Growing the grassroots startup community, bringing together people with various skills in the tech space like designers, developers, entrepreneurs, tech researchers to connect, share experiences, brainstorm and work together every once in a while is a way of fostering innovation through collaboration.
It is for this very purpose that I organize hackathons like Garage48 Kampala www.garage48.org/kampala and Startup Weekend Kampala. www.kampala.startupweekend.org
Startup Weekend Kampala is a 54 hour event which brings together designers, developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups. It is a pure hands on event where entrepreneurs can find out if their startup ideas are viable.
The event is not meant to churn out as many startups as possible but to enable participants experience the entrepreneurial spirit.
Here are some of the reasons you should go, put yourself out there and participate in a hackathon out there:
1. Learn a new skill
You are sure guaranteed to learn a new skill. Teams are small and hurrying to get as much as possible done in a very short time. This is an opportunity to take on new roles and deliver, share feedback and learn from other team members.
A hackathon is a great way to meet potential co-founders. It is true there are many networking events however, an event where you get to work with someone on a project under a tight deadline and get to see their potential, sure you a bound to meet a person or two who compliment your aspirations.
Hackathons are all about learning as you go. Less talk and more action. You build your own strategy and build it as you go. There is too much to do and very little time that you cannot just keep to the theory, you have to do.
4. Launch a business
Hackathons are a great platform to launch a business. Many of the participants plan to continue working on their projects after the events. Word spreads fast about a cool product you launched at a hackathon too.
To illustrate this further, for the first hackathon held in Kampala last year, sponsored by Google and MTN Uganda, known as Garage48 Kampala www.garage48.org/kampala, 11 ideas were worked on. Five of those morphed into fully fledged startups, with the winning idea being a mobile money crowd-funding app known as Somesha that enables one contribute to enabling disadvantaged children go to school. www.somesa.org.
More to that, one of the startups, MafutaGo (www.mafutago) made it to the Mobile premier awards in Barcelona were they won the Ringmaster’s award. MafutaGo enables motorists find the fuel stations near them with the cheapest gas prices.
This April 27th -29th, there is another hackathon, startup weekend Kampala http://kampala.startupweekend.org sponsored by MTN Uganda, UGO and SMSone
This is another opportunity for all those enthusiastic to come on board and participate. Make sure you register to get yourself a ticket at http://kampala.startupweekend.org/tickets and be part of the hackathon.
Hackathons are all about less talk, more action.