©2019 by iSpace Foundation

  • Eugene Dumoga

The AI Incubation Experience at iSpace

The Incubation Stage of the National AI Training Program organized by Ghana Tech Labs is currently underway in all partner hubs across the country. After 6 weeks of intensive training, trainees at the various hubs were paired in groups to pitch their ideas at a Local Hackathon that was held nationwide. The trainees who were successful at the Local Hackathon moved on to the next stage of the training program - The Incubation Stage. The Incubation Stage lasts for 8 weeks, where the trainees would be given the necessary tools and training to see their ideas move from ideation to successful deployment & implementation.

Here at iSpace Foundation, our 2 incubatees; Sornu.AI & E-barb have already had 4 weeks of training to turn their ideas into thriving businesses. Sornu.AI is an Agri-Tech startup that is “On a mission to Increase crop yield one acre at a time”. Founded by Joshua Yeboah (CEO) & Edward Lampoh (CTO), Sornu.AI leverages on modern tools and technologies in AI and IoT to deduce the Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus concentrations in the soil and also recommend appropriate fertilizers and their application to meet specific needs per acre of land using Sornu; an IoT device. The AI model accomplishes this by analyzing the Soil Temperature, Electrical Conductivity (EC), pH and Soil moisture. The AI model also works with existing soil moisture and nutrient detection devices. E-barb is also a Fin-Tech start up that uses AI to provide effective and efficient security solutions to mitigate transaction fraud on online payment platforms. The E-barb AI model secures the payment gateway and analyzes the transaction flow by taking into account the user meta data amongst other factors to validate the authenticity of a transaction. The AI then prompts the online store owner in instances of a suspected fraudulent purchase before a payment checkout is made.

The first week of the Incubation period kicked off with an orientation of the business incubation, the incubation outline as well as the scope of work during the incubation. The incubatees were also introduced to Business Intelligence in AI with tuition from the CEO, Josiah Eyison. The CEO spoke extensively on the essence of synergy between business developers and software developers in building successful tech startups. Mr. Eyison also touched on Design Thinking, Customer Empathy as well as the Ghanaian and Global Tech Ecosystem of AI. The Technical training of the incubation began in the second week. Our budding entrepreneurs were taken through a brief overview of how each team’s project work should be put together. The participants were equipped further and trained to use the programming languages and frameworks they would need to create their AI models. These included Python, HTML, CSS, Bootstrap and Django. Flask was tutored in detail for their Web Applications. By the end of Week 3, our incubatees had successfully built simple login forms, registration forms, a database and fully functional websites and web applications. Joshua Yeboah (Sornu.AI) in describing his experience as a participant during the incubation program indicated that the experience for him has been one of great value. “It has been quite a journey. The team here at iSpace has been helpful in so many ways. The environment is also conducive for startups and there’s always something new to learn”. Frederick Larbi, CTO of E-barb also expressed his view on the incubation experience so far at the space. “I particularly like the atmosphere here. Everyone seems to really know what they’re about, whether it’s in business or tech.”

“It has been quite a journey. The team here at iSpace has been helpful in so many ways. The environment is also conducive for startups and there’s always something new to learn”

Joshua Yeboah (CEO, Sornu.AI)

During the third week, the participants continued discussions on business models and the design thinking process right from ideation to scale up. They also researched on customer persona, feedback and problem identification. This period was a period of introspection for the incubatees as they were assigned to go out for customer outsourcing and re-identify the problem of the customer that they intended to solve. By week four, the technical training had intensified with the introduction of React & React Native to create dashboards to be used for data analysis on web and mobile applications. The incubatees also delved deeper into using Django for their dashboards on their mobile applications. In this current fifth week of the incubation program, our budding entrepreneurs are ready to commence work on APIs as they draw closer to preparing their Machine Learning & Deep Learning models for deployment and implementation.