investment to alleviate poverty and provide inclusive prosperity. To achieve this, we need to be able to provide environments that promote quality investment for the people and reduce risks. Forums like the IPA are necessary to make the most of the continent's investment,´ said AgriProtein spokesperson, David Drew.
All innovations are evaluated based on the following criteria: originality, marketability, scalability, social impact and Scientific/technical aspects. The best submission will be awarded a grand prize of USD 100 000.  The second prize of USD 25 000 will be awarded to an innovator with an innovation which has the best commercial and business potential. An additional award is a special prize granted to the innovator whose innovation has the best social impact in the community.

The IPA encourages entries in five key categories: Agriculture and Agribusiness, Environment, Energy and Water, Health and Wellbeing, ICT applications, and Manufacturing and Services Industries.

Recognising home grown innovative ingenuity, the prize contributes to increased funding of start-ups, adoption of new and emerging technologies and accelerated growth of the private sector. With ever changing economic and social environments, it is critical that proposed solutions tackle issues affecting African lives, and that they are effective and are different from the existing ones.

IPA 2014 named Dr Nicolaas Duneas and Mr Nuno Pires from South Africa the winners of the grand Prize and received USD 100’000 for their Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix (Altis OBM TM), the first injectable porcine derived BMP medical device in the world — an innovative product for the treatment of bone injuries and voids through the use of a regenerative biological implant.

The IPA also beckons all investors, governments and other stakeholders interested in evaluating, investing and maximising the continent’s resources to participate in this innovative and empowering initiative and make a significant change through generous contributions that will accelerate the Africa’s economic growth.

The deadline for submitting applications for IPA 2015 is 31 October 2014 at 24h00 GMT. For more information on competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission details, please visit: http://innovationprizeforafrica.org/. ”

(Source: IPA)

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:49:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“ ´Young Mobile Innovator of the Year´ and ´Connected Women: Leadership in Industry´ Awards Created to Mark Global Mobile Awards 20th Anniversary.

The GSMA today introduced two special awards that have been developed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Global Mobile Awards. The ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’ and ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry’ awards will be presented at the Global Mobile Awards ceremony at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 3 March 2015.

The first new award, ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’, is designed to showcase young and exciting new talent from across the mobile ecosystem and is open to anyone between 18 and 25 years old, working in an organisation or independently, or currently pursuing further education. The second, the ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry’ award, will recognise leadership in the establishment of initiatives that have a positive impact in reducing the digital skills gap and attracting and retaining women and girls in mobile and telecommunications.

´These additional awards will put the spotlight on individuals and organisations that will be shaping the face of the mobile industry in the years to come,´ said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “The ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’ award provides a platform for up-and-coming individuals to showcase exciting new and innovative mobile ideas, and the ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry’ award will honour individuals, enterprises and initiatives that are working to close the ICT skills gender gap and inspire female leadership in technology around the world.´

Candidates for the ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’ award must be able to demonstrate their ideas and provide evidence of early stage attention from prospective customers. Finalists will be invited to attend Mobile World Congress, where they will pitch their ideas in a live innovation session to a of panel judges who will select the overall winner. Successful entries to the ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry Award’ should exhibit value through thoughtful design and successful implementation of initiatives that accelerate the growth of the female digital economy by encouraging and retaining women in the technology industry.”

Further details

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:43:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) and CCI Learning have announced a partnership to provide innovative learning experiences that promote 21st century business, technology and communications skills among Canadian youth.

Through their partnership, ICTC and CCI Learning have identified industry certification ´crosswalks´ within Canada’s Focus on Information Technology (FIT) program. Developed by the ICTC, with top educational specialists and ICT employers, FIT is a nationally-recognized certificate program promoting digital literacy to advance youth skills development, experiential learning and development of effective learning resources for students and teachers. It provides secondary school students with valuable course pathways fostering ICT skills development.

´To identify these crosswalks, we conducted a thorough analysis of learning outcomes within ICTC's FIT certification paths, comparing them to skill sets required for leading IT industry certifications. In many cases, FIT learning outcomes almost completely matched with certification objectives such as those within CompTIA Strata and the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Software Development certification” said Malcolm Knox, CCI Learning President and CEO. ´Many provinces already include the same learning outcomes as the ICTC FIT certification paths.´
´Providing secondary school students with a clear and compelling pathway to further ICT training is a critical part of addressing technology skills shortages´ said Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO. ´Our partnership with CCI Learning will be a model for achieving this for similar agreements across the country.´
Schools choosing to integrate these systems will provide triple recognition to graduates through national, provincial and industry level certifications. Students can graduate with multiple industry level certifications in addition to their current certification programs, bolstering chances for career success.

CCI Learning and ICTC’s FIT Certification Industry Crosswalk provides the most effective education solution. It ensures Canada’s success in the global digital economy by investing in technology education that is tangible and applicable to the labour market.“

Further details

Monday, November 03, 2014 6:30:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 21, 2014


"MTN has joined three leading global technology companies as sponsors of this year’s AMPION Venture Bus, which seeks to enable entrepreneurial talent in Africa to develop innovative solutions on the continent by making best use of the power of mobile technology.

MTN as well as SAP and Microsoft will financially support AMPION's 2014 operations and enable the newly established NGO to successfully operate on a pan-African level and generate long-term impact. Free hardware and bandwidth granted by Inmarsat will provide the AMPION Venture Buses with satellite connectivity.

Microsoft will additionally provide a package of free software and training to winning startups of the 2014 AMPION Venture Buses. Interested entrepreneurs, designers and coders still have a chance to apply for a seat on the Venture Busesonline. More than 700 applications from all over the world have been reviewed by AMPION as of today for the 180 seats on the Venture Buses.

Global healthcare leader Merck will be AMPION’s prime sponsor for the East African Venture Bus. Participants on the Venture Bus travelling from Tanzania to Rwanda will specifically focus on developing e-Health solutions. The East African Venture Bus will be accompanied by a CEO-selected Merck representative. E-Health experts are specifically encouraged to apply for this Venture Bus.

In September 2014, AMPION had launched two crowdfunding campaigns to aid with operational costs and to finance an extensive Fellowship Program for the most promising start-ups; the first crowdfunding campaign on 1%Club has now been successfully completed and is being granted 70% of its €15.000 funding goal through The Cheetah Fund, which is powered by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

 AMPION will utilise this momentum to mobilise support for its remaining crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Reaching the overall crowdfunding goal of €50,000 will enable AMPION to set up a Fellowship Programme for a maximum amount of African start-ups and entrepreneurs with considerable funding and incubation.

Commenting on the strategic partnerships, Fabian-Carlos Guhl Founder & MD, AMPION, said: ´We are delighted to work with our new sponsors MTN, SAP, Microsoft, Inmarsat and Merck in Africa. Sponsoring and partnering with AMPION is an investment into the African mobile technology, start-ups and ICT space of tomorrow – and the creative entrepreneurs behind it. We are proud that world leading companies are convinced that our work is making a difference and decided to be a part of it.´"

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:39:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“On Thursday 16th of October, Fundi Bots, a Ugandan robotics company that equips students and developers with robotics skills trained over 20 learners from the University of Rwanda as well as developers at the kLab innovation space.

