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Ghanaian Female Entrepreneur Rides High in Geospatial Technology

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Mrs Akua Aboabea Aboah-Baffoe

By Roger A. Agana

Ghanaian female entrepreneur and winner of the Technology and Innovation category at the 2018 “40 under 40” Awards held in Accra last October, Mrs Akua Aboabea Aboah-Baffoe, has become a household name in the deployment of Geospatial technology.

Mrs Aboah-Baffoe, Executive Director of Sambus Geospatial Limited (SGL), formerly a part of the parent company (Sambus Company Limited, which was formed in 1987), deploys Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to provide location intelligence solutions to governments and its agencies, telecommunication, NGOs, educational, mining, agrobusiness, financial institutions and oil and gas companies and similar agencies both locally and internationally.

GIS is a computer software system for capturing, storing, checking and displaying data related to positions (location) on the earth’s surface. It includes data on people, landscapes, vegetation, streams, house addresses, as well as other vital geographical information systems.

SGL is the sole distributor of ESRI software, ENVI software and Trimble hardware, with exclusive representation in Ghana, Nigeria, The Gambia, Gabon and Liberia.

The company with many years of experience in the region has given West Africa an edge in the implementation of accurate locational and digital data solutions to support and empower decision making.

The feat attained by the 31-year-old mother of two comes to demystify the myth surrounding female entry into science and technology in the West African region, which has largely been a male-dominated field.

She believes this will therefore encourage more girls to pursue science education to break new fronts in order to contribute their quota towards the socio-economic development of the country.

In an interview granted to ‘The Spectator’, one of the weekly newspapers belonging to the state, the Executive Director of SGL urged women to strife to veer into male-dominated fields.

“I want to see more women in this field. Not just women, but women who understand what they want to do. There should be willing to do what men are willing to do,” she said.

On current efforts by the Ghana government to encourage girls’ education in the sciences, she urged various institutions and the people to support the agenda of establishing a digital economy to help address some of the challenges facing the country.

Sambus Group, located at Osu, a suburb of Accra was originally established by the father of Mrs Aboah-Baffoe, Mr Samuel Kenneth Aboah, in 1987 with a variety of businesses but she took an interest to establish SGL Limited after the passing of her dad in 2013.

With her drive, SGL now has an office in Abuja, Nigeria, which was set up in 2016. Sambus has grown steadily and currently has a staff strength of 40 employees and continues to deploy advanced tools and software to gather and map out geographical data on the physical assets and infrastructure of their clients to help them make informed decisions.

The company, she emphasized recorded its highest performance in 2018 with an overall growth of 30 percent. She attributed part of their success story over the years to team work as well as the contribution of their business partners, in making SGL the market leader in the GIS field accounting for over 90 percent of GIS software sales in Ghana and about 75 percent of the market in West African.

The Executive Director is optimistic the company will apart from its reliable partners in Nigeria, Gabon, Liberia and The Gambia expand to other parts of the world to “touch the lives of people.”

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Galaxy Backbone Requires N200bn for Broadband Connectivity

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Galaxy Backbone

By Ahmed Rahma

The Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone (GBB), Mr Mohammad Abubakar, on Thursday, said that the organisation would need not less than N200 billion for broadband connectivity at National Broadband Plan (NBP) recommended speed to the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

He also said that about N35 billion would be needed to provide effective internet service at 2mbps to federal government’s agencies.

He, therefore, sought the assistance of the National Assembly to enact laws that would enable it to operate without bureaucracy.

Mr Abubakar, while speaking in Abuja when the parliament’s joint committee on Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and Cybersecurity were at the agency to carry out its oversight function, said if this law is put in place, Galaxy Backbone would be able to compete with other business outfits providing same services

“To provide connectivity services at a minimum broadband speed of 2Mbps to all MDAs nationwide as mandated funding in excess of N35 billion will be required.

“More than N200 billion will be required for broadband connectivity at National Broadband Plan (NBP) recommended speed,” he said.

He noted that, “Despite the state of the art infrastructure, Galaxy is finding it increasingly difficult to compete with private sector companies because of bureaucracy that is peculiar to public sector institutions.

“Despite a 40 per cent increase in Annual Service Contract, the provision fails to match the steep rise in demand for Galaxy’s services.

“Additional increase will be required to keep up with MDAs’ demands and needs,” he said.

Mr Abubakar, however, said that the internal infrastructure readiness issues within some MDAs would continue to affect the quality of services enjoyed by the MDAs.

He also said that the internal IT capacity issues within several MDA affected uptake and utilisation of Galaxy Services, adding that GBB had continued to mitigate the challenge through training.

