Last Friday (April 17), mHub held it’s second Technology Fest in Blantyre. We had a great turn out with lots of brilliant and enthusiastic young techies, the director for African Initiatives at Global Entrepreneurship Network, Nick Vilelle and representatives from local banks and tech organisations.
+mHub is a new innovation hub based in Lilongwe. It is an incubator for technology start-up with a special focus on building young technology entrepreneurs through training, skills development and mentorship.
The presentations that I saw were awesome (missed a good number of the others because I was giving interviews outside). I loved Pike Msonda’s Blue Guardian game presentation. A student at DMI John Paul II University in Mangochi, Pike and a friend developed the Android game. The graphics are provided by a company in Indonesia.
Denzel Machowa presented his Stadium Database. The system is still under development and attempts to manage stadium entry, ticket sales and crowd control management. Feedback from the audience was that the system could be used beyond stadiums and football matches.
Osborne Potani, a recent graduate from Mzuzu University, demonstrated a Credit Loader Android app. Developed together with Vinjeru Vinkhumbo, the app saves you the trouble of typing out long top-up recharge codes. Take a picture of your scratch card code and it loads your credit for you! Again the audience felt the technology behind the app could also be used in other applications.
Innocent Bvalani presented his messaging app Bho (Chichewa slang for Hi). The platform, which runs from www.malawibridge.com, runs on any internet enabled mobile phone and is very similar to Whatsapp. You can choose to use Bho in English or #Chichewa. #Tumbuka and #Yao language options are in development.
Rester Goliati presented an Android inventory app called QuickPOS (an iOS app is in development) while Jacob Mziya presented a web based classifieds platform called Ads Malawi. Samson Fiado showcased an accounting package he built called Easybooks and Enerst Kapeleta showed us his virtual classroom called www.ClassYanga.com.
One problem I noticed with most of the presentations is that the developers are not thinking of monetising their solutions. They mentioned being committed to providing almost day round support for free!
All presentations except one were software products. Kaponda Mulambiya of MasterWare presenting a hardware and a mobile banking solution. His company builds custom CPU’s that run graphics rich apps on very little memory.
One thing was clear at the end of the morning. #Malawi has very talented young people who have brilliant ideas. We need to harness these talents, mentor these young men and women with business skills and help them launch start-ups. We have created mHub for that very purpose!
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