And Solomon King, the founder of Fundi Bots, explains what it is all about: ´The thing about robotics is it is one discipline, but there are a million sub-disciplines in it. I keep telling the trainees that when they’ve finished their first robot, they’ve learnt about electronics, they learnt about logical thinking, they’ve learnt about programming, mechanics, biology and popular science. And that is the main target of this training among all our works.´

The training lasted a full day running from 9am to 4pm and students learnt a range of skills ranging from the core of electronics and arduino programming to programming machines to move and navigate around.

Mark Musasizi, a developer, says the training availed developers with skills that are timely for the development of Rwanda into a regional ICT hub.

´We can’t lean on only knowledge that we get from school. We must source knowledge elsewhere and be a significant part of ICT development in the country that has set up the entire necessary infrastructure for us. What we are learning is technology in developed countries and we need to bring it home and apply it,´ he remarks.

Fundi Bots is a nonprofit organization which builds spaces where passionate young people can learn, grow and experiment with machines, gadgets and technology they would not otherwise have access to. Places where curiosity is fostered rather than feared, where failure is embraced as part of a learning process, and where ideas, however crazy, are heard and explored without bias or prejudice.

Fundi Bots works with private enterprises, nongovernmental organizations, academia and other talented and interested parties to create environments where social, commercial and local solutions can be found for Ugandan problems.

Fundi Bots is currently operating in Uganda but hopes to extend more training activities to Rwanda and move to about five African countries before the end of next year.

(Source: The New Times)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:36:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Ericsson has today announced the launch of the sixth annual Innovation Awards, a competition in which university students are given the opportunity to be drivers of fundamental change in society.

The theme of the 2015 competition is ´The Future of Learning´ - how can we make learning accessible for all? What do we need when lifelong learning becomes necessary for everyone? What are the new tools and methodologies when learning becomes an online activity and it happens more and more away from school buildings?

In Ericsson's vision of the Networked Society, technology fundamentally transforms the ways we organize our lives, businesses and societies. But only recently has the connectivity and computational power once reserved for industrial applications become intensely personal - embedded not just into our mobile devices and cloud software, but into our everyday expressions, interactions, relationships and desires. The result is an unprecedented capacity for individual empowerment and innovation.

Empowered by technology, students and progressive teachers are catalysts for fundamental change. New skills and the passion for constant learning are becoming increasingly important. A new ecosystem is emerging that is greatly impacting, and in some cases redefining, established systems and institutions.

We hope and expect many good ideas about the future of learning from students around the world. The winners will receive a prize 25 000 EUR, with the runners-up receiving 10 000 EUR and 5 000 EUR going to the third-placed team.

All semi finalists and finalists will also be given the opportunity to an interview for internship or permanent employment at Ericsson.

The competition is open to team of two to four people, and Ericsson recommends a combination of technology and business students in the team. To apply and register to the competition visit www.ericsson.com/innovationawards

Last year's winner in the student category was Team WorkMode from South Africa for their collaboration."

(Source: Ericsson)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:19:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“UNESCO has entered into its first-ever partnership with a private company based in sub-Saharan Africa. The Funds-In-Trust agreement between Airtel Gabon and UNESCO will support Train My Generation: Gabon 5000, a three-year project to provide scientific and entrepreneurial training through ICT to thousands of young people in Gabon, plus deliver new skills to secondary school teachers.

The mobile company will provide $4.3 million for the project, which will be implemented by UNESCO. It will start with the establishment of ten Cyber Centres equipped with servers and computers at schools in Libreville, Port Gentil, Oyem, Franceville, Bitam and Lambaréné.

At the signing ceremony in Paris, the Director-General of UNESCO welcomed the partnership with Airtel, pointing out the potential of such cooperation with African corporations. ´The African Private sector is extremely dynamic and I am very proud today to sign UNESCO’s first partnership with a company based in Sub-Saharan Africa,´ stated Irina Bokova.

Olivier Herve Njapoum, the Director-General of Airtel Gabon, added that his company was convinced that the youth of Africa will contribute to the development of the continent if they are provided with good training. ´Through this partnership, Airtel wishes to benefit from the expertise of one of the most important organizations of the United Nations System […], UNESCO, whose programmes in Africa contribute to the promotion of innovation based on knowledge technologies,´ he said.

The Ambassador of Gabon, Gisèle Marie Hortense Ossakedjombo-Ngoua Memiaghe, welcomed the partnership with enthusiasm, invoking ´studies that prove that there is a cause and effect link between the development of telecommunications and economic development.´

5,000 young people, aged 18 to 35, will receive basic ICT training during the first phase of the project, which will also provide training in online teaching to 100 secondary education science teachers. The teachers will use their skills to provide online educational support to 15,000 secondary school students preparing their end of school exams. But because the platform used for educational support will be easily accessible, scholastic support is expected to reach a far greater number of students.

Smaller groups will be taught how to develop applications for mobile phones, operate cyber cafés and set up cooperative maintenance centres, through the Train My Generation: Gabon 5000 project.”

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:11:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 16, 2014

"The Director General of Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, FIIRO, Dr. Gloria Elemo, has said that an estimated 1,500 small and medium scale enterprises are expected to be set up across the country in the next one year through the 250 Research and Development (R&D) technologies/outputs developed by the institute.

Speaking ahead of the Investment and Technology Week being put together by the institute, she said that not less than 50,000 direct job opportunities will also be created following the adoption of the technologies by the 774 local government areas in the nation, even as she said that 75,000 entrepreneurs have so far benefited from FIIRO technology transfer.

She noted that the 250 R&D outputs to be showcased at the four days event, which kicked off today (Tuesday, October 14, 2014), would also spur more Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, interest into the country.

Elemo added that the investment week is part of the institute's effort to deliver more effectively on its mandate for rapid industrialization of the national economy, as well as create employment opportunities to reverse the worsening unemployment in the country.

´The overall aim of the programme is to showcase the institutes over 250 R&D outputs suitable for investment by micro, small, medium and large scale entrepreneurs to enhance job creation and improve on the national Gross Domestic Products.´

We are hoping that at least 35 technologies would be well structured and adopted in all the local governments, which is 774. So, the projection is that if every local government tries to adopt at least two technologies, we will have a total of about 2,000 jobs each.

´When you look at others that are coming in to buy into the technologies, various commercial organisations, students coming in, National Association of Nigeria Students, NANS, organizations like SURE-P and other organized sectors, we are expecting that minimum expected jobs that can come out of this catalyst should be at least 250,000. This will definitely reduce unemployment level in the country,´ she said.

´We just concluded training of a number of youths on our National Techno-entrepreneurs Initiative, but our target is 2,000 youths on annual basis as part of our contribution to national development and corporate social responsibility programme, to transfer technology to them and also lead them to proper infrastructure that will definitely establish them on the field."

(Source: Vanguard Newspaper)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:46:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Tigo-owned Kigali-based technology incubator think has announced the first four companies selected for support, with the winners to be offered US$15,000 in funding, access to Tigo networks across Africa, mentoring and business development education.

BizTechAfrica reported in August think had received over 100 applications from nine countries, and the incubator has now chosen four teams it says represent innovative, digital, private sector solutions that demonstrate the potential to scale across Africa, with the four companies now invited to participate in a six-month accelerator programme beginning early next month.

