Google remains committed to Ghana -Akofio Sowah

BY: Jessica Acheampong / Graphic Business / Ghana

Managers of the most popular search engine, Google, say it will continue to identify and work with key communities in Ghana to help drive the use of Internet tools to boost local businesses.

The Country Manager for Google Ghana, Mrs Estelle Akofio Sowah, in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in Accra, said the aim was geared at “helping businesses better understand how to creatively use Internet tools to create innovative products that will take Ghana forward.”

Already, the company has embarked on a number of initiatives in Ghana. These include the organisation of the Google g-Day community event, aimed at supporting individuals and communities to better harness the internet to develop smarter products.

“Other initiatives include the online advertising training for the media and creative agencies in Ghana, with the aim of helping them understand how to better serve their clients,” Mrs Akofio Sowah said.

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There is also a one-week conference organised to provide training, product demos and one-on-one sessions with technology professionals who will share ideas that Ghanaian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and individuals can leverage to boost their businesses. 

g-Day in Ghana

Google Ghana, on February 18 and 19, this year, hosted several Ghanaian entrepreneurs and developers at the World Bank Knowledge Centre in Accra for the 2014 edition of its annual Google-supported g-Days community events for local businesses and developers. 

The event, which is aimed at providing a platform for Google to share knowledge with its user communities, is now in its second year and already inspiring  businesses to get the best from the Internet. 

Participants got the opportunity to hear from top professionals currently using online tools to boost innovation in their trades and also spent time networking and sharing ideas with other Ghanaian professionals. 

The theme for the event was “creating competitive businesses in Ghana with smart technology.”

Mrs Akofio Sowah explained that “the g-day event, like other Google outreach events, is one of the ways we reach out to connect, educate and inspire Ghanaian SMEs and developers.”

Driving use of internet

Highlighting how their efforts are paying off in Ghana, she said the Tourbly team from MEST recently emerged as one of the two winning teams in the just concluded 2013 Google Cloud Developer Competition (GCDC), winning US$20,000 for designing the top SSA Enterprise/Small Business Solutions, Education, Not for Profit category application.

One of the biggest highlights of the event was the announcement of the top 10 finalists in Google’s Africa Connected competition which included Ghanaian, Christopher Panford. 

Mr Panford runs a transport company that uses Google Maps in his vehicle tracking devices to record the location of a vehicle at any point in time. Because of this he was able to get loans from banks with which his auto service now provides jobs to local drivers in Ghana. 

Mrs Akofio Sowah, who could not hide her excitement about the achievement, said the Internet was already restructuring the old order of learning and growth, and creating the next generation of entrepreneurs in Ghana.