Barcamp Takoradi 2010 Recap

Recap of Barcamp Takoradi 2010

After the successes of Barcamp Kumasi and Barcamp Accra, Barcamp Takoradi came off at the Takoradi Technical Institute on the 27th of November, 2010. This was the first ever Barcamp in the Western Region of Ghana and it was themed “Leading & Entreprising in an Oil & Technology Fuelled Economy”. It attracted a lot of students, businessmen, entrepreneurs and others based in Takoradi and some others from Accra. BarCamp Takoradi 2010 was sponsored by the Takoradi Technical Institute (TTI), Google Ghana, GhanaThink Foundation, Fie.nipa, Worldwide Web Foundation, NandiMobile, AudioCraft and CTSL - Certified Technology Services Limited. Our media partners were Melody FM, ModernGhana, GhanaBlogging and Skyy Digital.

Over 80 participants gathered at the Takoradi Technical Institute (TTI) to share ideas, learn from each other and discuss opportunities in the Sekondi-Takoradi, especially with the potential growth of the area with the attendant commercial oil production in the Western Region. TTI offered to host the Barcamp for free and this major gesture by TTI allowed for Barcamp Takoradi to be free for all participants, which was a new phenomenon in Takoradi.

The event unofficially started at 9:00am with an introduction to Barcamps and the idea behind Barcamp Takoradi by Mac-Jordan D. Degadjor (Event Curator). A number of invited speakers gave a series of talks and speeches. Sally Deffor of the Coastal Resources Center spoke about the available funding for projects that develop local communities and develop the environment in and around Takoradi. She also mentioned a four-year development project supported by the USAID in Takoradi. It was agreed upon that it was time for Ghana to move above a trading economy to a technology driven one. John Lemaire, the CEO of AudioCraft, a local Takoradi company, spoke after Sally Deffor. He shared his experiences about starting his own business. He stressed the importance of saving, saying “Learn how to save, open a bank account and start building up some working capital”.

A third year student of the Takoradi Technical Institute asked, “What are plans for Technical students in TTI with regards to the Oil Find & Job Creation?” This was a good segue into the next speaker, Daniel Peprah. He works with Baker Hughes Ghana Limited and he answered questions on certifications for Oil jobs in Ghana. He enlightened the attendees on the oil industry in Ghana. He mentioned how Ghana has a lot of down-stream drilling happening already, with respect to all the petrol/gas stations in the country. The types of drilling happening in Ghana includes conventional, horizontal, upstream, downstream &directional drilling. He implored the attendees to refrain from thinking about working in an oil company, and instead tap into industry.

Donald Diaba, one of the main organizers of Barcamp Ghana events, took the stage next. He also sang the entrepreneurship chorus, stating “Don't call yourself an agent, call yourself a realtor and you will make money”. He talked about ideas and challenges in setting up a financial institution in Ghana. “Study the environment, know the people you are dealing with, you don’t always need the money to start out”. Mrs. Nora Imbeah commented “As youths we have all the potential available to us to succeed easily then the generation before us had.

Cecil Nutakor, CEO of Equinox Intercom Limited and the award winner of the Global Students Entrepreneur Awards 2010 in Ghana. He was more concerned about issues of climate change in Africa & Ghana especially. He encouraged the attendees to look into the future, and start thinking about climate change and renewable/alternative energy. He mentioned that thermal energy is expensive but could be the cheapest source of energy for Ghana. It was discussed that the youth should start looking at the problems in the society and start businesses to solve them. A member of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Google Technology User Group (GTUG) asked “Why go job hunting when you can create one? Takoradi youths, create jobs”

Emmanuel Azasoo, the manager of the Takoradi Technical Institue Fabrication Lab (Fab Lab), welcomed attendees to TTI. He stated that TTI is the first in Africa and the sixth in the world to benefit from the Ultra Modern Digital Fabrication Laboratory, which has been supported by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Fab Lab is a free open learning center available to anyone willing to learn and make use of it.

The lunch break came next and that came with a lot of networking. After lunch, some general breakout sessions were held. A question was put to the attendees - “What would you with do with GHC1,000. Business ideas anyone?” One respondent mentioned “I will start a communications sales outlet so that as more people come in, they will buy my scratch cards and raise me some profit”. Another responded, “I will build a small fruit market so that I can raise a sale from the many foreigners who come to Takoradi and will definitely stick to their dessert-eating traditions”. A third speaker answered, “I will start work on market journals to publicise and inform residents here on the activities of all the oil companies so that nobody feels left out”. A fourth speaker drew laughter from the Barcampers when he said “I will travel to Nigeria; buy blank CDs and come and sell in Ghana”.