The companies are Egyptian startup Beliaa, a mobile app for road assistance that uses GPS location services and provides traffic tracking and other transportation information features, Nigeria’s Cribpark, which is a platform for real estate matching, home design and architecture, Ghanian company PollAfrique, which offers a research platform allowing respondents to participate in incentivised surveys via a number of channels, and Rwandan firm TorQue, which delivers channel management software for wholesale distributors in the beverage and telecommunications industries.

The winning startups were picked from applicants from Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Uganda and Benin.
Tongai Maramba, general manager of Tigo Rwanda, said: ´The companies we have selected for think show innovation in a crowded playing field. The founders are smart, determined and have the potential to scale their firms across the continent. After a rigorous review process, we have selected companies that demonstrate incredible promise.´
The incubator said it forms one part of a growing ecosystem to encourage technology development across Africa, and will work closely with The Office RW and incubator kLab to co-host networking and skills-building events.

VC4Africa, GSMA, MEST Ghana, Venture Wave San Francisco, Afrilabs, iHub Nairobi and Carnegie Mellon University all assisted in promoting the application process.
´Rwanda is becoming a hub for technology innovations, and think is a great addition to our vibrant ecosystem. We cannot wait to see the next African startups bourgeoning from Rwanda,´ Rwanda’s minister for youth and ICT Jean-Philbert Nsengimana said."

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:42:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 09, 2014


“In its continuous effort to bridge the gap between theories taught in the classroom and real life situations, Vodacom Business Nigeria has organised a two-day industrial tour for students from the Department of Engineering and Information Technology, Covenant University, Nigeria.

According to the tech giant, the visit was aimed at providing first–hand experience and a unique opportunity for the students to gain insight into a working environment related to their field of study. The industrial tour, which took place at Vodacom’s offices in Ikoyi, focused on´Demystifying Cloud Computing´ where students got in-depth knowledge of cloud technology, how it works and how it is applied to modern businesses.

The Managing Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Guy Clarke, said: ´Our commitment is centered on the concept that the more knowledgeable the youth are, the greater their opportunity for employment. We know that Cloud Computing plays a big role in the ICT industry today and it would contribute to the further growth of Nigerian businesses as the technology is gaining wider acceptance in the business world´. According to him, the workshop is one of the company’s many contributions towards the development of skills and job creation opportunities for young people.

Cloud computing will continue to change the world and in many cases, young people drive this process even without knowing it. With millions of youths in Nigeria connected to the Internet, many use cloud through collaboration and social networking tools. There is no better way to encourage this change than exposing the young people to the technical, business and leadership skills required for Cloud technology innovations.”

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:33:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“MTN Ghana has revealed the details for Version 2.0 of the MTN Ghana Application Challenge. Back in 2013, Software Engineer Setriakor Nyomi was named as the overall winner with his Oware 3D application.

According to MTN Ghana, this year’s edition under the theme ´Promoting innovative local apps development´ is open for submission of apps from October to 28th of November 2014. It challenges Ghanaian app developers to code locally relevant and user-friendly apps to suit local taste.

CMO Rahul De stated that: ´In addition to consolation prizes for runners-up, each category will award a cash prize of GHC 15,000, and the overall winner will receive a cash prize of GHC 20,000.´

´The mobile application market is inextricably linked with the explosion of smartphone penetration and usage by consumers worldwide. As the smartphone market grows rapidly in Ghana, and especially on MTN network, it is imperative that we have apps developed locally and tailored to our market,´ he said.

According to MTN Ghana: ´The mobile application market is creating employment and generating income for an estimated number of 2.3 million people across the world. It is also said that apps generate around €10 billion per year in revenue for the European Union, which has about one 1 million apps available.´

The last edition of the apps challenge was a success, according to MTN Ghana, as most of its winners are experiencing rapid patronage of their apps on MTN play and other platforms.

´MTN Apps Challenge Version 2.0 has one goal, and that is to reward the most innovative and locally-relevant mobile apps developers. Entries of apps will be accepted in three categories: education; lifestyle; and games and entertainment.´”

(Source: IT News Africa)

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:28:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Young Rwandans who will be able to come up with software applications aimed at enhancing public service delivery are set to win cash prizes that go up to $5,000 (Rwf 3.5 million) in a newly launched competition by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Speaking at the launch of the competition on Thursday in Kacyiru, Kigali , the UN resident coordinator, Lamin Manneh, said they were focusing on how to apply innovation in improving people's daily livelihoods.

´As an emerging economy, we are focusing on applying innovations to improve livelihoods and opportunities provided by mobile technology,´ he said.

UNDP, which is organising the competition in partnershio with the Ministry for Youth and ICT (MYICT) and Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), wants the youth to develop software that can be downloaded on mobile phones and be used by citizens for continuous feedback to authorities on the level of public service delivery.

The information gathered from the software will be analysed by RGB and shared with the relevant government institutions for action, as well as inform research and policy.
Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Youth and ICT minister urged the youth to take advantage of the opportunity to help grow country's economy.

´Don't look at the $5,000 cash prize. The benefits could be much more if you looked at public satisfaction with services delivered using your software,´ he told the youth.
The winner will walk away with $5,000, the first-runners up with $2,000 while the second-runners up will take home $1,500.

Applicants have up to 28th November this year to present their projects to the organisers."

(Source: All Africa)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:29:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"The Kenyan ICT Authority has partnered SAP for the second year to train at least 100 young Kenyans with high-end ICT skills to the value of approximately US$6,000 per student.

The SAP Skills for Africa programme, which will be offered on scholarship to unemployed recent university graduates, will be carried out at the Techno Brain offices in Nairobi.
 
SAP Skills for Africa targets recent graduates interested in finance and business development, in line with Kenya’s ICT Master Plan 2014-17, which recommends developing talent and nurturing a workforce skilled in ICT to meet the needs of the industry.

Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of ICT Dr Fred Matiang’i commended the achievements of the initiative and called on more companies to design similar projects. 'We churn out thousands of graduates into the market, but they face a challenge in getting jobs as they do not match the skill set that employers are looking for. We are tackling this head on and our goal is to partner with the private sector to increase the capacity of our people in ICT,' he said.

The ICT Authority and SAP have signed a three-year partnership agreement to collaborate on innovation and incubation programmes, general ICT awareness and literacy, skills development and internship programmes, best practice sharing on process improvement and joint research initiatives.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ICT Authority Victor Kyalo said: 'Capacity and literacy is a major component of what the authority is mandated to promote. We are working to achieve this through various partners in the private sector and academia. This is a key ingredient to Kenya success to becoming a hub in ICT excellence.'

'A key component of SAP’s Africa Growth Plan, is the training of 8,000-10,000 new consultants in Africa in the next seven years. These skilled people, in the main economic hubs of Africa, will enable governments and private sector to improve the way they do business across the continent and ultimately the World – driving prosperity through job creation,' said Andrew Waititu, Managing Director of SAP East Africa.

Successful candidates will go through a training programme, certification and internship placements, with the scholarships targeting candidates that graduated between December 2011 and December 2014 for internships to run in the first quarter of next year."

(Source: BizTech Africa)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:02:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"Today the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Facebook announced a new partnership to support women entrepreneurs around the world by providing them with Facebook business resources and mentor support.

The collaboration will involve Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s Mentoring Programme, which connects mentors with women entrepreneurs from developing countries.

