Sustainable Technology-Based Entrepreneurship for the Senegalese Market

Pace University, 2007 - $47,198

Although Africa is now the fastest-growing mobile phone market in the world, the role of mobile phones in Africa is currently limited by the narrow scope of the applications relative to the needs of the African people. The aim of this project is to exploit the opportunity for mobile phone and Web design based startups in Africa by educating Senegalese students on how to develop innovative mobile phone applications and Web sites for this emerging market. Pace University will collaborate with Stony Brook University in the US, and Thies University and local associations in Senegal. During a boot camp, students in Senegal will be teamed with Senegalese women business owners and propose solutions adapted to their daily business needs. The mobile phone applications and Web sites will be developed using open source software.

Summer 2009 update: A model of teaching mobile application and Web design for social changes was developed. The ICTEsen model (Information and Communications Technology for Entrepreneurship in Senegal) creates a community of students, provides them with skills in technology, software engineering and entrepreneurship, has them apply those skills on real world projects to produce solutions to be deployed to trained clients, and transfer the acquired skills in the process of creating startups in information and communications technology. The model was implemented during a one-week boot camp that gathered 24 students of Thies University. Three mobile application prototypes and four Web sites were produced during the boot camp. Two students were proposed internships at Manobi (http://www.manobi.net) as part of collaboration between this project and Manobi. The mobile applications and Web sites were improved to be deployed. Nokia provided phones for the deployment of the mobile applications.