By Mahmud Qodah
HARGEISA (Somaliland sun) – Teams of student innovators got a leg up in their entry into Somaliland’s fledging technology industry thanks to a tech start-up entrepreneurship competition for university students sponsored by SPARK organization in partnership with Shaqodoon.Org, Innovate.so, and Amazing Technology Group (ATG).
The country’s first tech start-up entrepreneurship competition dubbed as ‘Muhandis Challenge’ aims to create and launch the most compelling business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by Somaliland youths.
In a colorful ceremony held on Monday in Hargeisa’s most iconic and state-of-the-art wedding and conference hall, Summertime Green Plaza to mark the end of this year’s tech start-up entrepreneurship competition brought together investors from the private and public sectors, higher education institutions, government officials, the media and the youth, as this competition Program was initially intended to participate for 8 Universities in Hargiesa. 2 of them have voluntarily withdrawn from the competition, whereas the final 4 universities including; Golis University – which became the winner of this innovation program, Alpha, the 2nd winner, Admas and International Horn Unversity (IHU) have exhibited an interesting Information Technology (IT) related entrepreneurships which were all competitive innovations created by young and talent students from these universities.
According to Khalid Hassan of SPARK organization, University students have already been given innovation trainings in their universities, before their participation of the technology innovative competition. Students mainly come from faculties of Information Technology, though there were other students who were from other universities’ faculties who were part of this competition.
Abdiqani Diriye who was the main organizer of this program spoke about the aim of this program in which he has noted to be a business planning related one and was aimed to create and launch the most compelling business ideas—start-up enterprises that address the increasing complications experienced by Somaliland’s youngsters.
“Our main aim to this competition is to provide a six month training program designed for students from universities to cooperate and that students working together to innovate, create and then participate a university start-up program competition. The winner will $ 2,500 in order to get equip for their office and to keep up realizing their successful innovation,” Said Abdiqani Diriye.
Abdiqani Deriye from Shaqadon.org noted has likewise added their Organization’s plan for youth in Somali regions and Somaliland in particular in order to sustain youth development related programs. He also noted that Shaqadon’s main interventions are including business planning, understanding the market, competitions, youth to access information, as well as planning to have a counseling center where the Org can provide social counseling information in order grants to be given to them after counseling.
Mr. Deriye added that his organization is planning a program in which they are willing to provide a business plan training for about 20 students in December of this year and then then to create in a way that we can link with them to the financial institutions in the country.
The Technically & Highly Advanced Innovations exhibited by Talent University Students.
Though all the innovation demonstrated by the young and talent student universities’ in Muhandis Challeng competition venue were all attractive and interesting, but eventually the business plan innovation presented by the students from GOLIS University (KOOBE) were voted to be the number winner innovation as Alpha university’s one became the second winner.
GOLIS University: KOOBE, an online system where you can sell products
KOOBE is software and an innovation created by the students from GOLIS University and is the one chosen to be the number 1 innovation. The young talents noted the product to be an online one where Companies in the country can sell their productS through KOOBE online system. They particularly mentioned that their target groups during the first 2 years are the people in Somaliland, Somalia, Somalis in Ethiopia, and Kenya and Djibouti. They stated that they are willing to target for about 1.5 million people in those regions who can access to the online systems, and that the income estimation of their business plan is about half a million dollar during their first two years. They added that they have a plan in which they want to expand their system throughout the Horn region and the World as well.
The young students speaking about the reasons they have innovated this business idea, they told that they had thought to create this idea after they saw the need for an online E-selling system as population are widely increasing a day after day and that they can’t all have access to the market.
ALPHA University: Somali Online Office Application Product v 2015:
This is the other innovation which was chosen to a number 2. It’s a product innovated by the students from ALPHA university College. As they have mentioned, it is an online Somali office application product which can be compatible and well-matched to Microsoft software Co and other application software Companies in the World such as WPS, Open Office etc. and in order to use this software you will only need to use extension file to your computer as such it would be compatible to other software in your Computer.
Telling their main reasons behind their innovation, they stated, that this Somali office application will help students and other Somali people to automatically solving and getting their Somali language spelling errors corrected. They told that they are ready to compete with the biggest office application product Companies in the World like including Office Microsoft Company owned by World’s richest man, Mr. Bill Gate.