After the closing prayer, the Barcampers were ushered to the TTI Fab Lab where they checked out what they did there. They were pleasantly impressed with the work being done at the Fab Lab and many attendees called for similar fabrication labs to be built across the country. Attendees enjoyed the Barcamp experience, learnt a lot and were encouraging others to attend similar events in the future. Barcamp Takoradi featured a younger crowd than Barcamp Kumasi and Barcamp Accra, as it had a lot of TTI students who are in the secondary school level. They particularly benefited from the speeches and discussions and networking that happened at Barcamp Takoradi. More info from and about Barcamp Takoradi 2010 and future events will be available on the Barcamp Takoradi website http://takoradi.barcampghana.org.

Barcamp Accra 2010 Recap

Recap of the Maiden Event of Barcamp Accra

The 2nd of October, 2010 saw the maiden Barcamp Accra event at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) campus.. Barcamp Accra  under the theme ‘’Creating wealth and employment in a challenging environment” attracted a lot of entrepreneurs, businessmen, students, amongst others. The event was one of three regional events (in addition to Barcamp Kumasi on September 18 and Barcamp Takoradi, coming November 27) scheduled by the organizing committee in response to feedback from attendees who attended Barcamp Ghana at the same venue in December, 2009. The event was supported by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), WorldWideWeb Foundation, Google Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, GhanaThink Foundation, NandiMobile, Busy Internet, Fienipa. The media partners were CitiFm, Ghana Business News, Radio Universe, ModernGhana, GhanaBlogging and Skyy Digital.

Over 150 participants turned up people interested in the BarCamp Accra 2010 gathered at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) premises to exchange ideas and learn from each other. The event unofficially started at 8:30am with the Start-up Bazaar and registration of participants running concurrently. This Start-up Bazaar, a new feature for Barcamps in Ghana was created to give start-ups the platform to exhibit their products/service to the participants as well as network with other participating start-ups. The start-ups that took part in this session were Agbena, Kasahorow, NandiMobile, Leti Games, iROKKO Concept, Afrochic and Seycomp. The bazaar showcased youth, ingenuity, business and entrepreneurship.

At 10:15am, Barcamp Accra officially commenced with opening remarks given by the Barcamp Accra organizing team. The emcee was Estelle Akofi-Sowah, Google Ghana Country lead. Based on the theme, Barcamp Accra 2010 sought to encourage entrepreneurship and wealth-creation endeavors in the country. Entrepreneurs from different sectors were invited to share their success stories and challenges with the audience in a panel. The panel featured  included Esi Cleland (Co-founder of Afrochic), Esi Ansah (Founder, Axi Human Capital), Derrydean Dadzi (CEO, DreamOval), Emmanuel Dogbevi (Founder, GhanaBusinessNews). It was moderated by Richard Anim, a consultant. The panelists all discussed how entrepreneurship was more than work for them but borne out of passion. They also stressed the importance of personal investment in all ventures. They also discouraged the fixation with offices and encouraged sustainability practices.


A second panel was formed to comprise of organizations that indirectly or directly could educate entrepreneurs with respect to certain process entrepreneurs go through ie business registration, marketing and revenue generation, funding etc. This panel comprised of Eve Andersson and Estelle Akofio-Sowah (Google), Seyywoe (Registrar General’s Dept), Shika Acolatse (Enablis Ghana) and was moderated by Richard Anim. The panelists shared information about the work of their respective organizations. The importance of having an online presence was stressed and various Google apps and tools to help entrepreneurs achieve that were mentioned. One revelation was the mention of Inter Continental Bank as the best place to clear Google Adsense checks. The presence of the Registrar’s General representative made sure the panel included the government perspective as progress is a public-private partnership.

The Key-note speech was given by Mr. Yoofi Grant (Executive Director of Databank). He talked about how God doesn’t give ideas to just a few people but 50000. He also made a case about identifying and focusing skills and energy on what entrepreneurs can handle. He said to ‘dig deep into yourself’. He advised “Humility. Respect everyone. You can learn from the most unlikely people”. He mentioned the psycholinguistic problem in Ghana - the problem with translating between cognition and action. He had this advice for entrepreneurs: Never underestimate anything, just don’t. But dont over analyse”. One comment he made that resounded with a lot of Barcampers and other people following proceedings online was “People are making too big a deal about Ghana’s oil discovery. We already receive twice that $1 billion figure annually from remittances”.

