This two-day intensive and practical seminar was designed to build a first dialogue between high potential IT engineers and entrepreneurs from the agriculture and arts sectors but also to give developers and participants to the StartupWeekend tools and training on the last web and mobile technologies.
These two sectors are more than crucial for the Senegalese economy, but one of the major issues here as in most African countries for the development of innovative solutions in these fields, is that these sectors usually do not talk to each other. Therefore, IT professionals do not know how they can help and, on the other side, agro and arts folks meet many difficulties to express their needs in technical terms. Most of them even have no idea of what IT can do for their businesses.
This is why the organizers of the first StartupWeekend Dakar decided to focus the event on the development of innovative IT solution for these sectors and wanted to hold a preparatory Bootcamp ahead of the weekend to make sure that the dialogue was created and the participants prepared.
With more than 120 people in total, the bootcamp hold at the leading IT University ESMT was a success. After a short presentation of the vision and concept of the StartupWeekend, participants had an overview of the multiple possibilities of IT for the arts and agriculture and summary of the most recurrent needs in these sectors. They were then coached to execute a 1 minute elevator pitch in front of the crowd and were introduced to the amazing potential of two open-source softwares: FrontlineSMS and Ushahidi. These two very easy to use products basically enable you to gather the detailed information that you want from the people on the field using text messages and then spot it on a map in real time. No need to tell you more to see the numerous possibilities of these tools in Senegal, notably for agriculture. The participants also received training on mobile app development in HTML5 provided by two experts from People Input, one of the leading web and mobile agency in West Africa. The workshop was more than relevant in a region where only a very few people are familiar with this new technology. Developers finally had an overview of the mobile framework iUI by an expert from ESMT and the Mobile Senegal community.
This bootcamp was of course very promising for the upcoming StartupWeekend but most importantly, it is also confirming that the Senegalese tech scene is clearly booming and on a good path. To be continued…
A StartupWeekend is an 54 hours event where developers, entrepreneurs and passionate people from various fields gather to develop innovative IT projects and startups. The 1st in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa will be held at the tech hub CTIC Dakar from March 30th to April 1stand is notably supported by Orange, Microsoft and the German Cooperation. More information at www.dakar.startupweekend.org or www.facebook.com/swdakar