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Zimbabwe tech and cultural sector challenge - Ideation Day 1
February 21, 2013
Today was the first of
the two day Culture Shift Ideation, an event to get software developers,
designers, creative arts people and entrepreneurs to find solutions
to problems in the arts sector that can be solved by technology.
It was great having individuals and organisations from the arts
side get to learn of the possibilities tech platforms avail locally.
Being techies ourselves,
learning from the arts people how they work, the data they generate,
the stuff they wish they could do with technology was also quite
interesting. As tech people, developing cool solutions that no one
needs is a big problem.
The day started with
introductions from the organizers of the event, the British Council.
The covered how the concept came about and how it has been held
successfully in other countries on the continent; Nigeria, South
Africa, Kenya and Egypt.
After that a presentation
was made by the Head of Business at iWayAfrica, Nhenha Nyagura who
talked about the current state of Zimbabwe's ICT infrastructure.
Nyagura said that while it was commendable that Zimbabwe's
internet penetration rate had risen to about 35%, in a country where
literacy rate is above 90%, users of the internet should reach at
least the same percentage of the population.
Next, a representative
from the SMEs ministry talked about programs they have as government
to help businesses with working capital (he had to clarify they
don't provide startup capital) through organisations such
the Small Enterprise Development Corporation (SEDCO). Participants
where however quick to point out that the requirement for collateral
makes such funding unsuitable for startups.
The next part of the
day (frankly, the interesting stuff we were waiting for) had the
two categories of professionals (cultural folk and techies) go into
groups to explore the opportunities of collaborating with the other
group to solve existing problems in the arts sector. Each group
also got to ask questions and learn more how the other side works,
which was really interesting, and (clichéd yes but, honestly)
There was also an exciting
"speed dating" session where, to help people get to
know each other so that they hopefully explore ideas together later,
arts people and the tech people had timed slots (1 minute if I remember
well) to meet and introduce themselves to each other.
The day ended after lunch
and we will all be meeting tomorrow for the actual idea generation
and pitching. See you there!
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