The next item on the program was the agenda building session where attendees interested in organizing breakout sessions announced their topics of interest. One major feature of Barcamps around the world is breakout sessions. Many attendees use these sessions to pitch business ideas and promote their businesses. During lunch, the organizers prepared the breakout sessions schedule by location and time. Lunch was provided by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) kitchen staff.

In all, BarCamp Accra had 8 breakout sessions over 2 different time slots. Each session was an hour long. They included “Steps involved in registering your business by Seyywoe” of Register General's Office; “The art of networking: how to ace it” by Stephen Gyasi Kwaw; ““Power to You”- VODAFONE Expectations and Comments on what you expect” by Ruth from Vodafone; and “How relevant are partnerships in entrepreneurial development and how partnerships should be handled in entrepreneurships” by Richard Anim. The rest were “Discovering Google” by Eve Andersson of Google; “Open space” with Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Google Ghana Country Director; “Promoting Ghana using citizen journalism: how to use the available e-media infrastructure” by Mac-Jordan Disu; and “Is it possible to build a global brand from a local sme (small medium-scale enterprise)?” by Daisy Baffoe of MEST.

The event run smoothly and the attendees relished the Barcamp experience. They praised the good turn out and relevance of information shared. The idea was to bring ideas and thoughts on successful entrepreneurship and wealth creation from as many varied stakeholders, and not just the entrepreneurs. It’s important for the attendees to get out and make things happen as a result of what they learnt and the connections and friends that they made. A list of soundbites (including advice for entrepreneurs) from the Barcamp is available on the Barcamp Accra website http://accra.barcampghana.org. Barcamp Takoradi (late Novemeber) and Barcamp Ghana (December) are scheduled to close out 2010. You can find more info at www.barcampghana.org

Barcamp Kumasi 2010 Recap

Recap of the Maiden Event of Barcamp Kumasi

The 18th of September, 2010 saw the first ever regional Barcamp Ghana event: Barcamp Kumasi at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Barcamp Kumasi sought to bring together natives and residents of Kumasi to discuss, share ideas and network in the effort to stimulate development in the township. The theme was "Collaboration: The Key for Opportunity and Development". The event was supported by Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), National Society of Black Engineers (KNUST chapter), GhanaThink Foundation, Google, IPMC Ghana, Fienipa Group, Leadership & Mentorship Academy, Mozilla Firefox, etc. The media partners were Kapital 97.1 FM, Focus 94.5 FM and ModernGhana.com

At about 7.30am, the organizers and volunteers got together at the venue to set up and put things in order for the day. At 8.30am, some of our panelists were in at which time some of our participants were already seated. The event was tweeted - updates about the Barcamp were made public through Twitter - and this allowed people to participate in the Barcamp discussions virtually. The hashtag was #bcksi. Updates were also posted through Facebook.

Barcamp Kumasi kicked off at 9.30am with introductions by Nana Kwabena Owusu, who co-emceed with Nana Oppong Damoah. He also introduced the concept of Barcamps and talked about Barcamp Ghana and Kumasi, and shared a little about the theme. Dr Douglas Adjepong, the president and founder of Leadership and Mentoring Academy, followed with the keynote address. Dr. Agyepong remarked “Collaborate through socializing but do not let it be only talk but let's 'DO' as well”. He also added “Start small and begin to grow from where you are.”
A short interaction followed and then we proceeded to the panel discussion of the day. The topic was “Fostering Entrepreneurship through collaboration and technology”. The panel constituted of Mr Stephen Agyepong - lecturer at the Computer Science department in KNUST, Ms Daisy Baffoe - Communications Fellow at Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), Eugene Oduro Birikorang - Acting Regional Manager, Millicom Gh Ltd (Tigo), and Dr Douglas Adjepong who doubled as the panel head and moderator.

The panel was intense, engaging and insightful, with the panelists, all experienced entrepreneurs, sharing their ideas, views, and opinions. They shared with us their stories, challenges they faced, and great successes they achieved through perseverance and key networking and collaboration. Various issues were touched on: the state of entrepreneurship today, key and unique challenges such as cultural and financial factors, and how collaboration can play a role in fast tracking business ideas and opportunities. An interactive session then followed with participants sharing their views, comments and ideas.

