Garage48 to Re-Invent Africa

Every generation has the chance to make a difference, but the challenges we face today are more complex than ever before, leaving many unprepared to catch up with the pace of sustainable development, agriculture, quality education, e-services… to name a few. Garage48 partnered up with Estonian ICT Cluster, NetGroup, Transform Africa Summit, Andela and Compound55 to Re-Invent Africa in order to spread the “Screw it, let's do IT” mindset.
It's been 5 years since Garage48 set it's foot on Africa. Hackathons have brought our team to Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and twice to Uganda. Throughout these years, we have carried the stories of hard-working teams, inspiring entrepreneurs and challenging topics in our hearts like it was yesterday. But it is true that it was about time to Re-Invent Africa - see what kind of magic and energy can be exchanged with people in Rwanda. 

Almost 70 re-inventers registered for Garage48 first ever hackathon in Kigali, Rwanda. There were 15 ideas pitched from tracking the pollution level over time, building a Spotify for African market to hybrid between Linkedin and gitHub and how to make phone covers from banana trunks. “That is what I love about those, so to say, general topic hackathons. You get the insight of how people from different cultures think, what they value and what are the main challenges that they tackle in their everyday life,” said the host, Joao Rei from Portugal.

Abhinav Gautam from team called Kigali AIR, brought out an example of his own. “I've been living in Kigali for 9 months and have seen traffic increase as well as pollution already over that short period of time. Me and my team, we wanted to use the hackathon to solve this problem by creating a hub of sensors and making that data accessible to others.

On the other hand, it was not only people living in Rwanda re-inventing Africa, participants came across the globe. Nata Kostenko, who joined us from Ukraine, was long waiting to take part of Garage48 hackathons like her friends had, but couldn't make her schedule work - until Rwanda. “I didn’t plan to pitch. I came up with the idea on the spot, because I couldn’t relate to any of the pitched ideas. And I was excited to see we can gather a balanced team to make it happen. At first, it looked like we can finish up early, but in fact, we had a working prototype only 30 minutes before the final pitch. I didn’t realize that I would need to be a leader and plan, and decide, and design, and close all other little various tasks people didn’t have time/skills to cover. Yet, it was cool to build the structure and then place elements to fill it in.

The jury of five had not an easy job to do - picking out the winner of so many different ideas, clickable prototypes and real makeathon products.
The Jury of Garage48 Re-Invent hackathon in Rwanda - Lembit Loo, Siim Sikkut, Joao Rei (host), Anja Schlösser, Emmanuel Monehin and David L. Ross

But we are proud to present the Crème de la Crème of Garage48 first ever hackathon in Rwanda:

Kigali AIR - Small remote sensors around Kigali to track pollution level over time.
Prize: Tickets to Transform Africa Summit and an opportunity to pitch for Africa Demo Day. “Our plan is to make multiple hubs and place it around the city and country. So for the entire city you just get one value for pollution and weather, while these values vary a lot different times of the day even if the city is not huge,” says Abhinav about the future plans.
Abhinav Gautam, Project Manager,; Prince Gashongore, Hardware Developer; JP Murenzi, Hardware Developer; Timothy Kaboya, Software Developer;  Christophe Habimana, Software Developer

1st runner up
DOCHAIN: a blockchain platform for verification of portfolio
Prize: Mentoring from E-Estonia and Garage48; NetGroup support and SWAG
Copain Fabrice Bienaime, Designer; Olivier Oesuka Muselemu Software Developer; Grace Lungu, Software Developer; Johnathan Rwabahizi, Software Developer; 
Kray Mmese, Marketing; Christian Jabiro, Software Developer

2nd runner up
Umuti - Paper products from banana trunks. “We produce papers and gift card out of banana trunks. We are also working on phone cases.”
Prize: Mentoring from Startup Grind
Ndoba Gentil, Visionary; Muganga Shema Kevin, Inspiring mind; Abakubaho Vincent, Marketer; Irankunda Shema Thierry Henry, Visionary

Tech excellence special prize
IntelligentForms - enabling you to make dynamic forms and surveys embeddable anywhere on the web. These forms can store the data submitted on both our platform and your external application. We also provide the integration of payment platforms and data analytics services for the forms.
Prize: Free web hosting for one year
Jacques Nyilinkindi, Team Lead and Developer; Gratien Tuyishimire, Developer and UI Designer; Clet Mwunguzi, Developer and UI Designer; Vicent Abimana de Paul, Developer and UX; Frank Harerimana, Visionary and Business

Favorite of the Audience
RememberPlease - web app that keeps info about relatives' birthdays and sends automatic personalized Whatsapp messages on the Special Day.
Nataliia Kostenko, designer; Courtney Hopkins, visionary; Yugo Nasu, marketer; Floribert Mwibutsa; Karl Musingo, developer; Joel Uwineza, developer

We had the most international team possible at this event - Rwanda, Congo, Ukraine, Japan, United States. Some people didn’t have a perfect English, plus there were cultural differences in addition to the fact all people are different. Very interesting and at times challenging mix. We ended up being a real team, with closing speeches and group hugs,” celebrated the favorite of the audience winner Nata Kostenko.

WEFORHEALTH - It is about making web-application that will help with Immediate and confidential drug and alcohol counseling with experienced psychotherapists using instant video and live chat.
Axel Rutayisire, Marketer; Yvonne Iradukunda, Visionary; Jean Remy Habumugisha, Visionary; Umutoniwase Henriette, designer; Ikuzwe Gisele, developer; Abayo Jean Luc, developer; Yvan Niyonshuti, developer

Congratulations and thanks to all! And let’s continue hacking!

What I liked a lot, is that there was no fighting competitive spirit. Everyone cooperated. Guys from my team went to help their friends from other projects. I answered the questions of the girls from the table nearby. Mentors did everything and even more so that everyone has all the resources. All in all, even though it was the first hackathon in Rwanda, it was a high-level event!” Nata concluded.

We can't thank enough all the mentors: Lembit Loo from NetGroup, Maido Parv from Microsoft, Lionel Mpfizi from AwesomityLab, Anja Schlösser from Code Africa and Emmanuel Monehin from Andela.

And all the partners and sponsors! We could not have done it without you!

A heartfelt thanks go to Estonian Development Cooperation, Estonian ICT Cluster and NetGroup without whom we wouldn't have been able to Re-Invent Africa in the first place.

Thank you Andela, Smart Africa Summit and Compound55 for the warm welcome in Rwanda.

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