CAMpreneur, Kathleen Ndongmo wins Tech-In Series!
Introducing the “CAMpreneur” series.The goal is to showcase Cameroonian entrepreneurs……
CAMpreneur Ms. Kathleen Ndongmo won the Tech-in Series-Tech-in Governance event held in March 2011 in Lagos Nigeria.
Here is an interview with Ms. Ndongmo…….
So, let’s meet you
I am an everyday fun, passionate African woman! I like to think that I am a pragmatic entrepreneur with a creative head for business and a heart for social change. I am also a prolific (copy) Writer/Editor and one of the finalist of the hit show The Apprentice Africa which was shot in Lagos in 2008. I am a citizen of Cameroon named one of the country’s top 50 Change-Agents of 2009. I am also a Egghead, who has helped pitch and win new businesses both in Africa and abroad, written industry articles and won awards. When I am not doing my “day job” (working as VP for Marketing & Sales at Virtual Terminal Network), I keep busy bringing to life ideas, start-up projects and various endeavours that will hopefully be the change I want to see in my community.
What inspired your idea, Residents Report?
Residents Report is going to be the web/mobile application that will revolutionarize the way we report and fix public services in Nigeria and perhaps in other parts of West Africa in the long term. The aim is to turn citizen complainers into neighborhood fixers; giving us all the tools we need to not only spot problems but get government to correct them in a prompt, cost-effective manner. You see, I got tired of being a complainer who will complain about a bad road for example, and then adopt the “sidon-look” attitude. I started asking myself ”What do I need to do to make this change? Who can I report this to? What platform can I use to aggregate such complains and then channel these to those responsible? How can I assist government while holding then accountable to the provision of these services?”, – these questions led me to pro-actively thinking up and building the Residents Report idea. In the future, I see an innovative application that will help us organize ourselves. Our neighbourhoods/governments will become more cohesive, more proactive, more engaged, more social, more responsible, and in the end, so will our cities
I built the prototype apps with a team of three great guys. Adebowale Owoseni who is an experienced Enterprise Software Application Developer, Ailende Truston, a very talented rising star in the Mobile Application Development arena and Abiodun Thorpe – one of the sharpest Web Application Developers I have met. The guys gave their all, and impressed me with what we delivered in the end.
The “RR” winning team!
How did you feel having to compete with male, in tech innovation since you were the ONLY female contestant?
The real challenge is this: coming up with a feasible project which is a solution in itself. Something that is a need and adds value and when implemented will bring about significant change really – not with the individuals I compete with. That has always been forefront in my mind when I am in a competitive environment. I generally feel the same: un-intimidated, revved-up to go, boiling with the adrenaline of professional passion, ready to give my everything to bring the idea to life.
Share your building experience i.e. working with strangers for 48hrs to make things happen….
It was fantastic. Such experiences are always unique to me as they continuously increase me professionally so this was a team not a group of strangers. We started by conceptualizing the idea, looking at the key players, the need, the value add etc……Then we looked at how to aggregate the platform, the complete process flow and how this will work out at the back end seamlessly. Finally, we answered some tough questions on stakeholder buy-in especially regarding the government, the residents and others. We also included a complete marketing and benefits strategy. With these laid out, we successfully came up with a working mobile and web prototype, all in 48hours. Even I was amazed!
As a Cameroonian, do you see the application being used in your country given the system of Government there?
Absolutely! This isn’t about a system of government. Getting buy-in from the government especially is key and very possible. Agreed there are and will be other challenges in implementing the application on the ground real-time, however, what we are doing is building a platform that is relevant to our own environment taking into consideration these hurdles for example many African countries do not have a GPRS enabled mapping system for every street, address etc and that is a real challenge. This is why Residents Report is “crowd-sourcing” in genre. We are excited at the turn the application is now taking.
So, after winning what’s next?
The real work begins! We have developed a feasible implementation plan, phased it, scaled it and have started working on it. First step: a total working, productive web application. We are almost through with that. Watch this space. It is an exciting time for Nigeria, and for me.
Do you see yourself working on this fulltime?
I am already! I thrive on challenges. This is another bull I am taking by the horns. Literally!