Mr. Agyepong remarked “Entreprenuership is all about risk, managing risk, to harness opportunity.” Daisy also introduced the idea of an intrapreneur to the attendees, saying “You can work for someone and still be an entrepreneur”. The panel discussed the risks involved in doing that. She also added “Our culture does not tolerate failure, its just not an option, this stifles entrepreneurship greatly. ” Mr. Tinkorang also suggested that we “break out of the norm” and change from a Barcamp to a Breakcamp. The challenges of collaborating with others were also discussed. Key takeaways from the panel discussion was the need to find and listen to mentors, ask ‘Why?’, determination and focus as keys to succeed as entrepreneurs and how collaboration and co-production of wealth was key for Ghana’s development. The first break followed during which participants were refreshed with cold cocoa drinks, cup cakes and pies. The snacks were provided by the kitchen staff at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s Independence Hall. A popular Ghanaian adage goes by “Chop time, no friends” but at Barcamp Kumasi, it was “chop time, make friends”.

The first set of breakout sessions took place after the break. Four parallel sessions took place: Android Programming and Development by the KNUST GTUG (Google Technology User Group) led by Edward Pie, “Is it Possible to run an antivirus free system” - a discussion on computer security by Saddik Davis, a talk on Leadership by a representative from Leadership and Mentoring Academy, and introduction to the Mozilla communities and a talk on choosing Linux by Kwamena Appiah-Kubi. The breakout sessions lasted 30 minutes after which participants regrouped in the main hall and a participant from each group shared with everyone what they learnt from their session.

The next set of breakout sessions started immediately after but this time with everyone involved instead of breaking up into groups. Participants who had issues to discuss and share came upstage to initiate the discussion. A Peace Corp volunteer talked about a narrative documentary about “Women Issues and the effects it has on Ghana's development. The next question for discussion was “What is the most important asset for success?”. The topic “Time Management in an african context” led by Serwaa Nyarko followed. This session was rounded up with topic “Herbal medicine usage and adoption in Ghana: Success and failures”. Dr. Douglas Agyepong then gave the closing remarks.
The second break then followed and with participants encouraged to network and socialize. Just about this time, Mac-Jordan Degadjor, a prolific blogger and member of the Ghana Blogging community arrived and held an open air breakout session on the benefits of social media.

In all, it was a great event, the youthful participants were enriched with knowledge by our well versed panelists who are contributing in their own small way to the development of Kumasi. The Barcamp Kumasi team also believes the participants would put their newly acquired knowledge to use as they each also contribute their quota to the development of the township. They were about 80 attendees, most of which were students of KNUST. Publicity would be increased next year to attract more Kumasi residents to Barcamp Kumasi 2011. Stay tuned to www.kumasi.barcampghana.org for information about Barcamp Kumasi, as well as media. Barcamp Takoradi and Barcamp Ghana are scheduled to close out 2010. You can find info at www.barcampghana.org

BarCamp Takoradi 2010 Press Release


BarCamp Takoradi 2010, an ad-hoc gathering where attendees will meet for discussions, demos and networking, took place on November 27, 2010 at the Takoradi Technical Institute campus in Takoradi, Ghana. The theme was “Leading & Entreprising in an Oil & Technology Fuelled Economy”.

BarCamp Takoradi built on the success of Ghanaian BarCamp events to ignite Sekondi/Takoradi & Western Region's focused discussions and actions in order to bring about much-needed change. It is being organized by the BarCamp Takoradi team which is convened under the GhanaThink Foundation. It has the experience of successfully organizing four BarCamps in Ghana: Barcamp Ghana 08 and 09, Barcamp Kumasi 2010 and Barcamp Accra 2010.

Barcamp Takoradi’s goals include facilitating organic networking and help attendees identify business partners for future projects and ventures. It offered local businessmen and women the chance to promote and get feedback on their entreprises and ventures. It also helped build a local community and network of entrepreneurs, leaders and businessmen after the Barcamp. The Barcamp also identified business opportunities in the oil and gas industry and attendant opportunities for a growing local economy.

BarCamps all over the world have brought together individuals and organizations to collaborate on various projects and businesses. BarCamp Takoradi ’10 is a FREE event for anyone who is interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Ghana and Africa as a whole. This year,
the focus is on discussing how important collaboration between different industries, business, academia and public institutions is key for opportunity and development.


Takoradi Technical Institute is the only school in West Africa to have a fab lab (
fabrication laboratory). The Fab Lab program was started at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There will be an exhibition of work from the Takoradi Fab Lab. The speakers included John Lemaire of AudioCraft, Daniel Pepral of Baker Hughes, amongst others.

Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Takoradi
eventbrite website. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session or promoting a business or venture, let us know, especially if you have special needs. You may also contact the BarCamp Takoradi team through this website for sponsorship opportunities. BarCamp Takoradi 2010 is sponsored by the Takoradi Technical Institute (TTI), Google Ghana, , GhanaThink Foundation, Fie.nipa, Worldwide Web Foundation, NandiMobile, AudioCraft, CTSL - Certified Technology Services Limited. Our media partners are Melody FM, ModernGhana, GhanaBlogging, Sunlight Radio America, The New Ghanaian, and Skyy Digital. The customer support hotline is 0543-288099. You can send questions, comments, and feedback by SMS and get responses.

See you there!


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BarCamp Accra 2010 Press Release


BarCampAccra 2010, ad-hoc gathering where attendees meet for discussions, demos and networking, will take place on October 2nd, 2010 at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) campus at 20 Aluguntuguntu Street in East Legon, Accra. The theme is be “Creating wealth and employment in a challenging environment”. Following the successes of BarCamp Ghana '08 and BarCamp Ghana '09, regional BarCamp events will be organized in selected regions in Ghana to enable as many people as possible partake in BarCamps before the main national event in December.

On December 22, 2008, over a hundred young Ghanaians met in Accra for BarCamp Ghana '08 to exchange ideas on entrepreneurship, innovation and development for a rising Ghana. BarCamp Ghana '09 followed on December 21, 2009, in Accra, under the theme "Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers". BarCamp Accra 2010 will bring together stakeholders in Accra to for a day of dialogue, demos and discussions about how to navigate the challenges of doing business and building ventures in Accra.

BarCamps all over the world have brought together individuals and organizations to collaborate on various projects and businesses. BarCamp Accra ’10 is a FREE event for anyone who is interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Ghana and Africa as a whole. This year, the focus is on telling stories and discussing ways of how entrepreneurs and businessmen can create wealth in a burgeoning Accra metropolis faced with a myriad of challenges.

Panelists and speakers will include Eve Andersson of Google, Esi Ansah of Axis Human Capital & Ashesi, Derrydean Dadzie of DreamOval, Shika Acolatse of Enablis, Esi Cleland of AfroChic, Emmanuel Dogbevi of Ghana Busines News amongst others. There will be sessions organized by Google representatives and as well as other breakout sessions on various topics and interests as put forth by the attendees.

Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Accra Eventbrite website. You may also contact the BarCamp Accra team through this website for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

BarCamp Accra 2010 is sponsored by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), WorldWideWeb Foundation, Google, GhanaThink Foundation, etc. Our media partners are CitiFm, Ghana Business News and Radio Universe. The customer support hotline is 0543-288099. You can send questions, comments, and feedback by SMS and get responses.

See you there!

MEST Map
MEST Map


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Barcamp Accra 2010 at MEST on the 2nd Oct 2010 under the theme, CREATING WEALTH AND EMPLOYMENT IN A CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT

BarCamp Kumasi 2010 Press Release


BarCamp Kumasi 2010 will take place on September 18, 2010 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Engineering Department at the KNUST campus in Kumasi, Ghana. The theme is be “Collaboration: The key for opportunity and development”. Following the successes of BarCamp Ghana '09, regional BarCamp events will be organized in selected regions in Ghana to enable as many people as possible partake in BarCamps before the main national event in December.

On December 22, 2008, over a hundred young Ghanaians met in Accra for BarCamp Ghana '08 to exchange ideas on entrepreneurship, innovation and development for a rising Ghana. BarCamp Ghana '09 followed on December 21, 2009, in Accra, under the theme "Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers". BarCamp Kumasi 2010 will bring together stakeholders in Kumasi to for a day of dialogue, demos and discussions about how collaboration amongst different institutions can spearhead socio-economic development in Kumasi and beyond.

A BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering where attendees meet for discussions, demos and networking. Unlike a typical conference, at a BarCamp everyone is both a speaker and a participant. The content is provided by all attendees based on their interests, unified under the theme. BarCamp Kumasi ’10 is a FREE event for anyone who is interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Ghana and Africa as a whole.

Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Kumasi eventbrite website. You may also contact the BarCamp Kumasi team through this website for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

BarCamp Kumasi 2010 is sponsored by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), National Society of Black Engineers (KNUST chapter), GhanaThink Foundation, etc.

See you there!


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BarCamp Ghana 2009 - Recap

Over 300 people interested in Ghana congregated on December 21st at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) premises to exchange ideas and learn from each other. BarCamp Ghana 09 was themed "Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers" and the event was centered around youth creating and making change and setting up themselves to lead, be innovate and entrepreneurial now. The event run from 9am past 7pm and was free for all attendees. Breakfast, lunch, and drinks were all provided at no cost to attendees. A BarCamp Ghana 09 Tshirt made to show appreciation to our sponsors and provide a long-lasting souvenir from the event was sold to attendees at 5 Ghana Cedis. Sponsors included the GhanaThink Fountdation, the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), Google Ghana, Web4Africa, Ushahidi, Ashesi University, Fienipa, and Studio 8. CITI 97.3 FM and SKYY TV Digital were the media partners.