Facebook is creating a new online portal designed to support these entrepreneur mentees in growing their businesses, including best-practice guides, how-to videos, and inspiration from other like-minded business owners. The portal includes an ´ask an expert´ function where Foundation mentees can receive assistance from a Facebook expert on creating their Page, acquiring new customers, and building their online presence.

Facebook will hold a business bootcamp webinar for mentees and mentors to launch the portal and walk them through these new resources. In addition, Facebook employees will join the Foundation’s Mentoring Programme as volunteer mentors and work one-on-one with women entrepreneurs to help them take their small and medium enterprises to the next level.

´Facebook is a natural partner for my Foundation,´ said Cherie Blair QC, CBE. ´When women are able to become financially independent, this not only transforms their lives for the better but also positively impacts the lives of their family members and people in their communities.´

´This partnership combines many things Facebook cares about: the power of small businesses to connect to more customers; the power of technology to drive economic growth; and the power of entrepreneurship to help women achieve economic independence,´ commented Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. ´We are thrilled to be teaming up with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women because they, too, are focused on bringing and scaling support to more entrepreneurs around the world.´

Cherie Blair Foundation CEO, Sevi Simavi, said, ´Many of the Foundation’s mentees regularly ask for training on using social media and Facebook, so we are enthusiastic about this partnership and the new learning opportunities it will make available to the women we work with´."

(Source: Cherieblairfoundation)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:56:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 25, 2014
“Microsoft 4Afrika has announced a new Collaboration Challenge with AfriLabs to increase knowledge sharing across the hub network in Africa and spur innovation. The challenge, officially launched at this year’s DEMO Africa event, is tasking hub members with proposing and delivering an activity, process or tool that fosters collaboration within the AfriLabs network.

AfriLabs’ core function is to facilitate collaboration, which requires the right platforms, mechanisms and incentives for hubs and their teams to share information and dialogue. The winning solution will receive $15,000 from Microsoft and technical support to develop it. The hubs within the AfriLabs network will be provided with a more efficient way to learn from each other’s best practices and build more sustainable models.

´Collaboration fuels innovation. It encourages people to learn from each other and build on better and bigger ideas,´ says Annie Njenga innovation hubs manager for Microsoft. ´Innovation hubs give developers a collaborative space where organisations can assist them with the technical and business skills needed to get their businesses off the ground. They bring different people together who otherwise would never have met, and create successful companies that strengthen local economies.´

According to the World Bank, there are currently 90 innovation hubs across Africa. AfriLabs, a pan-African network of technology and innovation hubs, makes up 35 of these. Two of these hubs, the Co-creation hub in Nigeria and the iHub in Kenya, have been recognised as best performing models. The iHub has launched 152 successful local startups to date, encouraging the local Kenyan government to commit to establishing a tech hub in each of its 47 counties. ´The encouragement of a vibrant innovator ecosystem is essential to the growth of Africa’s knowledge economy,´ says Fernando de Sousa, General Manager of Africa Initiatives at Microsoft. ´To remain relevant and sustainable, the hubs will need to not only promote innovation, but also focus on their monetisation.´

However, many hubs have been unable to find models that ensure sustainability from the initial grants that got them started. ´Challenges like finding the right partners, determining the correct strategy and sustainability model, having the right team and skills in the hub, and the involvement of government can be difficult to navigate,´ says Tayo Akinyemi, Director at AfriLabs.

The Collaboration Challenge has been designed to help stimulate collaboration and knowledge sharing within the Afrilabs network and fully leverage the knowledge, skills and resources that are available through the network and its partners.

´If you look at the success of Silicon Valley, you’ll see it lies in collaboration.´ Research done by the Accenture Institute for High Performance pins it down to close ties among outstanding educational institutions, research organisations and businesses. ´That’s what we’re aiming for throughout the pan-African network,´ says Annie Njenga.

Hub members who enter the challenge will have until the 24th of October 2014 to submit their concepts and vote for their favourite ideas. All those proposing an application need to design it for the Windows platform and host it on Microsoft Azure, an open and flexible cloud platform with a single software-as-a-service offering that manages the entire lifecycle of an application. The winning individual or team will receive financial, technical and mentorship support from Microsoft to help them execute the concept.

The challenge will be run on Hylo, a social network that enables skilled collaborators to coalesce around shared intentions and challenges. Individual participants and teams can submit an ‘intention’ in the form of a brief description of the proposed idea. Others may respond by submitting their own ideas, requesting information from the idea’s originator, or submitting an ‘offer’ to help develop someone else’s idea. The winning concept will be the one that garners the most overall support.”

(Source: AfriLabs)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 9:48:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“The State National Bank for Economic and Social Development of Brazil (BNDES funds) launched in Sao Paulo an exclusive line of credit for the Brazilian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on the sector of Information Technology, which pretends to invest in innovation.

The program has a credit calculated on 300 million reais (about US$ 126.9 million), with an interest rate of 4% per annum for companies with 'innovative' profile, according to the presentation of MPMEs innovative, as it was called the credit from BNDES and DESENVOLVE SP, the regional development agency.

"The company that has a card BNDES is already classified as innovative", without bureaucratic procedure to present the projects to justify the range, told to Efe the Innovation director of the Brazilian Association of Software Companies (ABES), Jamile Sabatini.

The ABES gathers more than 80% of companies in the information technology sector and is responsible for presenting the MSME innovative to SMEs.

According to ABES, the field of information technology in Brazil is one of the biggest in the world, with a 3% share of the global market and growth rates three times the international average, achieving 4.8% of annual increase.

Because the market potential, indicated by the ABES, the credit line will boost up the sector in the Brazilian economy. ´It was because these experiences that we started talking with BNDES, showing that allocating resources on the innovation, the companies grow. The return to the society is huge because it creates jobs, generates income and bring economic development,´ said Sabatini.

The ´Zero Interest´ program, held in the southern state of Santa Catarina, which borders with Argentina, awarded 20 million reals (US$ 8.4 million) in 37 companies in the region through the Financier of Studies and Projects (FINEP ).

In Santa Catarina, told Sabatini, some SMEs came to grow up to 5.000% with that incentive.

In one year, the regional government recovered the money given to those SMEs with the taxes, because the contribution of those firms increased significantly, thanks to their exports.

´In 2008 was the time of crisis and some employers told us that if there was not this resource, they would have bankrupted,´ said Sabatini, for whom with the current unfavorable numbers of the economy, ´it is important that companies seek this resource.´

Sabatini, however, admitted that the annual rate of 4% for the new line of credit is high and therefore he warned that SMEs must ´know how to take advantage´ of these resources."

(Source: America Economía)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:08:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“On 12 September 2014, the Trinidad and Tobago national phase of the Agrihack Talent Caribbean has ended and the "Team Agri-Info" has win this importat competition hosted by Community HUB.

The four Trinidadian students composing the Team Agri-Info, Kris Adams, Mikaeel Andrews, Nicholai Rajkumar and Jairaj Singh, will now fly to Suriname, where they will have the opportunity to compete among the finalists to win the Agrihack Talent Caribbean, that will take place in Paramaribo, Suriname, from 6 to 12 October 2014 in occasion of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture.

