The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. Each grant recipient reports back with blog posts and photos. Here’s the second report from JooMah, one of the three 2014 winners. You can visit the JooMah website here and read Kwaku’s first seed grant report here.
It’s been a while since my last blog entry for the PCSE. As of the last time I wrote to you, we were still working on building the technology for the JooMah platform and preparing to roll it out. This time I write to you from Accra, the capital of Ghana where we are seeing some early drizzles of success and are excited to push harder to get even better results.
Ghana is one of a few middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and is currently riding high on a wave of tech entrepreneurship and broadening accessibility to the Internet. Everyday, more and more products and platforms are churned to meet the growing demand for tech tools for play and for work.
One interesting common ground a lot of young Ghanaian tech entrepreneurs hold is a passion to bring what they are doing to the larger African market as soon as is possible. Out here, the conversations about building technological solutions quickly go from discussing the specifics of the Ghanaian market to framing an ambitious pan-Africanist narrative surrounding the potential for change a product can bring. And then occasionally you come across that entrepreneur who has already pushed his products into markets other than Nigeria and South Africa, and you just have to stop and doff your hat in appreciation for their hard work and ambition.
Among the larger Ghanaian population, there is growing interest in software development as a tool to tackle some of the tough problems in our societies. For instance, the little data we have gathered on JooMah so far shows that jobs in software development ranks fourth on the list of industries jobseekers are most interested in, ahead of more traditional industries such as broadcast media, real estate development and consumer services.
As we push JooMah further into the Ghanaian market, I am excited for the challenges and the surprises we will encounter. More importantly, I am excited for the growth our teams here in Ghana and back at Wes and in New York have already started to experience and will continue to experience! As always a big shout out to the team – Max Dietz ’16, Oladoyin Oladapo ’14, Sam Giagtzoglou ’16, Olayinka Lawal ’15, Justin Raymond ’14, Assoh Akoi, Nehemiah Samwini and Prince Tetteh – for making it all possible.