BarCamp Ghana 09 was the second edition after the successful organization of BarCamp Ghana 08 held at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Center of Excellence for ICT on December 22nd, 2008. BarCamp Diaspora, a similar event for Ghanaians in the US, occurred on July 25th, 2009 at the Johns Hopkins University –SAIS in Washington, DC. This year’s BarCamp Ghana was focused on youth, entrepreneurship and leadership. A BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering where attendees meet for discussions, demos and networking. It is popularly called an ‘unconference’, where every attendee is both a speaker and a participant. The content is provided by all attendees based on their interests, unified under the theme.

The event got underway at 9:30 am with opening remarks from a couple of BarCamp Ghana 09 organizers. A little history lesson about BarCamps was given as well as the story and goals of BarCamp Ghana. The keynote speech was delivered by Patrick Awuah, the founder and president of Ashesi University. Patrick spoke about cases where he was entrusted in a leadership position and how he is trying to educate ethical, innovative and socially responsible leaders through Ashesi University.

After registration and breakfast, the ‘unconference’ got underway. The first panel of the day was a roundtable discussion on leadership moderated by Dr. Sodzi Tettey. The panelists were Patrick Awuah, Estelle Sowah of Google Ghana, George Minta-Jacobs of EMPRETEC, and Anna Bannerman-Richter of the Longevity Project. They talked about youth volunteerism in Ghana, empowering young people to make differences in the communities, the importance of taking action, the exciting opportunities available, and the challenges the youth faced in being enterprising or innovative.

The next item on the program was the agenda building session where attendees interested in organizing breakout sessions announced their topics of interest. Lunch followed this session and was provided by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) kitchen. During lunch, the organizers prepared the breakout sessions schedule by location and time. In all, BarCamp Ghana 09 had 19 sessions over 3 different time slots. Each session was an hour long. Some of the sessions included The Facts and Secrets about Entrepreneurship, Leadership, African language technology tools, Philantropy, Clothing Africa, Starting companies, Technology in Education, Hardware and Software solutions for rural Ghana, Conflict and Dispute management, SAP software, Green and Alternative Energy, amongst others. There were also 4 sessions organized by Google employees about Google Apps, Google Maps, Google tools for websites, etc. The breakout sessions were successful, engaging and educational. A full list of the sessions will be published on the BarCamp Ghana 09 website.

The second panel was about what tangible things the youth of Ghana was doing now to create change and lead now. This panel was moderated by Esi Cleland and the panelists were Araba Amuasi, Sammy Laryea, Sophia Kokor and a representative of the Leaders for Tomorrow Foundation. They discussed the challenges of youth leadership, and those that the youth face in trying to make a difference in their communities.

In the spirit of inspiring the BarCamp Ghana 09 attendees to take action on the ideas that had been shared and the topics that had been discussed, a presentation about an NGO that was formed out of the recent BarCamp Diaspora rounded up the BarCamp. REACH-Ghana is a healthcare-focused NGO formed out of a healthcare breakout session at BarCamp Diaspora. They talked about their history, goals, mission, projects and called for membership and volunteers.

Notes from BarCamp Ghana 2009 will be published on the website and a white paper will be prepared to detail the ideas and information coming out of the BarCamp. The organizers hope to see attendees partner to work on various projects and business as well as start new businesses, and organizations. There will be future BarCamps in various places in Ghana to send the conversations nationwide and continue to bring the idea of congregating, sharing, learning and acting to Ghanaians everywhere.

For more information, go to www.barcampghana.org

On December 22, 2008, over a hundred young Ghanaians met in Accra for BarCamp Ghana '08 to exchange ideas on entrepreneurship, innovation and development for a rising Ghana. This summer, the conversations moved to Washington, DC on July 25, 2009 where BarCamp Diaspora '09 brought together the African Diaspora to exchange ideas on doing business in Africa.

This December 21st in Accra, the BarCamp Ghana team, made up of passionate young Ghanaians, presents BarCamp Ghana '09, under the theme "Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers". The event will take place on December 21, 2009 from 8am - 6pm at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) campus at 20 Aluguntuguntu Street in East Legon, Accra.

A BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering where attendees meet for discussions, demos and networking. Unlike a typical conference, at a BarCamp everyone is both a speaker and a participant. The content is provided by all attendees based on their interests, unified under the theme. This year, the focus is youth in leadership and how the youth can create and make change in various ways in various disciplines for the betterment of Ghana. The event would highlight different success stories involving change-making youth. Change makers and youth leaders are strongly encouraged to attend.

BarCamp Ghana ’09 is a FREE event for anyone who is interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Africa. BarCamp Diaspora gave birth to a Ghana-focused healthcare NGO, REACH-Ghana, which will be presenting its story since its inception in July. BarCamps all over the world have brought together individuals and organizations to collaborate on various projects and businesses.

Panelists and speakers will include Patrick Awuah of Ashesi University, Estelle Sowah of Google Ghana, George Minta of Empretec, Hajo Birthelmer of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), amongst others. There will be sessions organized by Google representatives and as well as other breakout sessions on various topics and interests as put forth by the attendees. If you are creating or making change in your own small way in your community, consider sending the team a note about your project or business to info at barcampghana dot org. Some of these stories will be mentioned at the BarCamp and all the information will be on the BarCamp Ghana website.

Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Ghana website. Help spread the word about BarCamp Ghana '09 by grabbing badges and support by donating to help cover costs. You may also contact the BarCamp Ghana team through its website for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

BarCamp Ghana 2009 is sponsored by the GhanaThink Foundation, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), Ushahidi, Web4Africa, Google Ghana, Ashesi University, Fienipa of Suuch Solutions, etc. Our media partner is CITI 97.3 FM.

See you there!

After the success of BarCamp Ghana '08, I dreamt of a similar event in the US. It took a while to bring the planning and organization together and last weekend, the dream came true in the form of BarCamp Diaspora '09. The event, themed 'Investing our talent where it counts', took place at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins' University in Washington, DC on July 25. BarCamp Diaspora was a free event that brought together people interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Africa. The event went on smoothly and judging from the feedback of the attendees, I can call it a success as well.

BarCamp Diaspora was a free event which had about 100 registered attendees and about 70 people showed up to the event. It was 'tweeted' through Twitter, you can search #bcdiaspora for related tweets. The event was also streamed live online through ustream which had viewers in Ghana, Burkina Faso, the UK and the US, amongst others. These were put in place to allow people outside the venue to participate in the event which worked. Questions and comments were submitted through these media which were communicated to the BarCampers present. One attendee volunteered to record video for the whole event and many attendees took digital photos. Since, we couldn't get the funds to support a longer event, BarCamp Diaspora took place between 12 and 6pm (as advertised) with a short snack break (plantain chips, donuts - bofrot, atsomo, water and soft drinks).

The keynote speaker for the BarCamp was Ashifi Gogo, CEO of Sproxil.com and co-founder of MPedigree.org and a 2009 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. He spoke about various ventures he had been a part of (including Odadee.org) and his present project which is fighting counterfeit drugs. Ashifi is a PhD Innovation Fellow at Dartmouth College and the service is taking off in Nigeria and Ghana. He also talked about the challenges and intricacies involved with doing business in Africa and mentioned mobile communication, microfinance and big agriculture as what's hot in Africa at the moment. Ashifi mentioned that there were many opportunities back home and advised those who wanted to return to Africa to pursue enterprises or businesses ('do something') to have 5 year work plans and save before returning. He also talked about having friends there and keeping in touch in classmates. He stated how his colleague from his alma mater Presec had now become the deputy minister of information. I loved Ashifi's presentation, it was educational, funny, and told his story really well.

In order to foster the BarCamp spirit, we had zero panels; only breakout sessions. A lot of sessions were suggested and we ended up with 9 sessions over 3 time-slots, hence 3 ongoing sessions at each time. They were Microfinance & Mobile technology (Derek Koranteng & Benjamin Lyon), Healthcare in Ghana (Maame Sampah), Innovative technologies for rural communities & Mobile apps (Molly Mattessich & Jackie Adhiambo), Creativity & the Arts (Seyram Avle), NGO's (Aida Manu), Gender, education and technology (Henry Barnor), Scientific research in Africa (Akua Akyaa Nkrumah), Using technology to connect communities (Raquel Wilson), & Blogging & Social media (Jemila Abdulai). Most of the sessions were round-table style and ensured participation from as many as attendees as possible. These sessions were tweeted as well and notes were taken, which will be provided for the public soon. The brainstorming and discussions in these sessions were great and gave birth to many ideas and promoted projects/businesses that were working on those ideas. Attendees learnt about blogging, and many organizations and projects which are fostering African development.