The Agrihack Talent Caribbean is a regional initiative focusing on ICT for Agriculture, organised by the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with different institutions including the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and ConnectiMass. The main objective of this initiative is to support the development of ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by young people.“

More information

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:04:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 19, 2014
“The fourth edition of Colombia 3.0 met digital entrepreneurs content. For three days national and international experts, academics and investors had an appointment to discuss the latest developments in the industry.

More than 14,000 people attended the conferences, workshops and panels for which were invited 120 experts from 19 countries (Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, United States, India, Venezuela, Canada, Germany, Brazil, Chile, Norway, United Kingdom, Peru, Ecuador, Belgium, Spain, Panama, Uruguay).

Participants included big industry players such as Javier Olivar, International Director of Facebook; Paul Debevec, Oscar winner for his work on Avatar; David James, production designer of the company DreamWorks; Dawn Rivera-Ernst, Director of Talent Development and Scope of Walt Disney Animation Studios; Ady Harley, head of music partnerships of Google Play; Isaac Bess, business strategist of YouTube; Jorden Woods, President and Co-Founder of Silicon Valley Fundraising and Camilo Gomez, manager of Online Partnerships Group for Colombia of Google and co-founder of Nubello Jorge Araújo Muller. 

According to the statistics the balance of this event is more than positive. Thanks to the support of Proexport, the first round of business in Colombia 3.0 ended with the business expectations of $ 1.3 million among the 15 international buyers and 27 exporters from Bogota, Armenia, Cali, Manizales, Medellin and Pereira, around the development of different contents such as games, animations and software.

The MINTIC Contents' director,  Juan Sebastián Sandino, said that the fourth edition of Colombia 3.0 ratified the magnitude of the digital revolution that Colombia is living now. Also, he mentioned that this event showed that the developers and creatives have matured in the articulation of new business models and monetization of their products. He said that the great progress made by the ICT Ministry to bring the Internet to all Colombians and the entry into operation of Vivelabs are consolidating their industry. He concluded that their country has a great opportunity to become a major player in the development of digital content. The information highways are routed. It's time to exploit them.“

(Source: MINTIC)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:05:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 01, 2014


UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative recently concluded the 3rd round of workshops in Nairobi, Kenya for 40 young people on mobile app development. The training is part of a seven round series of workshops hosted in partnership with the Developer School of Kenya.

A series of intensive training workshops on mobile application development for youth for sustainable development in Kenya has been ongoing during the summer in Nairobi, Kenya.

From 17 July 2014, 40 young people received mobile app development training. The workshops were within the framework of the new and innovative UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative in partnership with the Dev School and Kenya National Commission for UNESCO.

The UNESCO Eastern Africa Office provided extensive assistance to the training initiatives. The YouthMobile Initiative aims to empower youth with the high-level skills and confidence to create mobile apps that are locally-relevant and contribute to the reduction of chronic youth unemployment.

The global objective is to engage at least 25,000 young people and sell at least 5,000 mobile apps by 2017.

At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and achieve sustainable development, encouraging innovation and creativity in the  youth of the world will be vital in effectively addressing these challenges.

The Nairobi workshop was held in partnership with the Dev School, a start-up from Kenya with aspirations to introduce coding to youth across the nation. Founded in 2013 by a young Kenyan, Ms. Martha Njeri Chelimo, the Dev School has now successfully run two rounds of training in Nairobi. In these workshops, students are able to extensively study programming languages, mobile platforms, web application frameworks, front end development, writing and entrepreneurship.

The 40 young people who participated in this summer’s workshop learned mobile app development from the MIT App Inventor curriculum. Peer trainers guided students in building Android applications and focused on creating apps that would solve specific local problems.

Linus Onyango, Chairperson at the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO Youth Forum, said: “The Mobile Application Training has been the most exciting and innovative undertaking related to ICT in which the UNESCO Youth forum Kenya has participated. The mobile Application training has been on for six weeks now and the attendance has been amazing. The class is always full and the trainers have been great in giving the learners an introduction to mobile apps development. I would like to thank UNESCO’s Regional Office, the Dev School, the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO and the Kenyan youth for making Nairobi YouthMobile a success”.

Since the Dev School’s inception, the number of students participating in workshops has been steadily increasing. Graduating students have had great success in finding employment within the growing IT industry in Kenya.

There will be a hackathon in September, where students will be required to fully develop their final mobile applications for presentation. In the hackathon, the students will build Android applications in the following areas: education, unemployment, culture, water and sustainable development.

To find out more about the UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative, follow on Twitter @YouthMobile_ or visit the website: www.youthmobile.org
UNESCO is organizing similar YouthMobile workshops in South Sudan, Nigeria, Lebanon and Jordan.

(Source: UNESCO)

Monday, September 01, 2014 10:19:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU, the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) is looking for innovative ideas on how ICTs can help smart cities to slow down or mitigate the effects of climate change and thereby improve people’s health.



This might include novel technologies or combinations of existing technologies, services, and systems which would shape a smart city. It may focus on monitoring or reporting on climate change, mitigating or adapting the impact of climate change on society, or on changes in technology and society that lead to a greener community.

Are you an entrepreneur under the age of 30 and interested in winning up to USD5000 in funding, plus mentorship, networking, and high-level exposure before an influential global audience of decision-makers?

Are you interested in working on concepts and ideas for new social start-ups which directly address climate change and its negative impact on health through a process of co-creation?

Do you want to be part of the select group of 10 young innovators from all over the world present at ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha, Qatar?
Apply now at: https://ideas.itu.int

Deadline: Tuesday, October 7 2014
Find out more on ITU Telecom World 2014 at telecomworld.itu.int

(Source: GAATES)

Monday, September 01, 2014 8:57:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Rwandan tech incubator Think has received over 100 applications from nine countries for a six-month programme beginning in September in Kigali.

Backed by mobile operator Tigo, Think opened applications to startups and developers from Rwanda and the rest of Africa last month, and will pick the best five teams to join the programme.

Tigo said it will offer selected startups seed financing, structured training and coaching programmes, as well as access to product testing resources and potential customers and investors.

The incubator said it has received over 100 applications from a variety of tech startups and early stage companies from Rwanda as well as Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Uganda and Benin.

“We are excited to welcome the first batch of talented entrepreneurs at Think. We are calling on tech entrepreneurs across the continent with solid ideas for digital innovation for Africa. Tigo is looking forward to investing in their skills and ingenuity”, Tigo Rwanda general manager, Tongai Maramba, said.

“Think is part of a large and growing ecosystem to encourage technology development across Africa. In Rwanda, Think is already working closely with The Office RW and kLab to co-host networking and skills-building events”, Think said.

“In addition, both of these co-working spaces have supported the Think incubator in outreach to promising startups in their networks. In the larger ecosystem, Think is seeking to partner with leaders in the tech development, incubation, and business development in the world”.

VC4Africa, GSMA, MEST Ghana, Venture Wave San Francisco, Afrilabs, iHub Nairobi and Carnegie Mellon University have all been assisting  in the application process and have expressed interest in supporting Think tech entrepreneurs.

“Rwanda is becoming a hub for technology innovations, and Think is a great addition to our vibrant ecosystem. We cannot wait to see the next African startups bourgeoning from Rwanda”, Rwanda’s minister for youth and ICT, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, said.

