Tech Entrepreneurs Forum  (TEF 2019)

Tech Entrepreneurs Forum (TEF 2019)

The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) successfully organized its maiden Tech Entrepreneurs Forum (TEF2019) at the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, on February 28, 2019 with the theme “Creating and capturing value for Tech Entrepreneurs in Ghana”. The Tech Entrepreneurs Forum is an IIPGH initiative to provide a platform for corporate organizations, SMEs and Startup organizations to exhibit their products and/or services in emerging technologies; identify potential technologies in delivering core services efficiently and effectively, and network with other players in the industry for possible collaborations.

The forum aims at bringing experts in some key emerging technologies to help shape the conversations on opportunities in the digital space for technology entrepreneurs. Other participants to identify employment needs of these entrepreneurs and connect with them.

The Executive Director of IIPGH, Mr. David Gowu, who gave a background of the institute and its relevance in the ICT ecosystem, opened the session and program for the day.

The event, well attended with members of the institute and the public, from varied organizations, businesses and individuals, had strategic speakers with industry experience from diverse fields of expertise.

Giving the keynote address, Mr. Ben Segbawu, Director of IT, Sedco Publishing, spoke on the landscape of tech entrepreneurship in Ghana, focusing on Digital Entrepreneurship. He discussed Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) as a service devised for financial inclusion, which remains a vital solution to many. He spoke on the cost implications on Internet services and the need to push extensively USSD solutions. “The truth of the matter is that no matter how much we want to push the envelope the majority of our population is still not there; we are not early adopters to technology; cost of development; advertising; delivery options and delivery costs”. He added that, not everyone has a steady internet connection at all times. USSDs can communicate with the service provider when there is no Internet connection and even when a user does not have phone balance left in his/her account. People usually use USSD codes to check and often recharge their phone balance. USSDs are a groundbreaking invention as they have several applications that can be of benefit to people who cannot afford a smartphone or Internet connection.

The participants had a share of live internet cybersecurity analysis by Seun Raymond Micheal, AI Cyber Defense & Security Expert from Darktrace and WASP Ltd, a managed document services organization. He focused on augmenting Cybersecurity tools with Artificial Intelligence to simulate and differentiate between network abnormality and a normal network – particularly essential in monitoring and detecting security flaws immediately and preventing malwares and attackers from infiltrating systems.

Data Science, one of the major interests of the Institute, leading to its Data Science Community build up, had its turn, presented by the founder and CEO of MinoHealth and Gudra, Darlington Akogo. He took the participants through the need for data and its use for data science, juxtaposing with the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI); he pointed that Africa should be prepared for an AI Future in order to catapult our development and solve many of Africa’s grand challenges, especially connected to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Hannah Kumah, CTFL, from TestHub, Passionate about testing and a Mentor of young girls gave an insightful presentation on Software Engineering and Quality Testing. She stated that outsourcing testing services to a software testing company as TestHub provides objectivity and allows focus on core business mandate. “Software Testing saves your brand, saves you money and ultimately makes your customers/clients happy. It reduces risk of problems and increases productivity”. She gave a profound quote “Quality is free, but only to those who are willing to pay heavily for it”.

Talking about Value Added Services, Mr. Eyome Ackah, CEO, Across Network Technologies, simplified aggregated telecom services – Providing financial inclusion with Value Added Services (VAS) by leveraging on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) in delivering services. He narrowed on opportunities for delivering VAS which included Hosted PABX, Hosted IVR services and the use of Mobile Advertising – Narrowcasting (NOT Bulk SMS) in targeting and personalizing services.

Joel Nicco-Annan, CEO of Skypath Group then followed with his presentation on Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). He focused on the need for IaaS. To mention a few, he stated that it is perfect for scalability; less or no CAPEX; easy to manage; high productivity; less deployment time; and no hardware infrastructure expenses. He went on to state that new startups without much capital to invest in hardware or entrepreneurs starting on a shoestring budget needed to consider IaaS.

This was followed by another insightful presentation by Mr. Ransford Mensah, Digital Consultant. He took over to present the IIPGH build concept. The IIPGH build is an aggregated investment module for I.T professionals. Many people have ideas for ages that they cannot develop; many also have developed ideas into solutions but cannot sell; still many have ideas but do not know the entire software development lifecycle; again, some do not have or know what it takes to involve others in their ideas to make it a product – thus, IIPGH Build. Mr. Mensah posited how IIPGH as the aggregator wants to build technology from ideas to reality; wants to support its members connect to the right skillset in ideas maturation; and to support the next big idea become a global solution.

Before closing the event filled with interactive and insightful presentations, Sumundi Ltd and Infinity Systems had the opportunity to pitch their services. Faster Than Technology, Closer to Society – Sumundi provides a lightweight, easy to use and affordable Point of Sale System with Live Sales, Inventory Management, Sales Reports, Local / Cloud Based, and Product Expiry Tracking solutions. Infinity Systems, an IBM ‘Technology’ Business Partner, believes in infinite possibilities and unlimited potential, aiming at building deep technical skills in relevant and emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Blockchain, Big Data Analytics, Natural Language Understanding, Hybrid Cloud and Internet of Things (IoT).

The event ended with a breakout session where participants had some time with the speakers for questions and answers.             

The Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana (IIPGH) is a non-profit professional association, made up of professionals in various domains of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) practice.  The Institute is a connector of ICT professionals from Government MDAs, educational institutions, corporate organizations, start-ups, investors and the civil society organizations to create a vibrant ICT ecosystem. The organization aims at using its platform to equip professionals and students with skills in emerging technologies needed for entrepreneurship and employment in today’s fast moving technological world. In addition, use the expertise at its disposal to advice other stakeholders on best practices and public policies that would enable the use of ICT in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).