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Mobile technology to spearhead innovation

This week saw the launch of the Mobile Innovation Roadshow which kicked off with a stakeholders workshop in Windhoek. The aim and purpose of the event was to hold discussions with various stakeholders within the information, communication and technology (ICT) industry regarding innovative ways which can lead to the development of the market.
Through a five-day programme of moderated discussion and training, participation in the Roadshow is aimed at advancing local initiatives that enable start-up of innovative enterprises. The deliberations started on Tuesday and will be concluded next week Monday.
With the Namibia Business Innovation Centre playing host, the joint venture between the Southern Africa Innovation Centre (SAIS) and InfoDev (a World Bank programme) is expected to engage the minds of local entrepreneurs, academics, government officials and financiers.
Speaking at the launch, the SAIS technical advisor Mr. Juha Miettien explained “When it comes to innovation the challenges are virtually the same in southern Africa as globally. Human capacity, funding and market integration are similar challenges regardless of the territory. What we need to realize is that there is a difference between an idea, invention and innovation. There is a whole process from when an idea is conceptualized to when it becomes market available as an innovation.” He spoke of key instruments that need to be developed in southern Africa to ensure that the region does not lag behind as the world continues to steer ahead.
Also speaking at the launch was the representative from infoDev, Ms Sophia Muradyan who spoke of a mobile revolution. She mentioned that integration between academia, private companies, public companies and the government is imperative for holistic growth within the ICT industry. She highlighted that mobile technology is focussed on the development of applications for mobile use.  “Namibia needs to offer m-government services, m-health services and m-education services to keep abreast with international developments.” Muradyan then gave an overview of some of the international programmes that have proved to be a success and how southern Africa has the potential to achieve the same.
As part of the events programme, a business incubation training session was held where the key players were guided on various innovation approaches and incubation models. The aim was to build a nexus between the models and how they can be applied in real life situations. A bootcamp was also held to help spark innovative thinking amongst entrepreneurs. The highlight of the Roadshow is the Hackathon which will be held on the final day of the 5-day programme on Monday 18 March 2013. This friendly competition hopes to train technical experts on the marketing and delivery of new developed applications for mobile. The Hackathon will provide an opportunity to demonstrate local technical talent and to create mobile apps prototypes that ideally will turn into viable products in the future.

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