To foster a sustainable and innovative technology-driven community in the country, the Cameroon International Tech Summit (CITS) chose to launch its activities in the North West Region, specifically in Bamenda. The event, which took place from January 28th to February 2nd, 2024, brought together over 2000 individuals from various backgrounds, including government officials, academic stakeholders, students, tech enthusiasts, startup founders, and agriculturalists. They convened for what was termed the Bamenda Innovation Week, under the theme: “Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability as Tools to Supercharge the National Economy.”

The primary objectives of the Bamenda Innovation Week were aimed at igniting the creation of innovative tech solutions to address major challenges in sustainability and food security in the region, providing skills to enhance tech entrepreneurs, creating a forum for sharing experiences and knowledge and spreading the message of CITS throughout the country.

The weeklong event was honored by the presence of the Commissioner at the Regional Assembly for Education, Sports, and Cultural Development, Professor Anjo Fri-Manyi Rose, as well as Divisional Officers, Regional Delegates, and other dignitaries, who came to witness the innovative prowess of the region’s youths and explore avenues to contribute to the growth of technology, agriculture, and entrepreneurship.

During the opening ceremony of the Bamenda Innovation Week, Mr. Ayuk Etta, CEO of Mountain Hub and project lead for CITS, commended the government representatives and the Bamenda community for setting a high standard for the rest of the country to follow. He acknowledged the courage of individuals who had pledged to promote tech knowledge and sustainability in the region before the event.

The events unfolding in Bamenda are unmatched, this is the first time a 48-hour hackathon or such a massive innovation week has come to the region. We’ve heard about Bamenda, and I believe we will set the benchmark and create an impact throughout the country until we conclude the project in Yaoundé,” Ayuk remarked.

The major activities of the event included a 48-hour hackathon, innovators meetup, pitch masterclass, pitch Friday, and a green poetry contest. The Bamenda Innovation Week commenced with a 48-hour hackathon involving over 80 students and young innovators. The theme was “Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security”, and 17 teams comprising dedicated developers and designers worked to find solutions to agro-related challenges in the region. The teams presented their projects before a panel of judges who evaluated their solutions. Cash prizes and sponsorship opportunities were awarded to the top three teams and an all-female team at the end of the event.

Another significant event was the Innovator Meetup, which brought together innovators and entrepreneurs from the region to discuss ways to build a technology-driven ecosystem. The session featured panel discussions with CEOs, government representatives, and students, followed by a fireside chat involving tech community leaders and professionals sharing their experiences and strategies for growth.

Ngumih Fien, a community leader in Bamenda and UI/UX design enthusiast, emphasized the need for experienced tech gurus to contribute to the region’s tech community. “The tech community in Bamenda is still young, and we often use personal funds to promote growth. We hope that senior technology enthusiasts will join us in revitalizing the tech community,” Ngumih remarked. Participants committed to enhancing the tech space in Bamenda.

The Innovation Week also featured masterclasses covering topics such as sustainable agriculture, hackathon structures, research mindset implementation, startup development considerations, branding, digital product development, marketing strategies, and investor pitching.

After a week of intensive training and education on innovation and collaboration, selected teams showcased their ideas and pitched them to professional investors and government authorities. In her keynote speech, Commissioner Professor Anjo Fri-Manyi Rose lauded the initiatives of CITS organizers and encouraged youths to seize opportunities to effect change in their communities. She emphasized the role of innovation in regional development schemes and thanked Mountain Hub for its initiative.

Innovation plays a great role in the growth of this region’s regional development schemes and it is very important that every youth can leverage the numerous opportunities that have been brought to them because we don’t have this often. I continue to thank Mountain Hub for this initiative,” Professor Rose added. 

After the impactful Innovation Week, deserving teams departed with substantial cash prizes, valuable knowledge from seasoned tech enthusiasts, and commitments to foster growth in the region. The road to the Cameroon International Tech Summit, launched in Bamenda, will continue its journey as the team aims to move to Dschang(25th February – 2nd March 2024) and ultimately to the Palais de Congrès in Yaoundé in September. 

Do you want to be Part of the Dschang Innovation Week? Register Here!!