Further details

Monday, September 01, 2014 8:46:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 21, 2014
SMEs can now enjoy broader coverage of technology solutions and a simplified application process through the incorporation of the $500 million IPG programme into "Increase SME Productivity with Infocomm Adoption & Transformation" (iSPRINT). The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced IPG earlier this year in the Singapore Budget 2014 Speech.

The enhanced iSPRINT scheme will boost SMEs' productivity and growth. There are three new elements in the enhanced iSPRINT: piloting of new sector solutions, scaling up of already proven sector solutions and leveraging access to high-speed connectivity to achieve more with technology.

The enhancement was announced today by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the opening of the 16th Annual SMEs Conference & 17th Infocomm Commerce Conference, organized by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Dr. Yaacob said that the enhancements aim to make the adoption of ICT solutions more accessible to SMEs. "Global and technological trends have made the businesses highly competitive and SMEs must make use of technology to compete and succeed. The opportunities and possibilities are there, it is up to you (SMEs) to take advantage of the resources the Government has provided".

Mr. Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA said, "Tech enables business transformation. To build the world's first Smart Nation, we need pioneers among our SME to innovate with tech and transform their businesses so that they can compete even more effectively in Singapore and reach new markets overseas".

IT vendors and SMEs who wish to pioneer new and scalable solutions that can automate and transform a particular sector may now receive support of up to 80% capped at $1 million. SMEs, on the other hand, that wish to deploy proven sector-specific solutions in their business, may also benefit from this scheme. SMEs can choose solutions from a growing pre-qualified list and may now receive support of up to 70%.

To encourage SMEs to deploy technology into their businesses, SMEs can also enjoy higher speed connectivity with the support from IDA if they adopt selected solutions. These include support for SMEs' fibre subscription plans of at least 100 Mbps and implementation of Wireless@SG services at their business premises.

At the same time, SMEs will also not need to make any claim submissions for the above enhanced iSPRINT support. The enhanced iSPRINT is expected to support up to 10,000 companies over three years. Whilst all sectors with SMEs will benefit from this scheme, 5 sectors that will benefit significantly for productivity and growth are retail, food & beverage, construction, logistics/transport and tourism & attractions.

Further details

Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:43:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has signed a collaborative agreement with Microsoft East Africa to enhance development activities in the area of entrepreneurship.

The two organizations have agreed that Microsoft will provide training and mentorship services to Ethiopia's UNDP - supported Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) for 200,000 entrepreneurs. These services form part of Microsoft's 4Afrika Initiative, which looks to accelerate Africa's economic development and improve its global competitiveness by empowering local entrepreneurs. Microsoft brings this vision, as well as its vast experience in providing ICT skills, education and curriculum for developing countries, to the deal.

As part of this agreement, senior Microsoft executive volunteers will be required to provide support, including mentoring entrepreneurs on strategy and marketing; supporting the best innovators and nominating them for the 4Afrika Innovation Grant Award; providing access to Microsoft BizSpark, a global program that provides free software to startup entrepreneurs and in future; and helping entrepreneurs exchange products and services and gain global recognition through the Microsoft Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) portal.

UNDP's partnership deal with Microsoft also includes a 'Build Your Own Business' training, which is designed to help micro and small businesses empower current and aspiring entrepreneurs.

This is UNDP Ethiopia's first private sector partnership. Commenting on the collaborative agreement, the Resident Representative, Eugene Owusu, says: "The goods and services offered by Microsoft provides a unique opportunity to unleash the potential of young and budding entrepreneurs. This will help them to play a vital role in the economic growth and transformational development of Ethiopia".

Eric Odipo, Country Manager of Microsoft East and Southern Africa, agrees: "It is critical to develop the capacity, knowledge and skills of local entrepreneurs who will stimulate local economies. We look forward to working with the UNDP in taking innovative business models to scale".

UNDP and Microsoft have successfully partnered in the past in numerous countries to promote sustainable development, eradication of poverty, advancement of women, good governance and the rule of law. In this new partnership targeted at Ethiopia, the collaboration will focus on addressing some of the principal challenges faced in building resilient nations by empowering citizens and preparing them to join a dynamic and innovative 21st century workforce.

"Entrepreneurs hold the key in driving innovation and long term competitiveness in the African economy. Microsoft's partnership with UNDP to support 200,000 entrepreneurs in Ethiopia is the first step in driving this growth", noted Amrote Abdella, Director of Startup Engagement & Partnerships, Africa Initiatives, Microsoft.

Further details

Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:30:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 13, 2014


As ICTs infiltrate all aspects of our lives, it is critical for females to actively engage as members of the Information Society.  ICTs can provide for greater gender equality in careers, which is one of the goals of the Venezuelan government. 

Many countries around the world face a shortage of trained ICT personnel and Venezuela is no exception.  In particular, the government recognizes the role girls and young women can play in filling this impending gap, promoting programs such as Infocentros Canaimitas, holding training in telecommunications and providing free software to its citizens. 

The number of Internet users in Venezuela is also rapidly increasing.  In the first quarter of 2014, data service providers estimated the number of Internet users in the country as 13 million, 50% of whom were female, demonstrating the need for discussion on women and ICT.

Recognizing the work of ITU, including its annual International Girls in ICT Day, Venezuela understands this need for further discussion on the use of ICTs for female empowerment.  As part of the “Conference on Internet Development and Social Transformation” in Caracas on Tuesday, August 12, organized by the Association of Internet Users Venezuela, Internauta, participants received training on gender mainstreaming and social issues surrounding women and ICT.  Nerissa Aguilera, a computer specialist and participant in a variety free software initiatives, delivered this training.  Aguilera is also a member of Accessible World, an organization that develops and disseminates accessible technologies for persons with disabilities.

Additional conference discussion topics included the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, free “Infogobierno” technologies, the need for a sovereign system of traffic exchange points, and other issues related to the use of ICTs for social development.

For further information see http://www.internetvenezuela.net.ve/

(Source: Conatel

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:46:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 11, 2014


The fourth version of Colombia 3.0, which brought together more than 130 experts in digital content from 14 countries, was held in Bogotá in order to promote the software industry, develop creative solutions and to reduce poverty in the South American country.

The event brought together business owners and entrepreneurs in digital animation, web and mobile development, video games, music, convergence, business and monetization of convergent media, explained the Minister of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) of Colombia, Diego Molano.

The minister said that Colombia strives to be a world power in the field of digital content, but that they are also looking to technology as a tool to "solve the problems of Colombians, including poverty". For this, the government has allocated, for the next four years, about $ 10,000 million for infrastructure, application development and training.

This event took place in the vicinity of the "Zona T", in the north of the Colombian capital, where there are restaurants, exclusive shops and entertainment places.
The organizers believe that this is time to promote the software industry, the digital content scenario and young Colombian talent.

"We have put in black and white for a week everything that is happening in Colombia with the ICT industry, but especially the industry linked to creativity", Molano said. The minister also said that the Colombian software and applications developers will be highlighted, because "they are making the revolution of information systems in the government".  Additionally, he said, the event offers business opportunities for Colombian entrepreneurs and investment opportunities for foreigners.

(Source: America Economía)

Monday, August 11, 2014 12:23:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 31, 2014
DEMO has released the names of the 40 start-ups that have qualified to launch their products on the DEMO Africa stage in September 2014.

