Getting a start-up off the ground is difficult, its especially difficult as money is always an issue.
However, sometimes something amazing comes along exactly because I decided not to take the easy route when creating a technology and innovation driven start-up. Our Namibian ride-hailing web-based application, LEFA, gave us the opportunity to attend the epitome of technology and innovation worldwide at Vivatechnology in Paris, France.
This was an opportunity not to be missed and by having many behind the scenes supporters and financial backing it was possible to travel to Paris and rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in web-based and innovation driven technology worldwide.
It gave me a real insight into the future of technology and how and why Africa and therefore Namibia cannot miss the boat. It became clear that we need to be an intrinsic part of this age of innovation. It was amazing to see His Excellency Paul Kagame of Rwanda attend Vivatech Paris.
A President who knows and realises the importance of innovation and technology and knows that all aspects of live and business will be technology driven or supported in some fashion. South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies was also present. Making connections and extending their networks and bridging the very real Digital Divide between Africa and the rest of the world.
Being at Vivatech seeing solutions being created, designed and launched filled me with a real sense of purpose. I saw great things like IBM’s Quantum Computer and was able to attend discussions on wide ranging subjects like; ethics surrounding Artificial intelligence (AI) and stimulating the inclusion of women in technology. As well as the mind-blowing concept of flying cars, a concept Airbus and Audi are working on together.
Realising that with LEFA, we could revolutionise transport in Namibia and make the roads and its users safer. The many wonderful, smart and ambitious people I was fortunate to meet seemed to concur. I have great hopes for the further development of technology and investment and innovation in Namibia as well as the rest of Africa.
As long as our governments make investment in this sector an absolute priority. We can create African solutions through our own apps, innovations and implement existing technology to solve present African challenges.
Vivatech Paris was an eyeopener and it made me realise that we have a long way to go, but it is not impossible to catch up. With the right people, right climate of stimulation and motivation and development, Africa can become a powerhouse and be the cradle of the next technology and innovation. My mind boggled from seeing all the innovation; services, goods, financial transactions offered through web-based technology and all just a mere click away on a smartphone or, web-enabled device. The future was definitely present at Vivatech Paris.
The opportunity to attend Vivatech Paris was facilitated by FABlab Namibia and of course by Vivatech’s very own Lionel Bounoua (responsible for Afric@Tech at Vivatechnology) who sponsored; transport, accommodation and meals. These organisations really convinced me that creating LEFA and implementing technology and innovation-driven applications to start a business and overcome local, regional and national challenges is the only way in which we can be globally competitive in the 21st Century as Africans.
By Melkisedek-Shivute Ausiku, Founder of LEFA