Mr Abubakar also used the opportunity to ask the national assembly members to assist in making the agency more viable.

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2,181 Savvy Programme Participants Generate 1,278 Business Ideas

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Savvy Programme

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

An initiative put in place by a non-profit organisation called the Savvy Programme is already yielding meaningful results about six months after it was launched.

In its first impact report published recently, the founders of the scheme said the Savvy Fellowship programme has impacted many lives.

Business Post reports that the Savvy initiative was created to train at least 10,000 passionate individuals to build successful impact-driven businesses.

Giving an insight into the programme since its inception, it was disclosed that from August 4, 2020, to February 4, 2021, Savvy received 39,958 applications from individuals interested in the scheme.

However, a total of 3,298 were accepted into the initiative, representing an 8.25 per cent acceptance rate, with 1,121 being female and 2,177 being male.

According to the report, these 3,298 participants (often referred to as Savvy Fellows) were drawn from 122 countries. Already, a total of 2,181 of the Fellows have completed the Savvy program—generating 1,278 business ideas and kickstarting 587 businesses during and after the programme.

The organisers said in the nearest future, Savvy plans to get more mentors for the Savvy programme, train 7,000 more individuals through the scheme and provide Internet allowance for some of the Fellows who need it to participate in the initiative.

The Head of Fellowship Program at Savvy, Mr Chidi Nwaogu, disclosed that for 12 weeks, no matter what stage their venture is, the Savvy programme helps selected Fellows to answer all the relevant questions that they need to kickstart their amazing impact venture, gain early traction, achieve product-market fit, scale into new markets, create jobs, and improve the economy of their nations.

He also said, “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many have lost their jobs and are now living in an uncertain world. One and 131 entrepreneurs from 36 countries came together to start Savvy, a global fellowship program equipping these recently unemployed individuals with the necessary knowledge and skill that they need to start their own impact-driven business and succeed as entrepreneurs.”

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Google to Redesign How Online Advertising Works

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google fined

By Ahmed Rahma

The most widely used search engine, Google, has disclosed that it will not build or use alternate tools to track web browsing traffic once it begins phasing out existing technology from its Chrome browser next year, a move that will reshape how online advertising works.

The company made this known on Wednesday.

Google first announced it would get rid of third-party cookies, which for decades has enabled online ads, early last year to meet growing data privacy standards in Europe and the United States, Reuters reported.

Privacy activists for years have criticized tech companies including Google for using cookies to gather web browsing records across websites they don’t own, enabling them to develop profiles on users’ interests to serve personalized ads.

Now, Google is pledging it will not use other technology to replace the cookie or build features inside Chrome to allow itself access to that data, though it continues to test ways for businesses to target ads to large groups of anonymous users with common interests.

“Keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone requires all of us to do more to protect the privacy and that means an end to not only third-party cookies but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web,” the blog post read.

Rival advertising tech companies are building tools to identify users across the web anonymously, including Criteo SA and The Trade Desk.

Shares of both companies dropped in January 2020 immediately after Google first announced it would eliminate cookies, but have risen consistently over the past year.

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Network Operators Get Approval to Establish SIM Swap Centres

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SIM Swap Centres

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in Nigeria have been given the approval to establish dedicated SIM Swap centres across the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country.

A statement jointly issued on Wednesday by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigeria Identify Management Commission (NIMC) said the approval was authorisation was given by President Muhammadu Buhari through the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

In the statement signed by Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, the Director of Public Affairs at the NCC, and ​​​Mr Kayode Adegoke, the Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, said the federal government has also extended the tenure of National Identification Number (NIN) enrolment agent licenses for MNOs from one to five years.

This, they said, was in consideration of their satisfactory performance, though their activities would still be monitored to ensure they maintained the standard. It was explained that this action was to simplify the enrolment process for Nigerians and legal residents.

Last Friday, the Ministerial Task Force on the NIN-SIM registration held its 4th review meeting chaired by Mr Pantami. Several stakeholders were in attendance, including the regulators, the players and others.

At the close of the deliberations, a technical committee was mandated to complete the development of a new SIM issuance strategy that cannot be compromised. This will ensure that there is no repeat of the past process that was compromised through pre-registration by some agents.

In addition, a multi-sectoral ad-hoc team was tasked to immediately complete the review of the processes for new SIM activations for legal residents staying in Nigeria for less than 24 months.

According to the statement, the membership of the panel was drawn from NCC, NIMC, Nigeria Immigration Service and the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

The Minister charged the NCC, NIMC and MNOs to come up with a framework for the establishment of SIM Swap/Replacement centres in each of the 774 LGAs in the country, beginning with critical and feasible locations.

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Facebook, JAN Empower Young Digital Marketers

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Digital Marketers

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A partnership that will empower Nigerian youths with digital marketing skills has been entered into between Facebook and Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN).

The collaboration is in line with the organisation’s vision of raising a generation of digitally-inclined young business leaders.

Beneficiaries of the scheme will be incorporated into the digital marketing module of JAN’s flagship company programme.

This element teaches secondary school students how to start and run their own business, develop a product or service, form a company, choose a business name and elect company officers to oversee the operation of the company.

The initiative aims to help students move a business idea from concept stage to reality and help them succeed in a global economy.

According to JAN, this scheme was developed as a result of the growing need for digital literacy among young people. The aim is to expose students to digital tools in order to help them bring their business online and market their brands through the programme.

“We are thankful to Facebook for this amazing partnership that will help our company programme students boost their business profitability and equip them with digital marketing skills.

“Digital marketing is the skill of the future. It fulfils the objectives of traditional marketing concepts and delivers competitive advantages, measurable ROI and better visibility and engagement,” the Executive Director of JAN, Foluso Gbadamosi said.

“When I came on board, one of the strategic methods I devised to accelerate JAN’s impact is to leverage digital technology to expand our reach as well as enrich our curriculum with relevant digital modules.

“This partnership is the right step in the right direction as we are on the right track to reaching another one million youth in five years,” Gbadamosi added.

On his part, the Policy Programs Manager at Facebook, Mr Phil Oduor, stated that, “The economic empowerment of Nigeria remains a priority for us at Facebook.

“We are excited to partner with JAN as it is an opportunity to further provide Nigerian entrepreneurs, small business owners and citizens with the skills needed to build a profitable business in a digital society.

“This partnership adds to our ongoing efforts to promote, guide and boost efforts to grow Nigeria’s economy by empowering citizens with digital skills.”

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Applications for Apple Entrepreneur Camp Open

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Apple Entrepreneur Camp

By Adedapo Adesanya

The applications for the next Apple Entrepreneur Camp for Female Founders and Developers have opened.

The Apple Entrepreneur Camp was established with the goal of supporting entrepreneurs who are underrepresented in technology as they build the next generation of cutting-edge apps, and to form a global network that encourages the pipeline and longevity of founders and developers of all backgrounds.

The heart of Apple Entrepreneur Camp is an intensive technology lab working one-on-one with Apple experts and engineers to significantly accelerate your app.

The event will see participants hear from Apple executives and leaders on a variety of topics such as the latest advances in machine learning and augmented reality.

Applicants will have the opportunity to connect as a cohort to discuss challenges specific to their community, and form relationships with their fellow attendees.

At the conclusion of the lab, they will have the opportunity to present their progress, get feedback, and chat with some of Apple’s most senior leaders.

In addition, Apple Entrepreneur Camp consists of an immersive technology lab, as well as mentorship, education, and support.

Selected organisations receive the following free of charge: One-on-one code-level guidance from Apple engineers; Ongoing support from an Apple Developer representative for at least one year; One year of membership in the Apple Developer Program; and access to the Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni network, a world-class group of inspiring and ambitious leaders.

Eligibility:

Applications are accepted from developers worldwide. To be eligible to apply:

The organisation must have:

A female founder, co-founder, or CEO;

A female developer proficient in Swift or Objective-C; and

A developed app or functional build that you can demo live.

The participants must be 18 years of age or older and proficient in English.

The female founder, co-founder, or CEO, the female developer, and additional developer or designer of any gender (if applicable) must be 18 years of age or older, proficient in English, and able to attend together for the entire duration of the program.

Benefits:

One-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers; Ongoing support from an Apple Developer representative for at least one year;

One year of membership in the Apple Developer Program; and Access to the Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni network, a world-class group of inspiring and ambitious leaders.

Review Criteria:

Applications will be reviewed based on:

Content of written responses to the questions in the application form; Commitment to development for Apple platforms using the latest Apple technologies; and whether the app is unique or innovative.

Application:

The application consists of four parts, which include uploads and prompts for written responses.

Organisation details. 

Tell us about your organization and provide contact information for up to three employees who would attend if your organization is selected.

Your app. 

Provide details about your app and development team. You may include a download or demo link, as well as up to three screenshots or wireframes that best illustrate the user experience.

The future. 

Describe what you plan to gain from participating in Apple Entrepreneur Camp, as well as your plans for the future.

Additional information.

Select the dates for which you’d like to apply and provide any additional comments.

Each application will be kept on file for one year.

How to Apply:

Click here to get started.

Application Deadline:

Apply by March 26, 2021.

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