Topping the list is Nigeria with 14 qualifying start-ups, followed by Kenya, Ghana and Egypt. Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa and Ethiopia will each have two representatives at the weekend event, while Tunisia, Benin, Cameroon, Uganda and Zimbabwe had earned their space at the DEMO Africa platform.

DEMO Africa is the flagship initiative of the Liberating Innovation in Opportunity Nations or LIONS@FRICA partnership, an innovative new partnership aimed at enhancing and deepening the start-up and innovation ecosystems of fast-growing African economies.

LIONS@FRICA brings together the US State Department, Microsoft, Nokia, InfoDEV, and the United States Agency for International Development, among others, to support and amplify Africa’s budding start-up and innovation ecosystem.

According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Communication Technology on Media in Nigeria, Mrs. Efem Nkanga, more than 400 applications were received for the DEMO Africa 2014, but only 242 met the threshold for the adjudication. Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana submitted  the highest number of entries. Out of 12 categories for application, Nkanga said communication attracted the highest number of applications, with 76 applications received, and the category would have the highest number of representation with 14 projects of the final 40 being in this category. She said that the finance and banking category would also have a good representation of eight out of 18 entries accepted. Other categories that will have high representation on the DEMO Africa stage, according to her, include retail, health and education.

Start-ups, however, shied away from water and sanitation, and waste management and recycling. No entries were recorded for these two categories, an indication that stakeholders still had to work on entrepreneurs’ confidence to encourage homemade solutions across all sectors.

Commending the African entrepreneurs, the Nigerian Minister for Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, said, “This presents another opportunity for African tech start-ups. Africa may have missed out on the industrial revolution, but we surely will not in the ICT revolution. Through innovation, we will put Nigeria and Africa in general on the ICT map.

“Realising the huge potential of the software industry, we have put in place a set of initiatives that will assist the tech start-ups to create successful businesses, which will directly create jobs and wealth”.

The DEMO Africa Executive Producer, Harry Hare, reportedly acknowledged the efforts by all the participating start-ups and called upon the investors to support the work of the young entrepreneurs.

He said, “We had really amazing entries this year, but unfortunately the DEMO Africa team can only accommodate 40 for now. ”Hare said the high number of entries was inspiring, adding, “It only shows that entrepreneurs have risen above the fear of venturing into new waters to create new products”.

He said, “This in itself shows that confidence levels in Africa-made solutions are steadily rising. I am confident that we will get to levels where we can generate solutions that can be applied globally”.

(Source: IT News Africa)

Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:42:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 16, 2014


The government of Botswana is making concerted, legislative efforts to catch up with other countries in Africa, like Rwanda and South Africa, who are speeding ahead in the faculty of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Speaking during the recent 12th Southern Africa Research and Innovation Management Association Conference (SARIMA), Professor Torto of Botswana said parliament has already approved a National Innovation Fund which will provide seed and early stage funding for technology based start-ups and ventures, as well as established companies with viable innovation concepts.  The objectives of the 12th SARIMA conference were to develop the discipline of research and innovation, including professional development and promotion of best practices, in order to foster and coordinate activities related to research and management at local, national, regional, and international levels.

Torto said in this day and age science, engineering, technology and Innovation (SETI) “hold answers to new complex challenges that governments are facing. He commended the host country Botswana for making significant strides in mapping the landscape of science, technology and innovation (STI) and emboldening national frameworks.

“Over the past 60 years, both developed and developing countries have recognized this fact by increasing the number of SETI government bodies, establishing new SETI legal frameworks as well as implementing a diverse set of new SETI policy instruments”, said Prof. Torto.

In this light, according to Torto, the country is poised for progress and reform, including upgrading the country’s science systems and building capacity for monitoring and evaluating performance. 

Torto said building a sound higher education system has now become a “national priority.”  To date, Botswana has invested in two new public institutions of higher learning. One of these focuses on science and engineering, while the other on agriculture and natural resources.

He said, although funding and financing research and innovation is an expensive enterprise, it is critical for both Botswana and other countries to build an inclusive and diverse knowledge society.
 
(Source: BizTech Africa)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 12:11:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 14, 2014
Innovative open source technology for emergency telecommunications

ITU’s Young Innovators Competition 2014 has launched the second of its 2014 series of challenges, soliciting innovations using open source technologies for disaster management and offering winners the chance to win up to USD 10,000 in seed funding, plus the opportunity to showcase their work at ITU Telecom World 2014 this December in Doha.

Challenge-2 asks 18-30 year old start-up founders from across ITU’s 193 Member States to submit their winning ideas via its dedicated crowdsourcing platform. It also seeks innovators with ideas for taking the iconic technologies of the “maker culture” – the community of do it yourself inventors, creators and designers – such as 3D printing or robotics and applying these to saving lives in disaster situations, together with low cost, low entry barrier technologies, to reach the world’s most vulnerable communities.

The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2014, 24:00 UTC+2.

“With their flexibility and adaptability, open source technologies have tremendous potential to be key disaster mitigation tools in situations where a timely response is vital, both to save lives as well as to help rebuild communities after a disaster has occurred,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “Innovations that are designed to save lives are critical in our quest to mitigate the devastating effect of natural disasters, and I urge young social entrepreneurs worldwide to use their skills in developing these technologies and apply their vision, ambition and creativity to meet this growing global challenge”.

About the Competition
First launched in 2010, this annual competition offers young people the chance to take part in workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and to showcase their projects at the InnovationSpace, a dedicated show floor pavilion at ITU Telecom World 2014.

This year's competition comprises of a series of challenges aimed at solving real-life developmental issues through the innovative use of technology with effective social impact. The competition began with Challenge-1 on Local Digital Content, and will continue with further challenges in the run up to ITU Telecom World 2014 in December. Two start-ups will be selected as winners of Challenge-2 by a Selection Committee of experts and invited to attend ITU Telecom World 2014, along with the winners of the other 2014 challenges. Joining them will also be the finalists of the 2013 edition of the competition, who will report on progress of their winning projects.

Visit ideas.itu.int for more information on Challenge-2, to find out more on the winners of Challenge-1, and to apply or comment on submissions. You can also visit the Young Innovators Facebook page or contact us directly at young.innovators@itu.int.

ITU Telecom World 2014 will take place 7-10 December in Doha, Qatar. For more information on how you can be a part of this key event, visit telecomworld.itu.int

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, July 14, 2014 6:54:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, June 14, 2014


The Habaka Madagascar Innovation Hub hosted on Friday May 16 the Antananarivo StartUp Cup, offering cash and free incubation to winning startups.

The event, part of the global StartUp Cup initiative and supported by Orange Madagascar, offers three winners the chance to share US$3,100 as well as free incubation at the hub.
 
The overall winner will also go on to represent Madagascar at the next World StartUp Cup.

Andriankoto Ratozamanana, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) at Habaka, said the seven finalists were picked by a local judge based on lean startup criteria.

“The ideas we received are impressive indeed”, Ratozamanana said. “The tech startup scene in Madagascar is in its early age, that’s why we opted for the StartUp Cup model”.

The event was streamed live online in French and viewers can vote for their chosen startup online.

HumanIPO reported last year Habaka, which was founded in 2011 and registered as a non-profit in April 2013, launched the HARIASA National Technology Innovation Contest, looking to stimulate the creation of a startup ecosystem within the country.

