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Barcamp Nairobi 2010: Day 2

Today is only a half day at Barcamp Nairobi 2010. We’re getting underway, and there are 5 talks so far:

  • 9 colloquial Kenyan languages in Whive.com by John Karanja
  • Live mapping using OpenStreetMap and GPS units by @mikel
  • “Build a Drupal site in 20-minutes” by @batje
  • “Geek girls in Nairobi” by the Akirachix
  • Explaining the Kenya ICT Board $3m grant by @Kaburo
  • Google Geo API

The $4 Million Kenya ICT Board Grant

“US$ 4 Million of the proceeds for Grant Applications for the development of digital content and software applications.”

It was announced 10 days ago, and there are already 500+ applications. Final applications are due by July 19, 2010.

$10k for individuals and $50k for organizations. That is a Kenyan citizen and above 18 years old, for companies, you have to be registered in Kenya. You have to show your resume/CV for the leadership team.

The application can be done online.

Two main areas of the grant:

  1. Government services and applications (5 ministries)
  2. Any innovative ideas around digital content and software

The first 46 grants will be handed out to both private and public sector ideas and applications. More grants will be given out to companies (30) than private individuals (16), but there will be an equal split between the two groupings.

Grants announced on August 15th, 2010, at which point they will be working on contracts. The grant will be given out in 3-4 tranches, starting in October 2010. The funds have to be spent within 12 months. There will only be 46 grants given out this year (2010).

A single company can apply in multiple rounds for a grant, but will only be given one grant per round.

What protection will your idea be given? The team looking at and reviewing/judging the applications will be signing NDAs. There are 9 judges who will decide the winning proposals, and they do plan on sharing the names of those individuals.

Some people are worried that if they have a new idea, and they’re working for a company, that that company will own it and not them. Kaburo Kobia is suggesting that if they believe that is really the case, then the individuals should break away before then.

If you have any questions, make use of their website, send them an email at grants@ict.co.ke, call them at +254-020-2211960 or visit them on the 12th floor of Teleposta towers.

Google Maps API

IMG_0978

Mano is one of the top engineers from the Google Maps team and he was flown out to Kenya specifically for Barcamp Nairobi. He’s giving an overview of what can be done using their API, well beyond the normal pointal use that we see all the time.

I asked him what they’re doing about offline mapping, especially for those of us in Africa who don’t have the same access to connectivity. Mano says that they’re concerned about offline maps as well, which they don’t offer, but not for the reason I suggested. Instead, they see most of the people in the world accessing maps via mobiles, so they need to be able to let that happen when data capability is not within range.

Some Happenings from Week 1 in Kenya

Man, things are crazy. This last week has been very busy, and full of interesting stuff. Some of the more important, mixed with fun and mundane:


AfriGadget
makes the Time.com list of “Top 50 Websites of 2008“. Completely unexpected, and thrilling to see. Thanks to all the editors like Steve, Juliana and JKE too.

Met up with an incredibly talented mobile phone application creator, Steve Mutinda, (J2ME) with two very cool mobile phone apps. Full video interviews on him too, and have just posted the first article.

Barcamp + Buglabs = <3

Got together with some local Kenyan tech guys and we’re hacking away on a BugLabs BUGbundle, trying to get a cool app up and running on it by Barcamp Nairobi this weekend. Posting pictures on that soon.

Met up with a ton of local guys, with some really interesting projects and ideas that I’ll be blogging about soon. Including big thinker Al Kags of the ICT Board, talented designer Fadz of Ark, Matere Lutische with a really cool idea, and many more…

Redid the Ushahidi wireframes, and meeting with some local developers to help build version 2 with us. Got some neat stuff up our sleeves, and one big surprise for Saturday’s Barcamp.

Went and watched a lot of rugby (Pictures are up at Flickr), including Quins vs KCB, RVA vs Mang’u and the Safari Sevens veterans. I love rugby season, only wish I could play too.

Choo makes a break

Finally, the windup to tomorrow’s Barcamp Nairobi is at an end. Thanks to Google Kenya, Strategiclee, the Kenya ICT Board and Ushahidi for sponsoring it. We’re all set and ready to roll at the Jacaranda Hotel (Pizza Garden side). Should be a blast, and there will be a lot of pictures and posts to come.

Kenya’s ICT Board on eCommerce

I was quite excited at the opportunity, provided by Al Kags of Kenya’s ICT Board, to be a part of their meeting on eCommerce. This has always been a hot topic for me, as I strongly believe that the ability to transact business (through web or mobile) is one of the “killer apps” for Africa.

My take is that Africa needs a mobile payment system, akin to PayPal, that is both carrier and bank agnostic.

We’ll see if my definition of what it takes for eCommerce to work is the same as theirs.

NOTES from the meeting after the jump (long)

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