The organizing team took care of the opening and closing remarks, as well as the agenda building session which helped decide the breakout sessions. The opening session talked about the idea behind BarCamp Diaspora - bringing together intellectual and enterprising minds to dialogue and discuss African development in whatever sector or discipline they were interested in. The agenda building session allowed attendees to share what issues were most important to them and which discussions would dominate the business of the day. The closing remarks summed up the day's agenda, the ideas generated and the need to consolidate the thoughts, ideas and solutions for future use. The plan is to draft some policy papers around some of the discussions to be presented to various organizations who can push for their implementation. One attendee, Kofi Ntim, had a lot of helpful information about receiving funding for start-ups and enterprises and he gave a short presentation at the end of the BarCamp.

Most of the attendees were Ghanaians, especially those who lived in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area. This was a result of the network that the organizing team had available. Unlike BarCamp Ghana, the ratio of women to men was much better and ladies represented in full force. There was a good mix of students (both in undergrad and grad programs) and professionals. It obviously showcased a youth movement, since more than 75% of the attendees were under 30. Barack Obama called on young Africans to take charge and some of them were at BarCamp Diaspora. I don't remember anyone mentioning Barack Obama at the event even though we were right in his backyard (DC) and he had just been to Ghana. Like one attendee said, the attendees were busy talking about what they could do for Ghana/Africa and not thinking of what Obama or the West needed to do.

Many thanks to the organizing team for the putting this together. The GhanaThink Foundation was the main sponsor and provided funds for event material and food and drinks. This allowed us to make the event free. JHU-SAIS' African Studies program sponsored by enabling us to use the Kenney Auditorium, four classrooms and other spaces for free. Judging by the amounts we were quoted while looking for a venue at the start of planning the BarCamp, JHU-SAIS did us a huge favour. In the future, we'll like to enlist more forward-thinking organizations like GhanaThink as organizers & sponsors so as to keep the BarCamp event free, increase the network from which the attendees come and provide more for the attendees. There is still a lot of room for improvement, with note-taking, better live-streaming, documenting and promoting ideas, etc.

When you are having trouble getting people into different sessions to stay with the schedule, it may not a bad thing. It may be because attendees are busy networking and discussing future plans, which takes a little longer than short breaks. We hope to see many ventures and initiatives started out of this event. One lady who needed help with a business plan sat Kofi Ntim down to get as much information as she could, that makes for fulfilling and valuable time spent. If your attendees are fulfilled, then your work is fulfilling. Thanks to all our organizers, sponsors, our volunteers, our attendees and our broadcasters. Tell a friend to tell a friend to tell a friend. It's time to move. Less talk, more action. Let's begin to invest our talents where they count.

Culled from MIghTy African's blog

BarCamp Ghana 08 recaps

BarCamp Ghana 08 - Fueling Ghana's Business and Tech Renaissance - came off on December 22nd, 2008 and it was a success.

Sponsored by the GhanaThink Foundation and organized by a dedicated group of Ghanaians living both home and abroad, it happened at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre of Excellence with the support of Dorothy Gordon and AITI.

Below are a few links to blog entries from attendees about impressions, thoughts, comments and suggestions about this BarCamp and future ones. We also kept non-attendees informed about proceedings through twitter and we uploaded a lot of pictures on flickr. We are preparing notes, video and presentations from the BarCamp which will be available later. You can also join the mailing list at barcamp-ghana-08@googlegroups.com for more updates.

Twitter - http://twitter.com/barcampghana

BarCamp Ghana photos - http://flickr.com/people/barcampghana/

Blog posts
http://mightyafrican.blogspot.com/2008/12/barcamp-ghana-08-its-only-beginning.html

http://accrabooksandthings.wordpress.com/2008/12/24/barcamp-ghana-a-few-reactions/

http://geniusghana.blogspot.com/2008/12/barcamp-ghana08-unconference.html

http://techghana.blogspot.com/2009/01/barcampghana-08-my-thoughts.html

http://wsenyo.blogspot.com/2008/12/spread-barcamp-fever-barcampghana08.html

http://gamelmag.blogspot.com/2008/12/lessons-from-barcampghana-08.html

http://accraconsciousforever.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-i-learned-at-barcampghana-08.html

http://grant.dobbe.us/2008/12/in-which-our-intrepid-hero-writes-his-last-missive-of-the-year-and-recounts-his-experience-with-barcamp-bacon-and-bandits/

http://www.chriskwekubennett.com/2008/12/23/report-from-barcamp-ghana-2008/

http://projectdiaspora.org/1199

Stay tuned for more information on more barcamps in Ghana.