Ratozamanana said innovation had the potential to be economically beneficial to Madagascar.

“Innovation will boost the growth of Madagascar’s economy because it will create local industry”, he said. “Naturally it can solve many local issues and our people will be proud to buy good quality local products or works in good condition in a local company that is very innovative and competitive”.

(Further details)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:38:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 06, 2014
The Digital Enterprise programme provides free group training and face-to-face support for small-to-medium enterprises and not-for-profit organisations to help improve the way you do business and deliver services online.

The Australian Government is providing $16.8 million in grant funding to establish and support the Digital Enterprise programme in 69 communities across Australia.

The Digital Enterprise programme is helping small-to-medium enterprises to improve their productivity utilising new technologies, learn how to reach wider markets through an online presence, use videoconferencing more regularly and find ways to increase business efficiencies.

The programme is assisting not-for-profit organisations to build relationships with customers, clients and donors through social media and more efficient delivery of products and services using the internet.

A list of Digital Enterprise service providers is available to help you find your closest Digital Enterprise training programme.

Within the Digital Enterprise programme there is access to online training through the Virtual Advisor programme that is primarily assisting Indigenous Australians, small-to-medium Indigenous owned and operated enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations located in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia. Visit the Virtual Advisor programme page for more information.

(Source: Department of Communication – Australian Government)

Friday, June 06, 2014 9:38:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 16, 2014
The first-ever Accreditation@IDA targeting innovative tech product start-ups launched

IDA Labs, located at IDA's headquarters at Mapletree Business City and the National Design Centre (NDC) were officially opened on April 24. The labs will serve as a place to experiment, collaborate and build innovative products and solutions that address real world challenges. A third lab to be housed in one of the National Library Board's libraries is also being planned.

A new Accreditation@IDA programme was also launched at the opening event. It aims to help innovative technology start-ups build their credentials so that they can be positioned as qualified vendors capable of handling projects by government agencies and large enterprises.

Companies that apply for accreditation will need to undergo technical assessments to ascertain their product's core capabilities and claims. IT service providers HP and Cognizant will provide the software testing tools, along with accreditation best-practices and methodologies, at an accreditation lab set up within IDA Labs@HQ.

The accreditation programme will be open for application in July 2014. Companies' financial performance and operational capabilities will also be taken into account in the process. Successful companies would be awarded an accredited status for 18 months.

To enhance market opportunities for accredited technology start-ups, IDA will be engaging potential buyers in the public and private sectors to support these companies. For example, IDA will facilitate Proof-of-Concepts and product demonstrations to potential buyers and stakeholders. In addition, the Government procurement process is being reviewed to facilitate Government's procurement from accredited companies and enable Accreditation@IDA to be considered in place of financial grading for start-ups.

"At IDA, we are constantly looking at different ways to help grow Singapore-based tech companies that have the vision to build tech products that address big challenges. IDA Labs and the Accreditation@IDA programme are two examples of how we want to help in practical ways to support the building of some great tech-product companies", said Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA.

As the support of industry partners is instrumental in growing tech talent and building tech companies and products, IDA Labs is partnering Red Hat to provide IDA Labs users with advice from Red Hat experts and the open source community. IDA Labs and Red Hat will also organise an international challenge to discover innovative technology projects that not only meet functional requirements, but also user-friendly and design-centric.

IDA Labs is also working with Intel to provide its latest technologies, R&D resources and technical expertise to IDA Labs users. Intel will also help local ICT companies bring their products to overseas markets via its global platforms.

IDA Labs' partnership efforts also extend to the Singapore Management University (SMU) Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The SMU community can use IDA Labs to test their ideas and eventually translate them into actual products and solutions. IDA Labs and SMU will facilitate the commercialisation of innovations, either through co-development or by adopting solutions to be used in government projects.

With the support of the Ministry of Education, IDA Labs will also be holding the Learn@Labs Day from 27 to 29 May. Students from different schools will have the opportunity to learn about and tinker with various technologies such as Arduino, Robotics and 3D Printing.

More than 150 guests attended the official opening and had the opportunity to view showcases and experiment with technologies brought together by IDA and IDA Labs' partners. Some of the showcases include the accreditation testing tools, Internet of Things (IoT) platforms and innovative tech hardware developed by students.

(Source: IDA)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:35:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) builds and invests in Singapore and global infocomm technology start-ups. Managing more than S$200 million, we accelerate the development of start-ups in their formative phase, and invest further as they move towards growth and expansion. IIPL plays a central role in building a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem in Singapore for start-ups to flourish through our investments, partnerships across sectors and global reach.

We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore.

What we do

Accelerator

In order to further stimulate the growth of home-grown, innovation driven tech start-ups, Infocomm Investments is working with corporations, universities and professional accelerators to cultivate promising tech start-ups at the seed and early stages. We bring promising tech start-ups to the accelerator programmes that are tailored to suit start-ups at different stages of maturity and/or industry verticals. We aim to build 500 Singapore-based high growth tech start-ups through such acceleration programmes over the next 5 years.

Potential partners and entrepreneurs who are keen to explore our accelerator programmes are welcome to contact us at info@infocomminvestments.com

Investment
Infocomm Investments invest alongside leading VCs to take companies to their next stage of growth. We target Singapore companies that are building a strong international presence or overseas companies expanding to new markets in Asia (from a base in Singapore.) Our investments cover various segments including Consumer Web, Mobile applications and Infrastructure, SaaS and Cloud Infrastructure, Games and Enterprise IT.
Equity-financing aside, we seek to add value to our portfolio companies through our wide network. We’ve helped companies recruit talent, connect with potential customers or partners, and bring advisors on board through strong relationships we’ve built over the past decade.

JTC LaunchPad @One-North
We are a significant participant in this initiative. Building on the success of Block 71, JTC LaunchPad @One-North is an initiative to further develop the area as Singapore’s start-up cluster. The space will provide start-ups with affordable and quality spaces which will help to seed their growth, catalyst networking and collaboration opportunities as well as build an even stronger start-up community in Singapore.

Community & Outreach
Singapore has become a strategic hub for many tech entrepreneurs to locate their business operations. At Infocomm Investments, we are committed to be an active member of the tech community, contributing in various ways to help build a strong pipeline of tech start-ups that have the potential to scale globally.

Sponsorship Support
At Infocomm Investments, we advocate and support appropriate events and activities that can benefit the innovation-driven, tech start-up ecosystem in Singapore. We would like these activities to have positive impact, in a quantifiable sustained manner, in one or more ways:

  • Building and growing start-ups into disruptive, significant businesses
  • Establishing and leveraging on relationships with the investor, accelerator, customer (or user), and media communities to propel start-ups
  • Identifying and channelling tech talent to the tech start-up ecoystem
  • Benefitting start-ups, entrepreneurs, technologists, incubators, accelerators, start-up mentors, investors, tech companies, user organisations, relevant agencies, entrepreneurship educators and students
This is a constructive way for us to work with partners across private and public sectors, in Singapore and globally, helping us to play a central role in building a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem in Singapore for tech start-ups to flourish.

You can contact our Marketing and Outreach Team at info@infocominvestments.com

  (Source: Infocomm Investment)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:27:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |