Your Name: Emmanuel Kpabitey
What do you do?: I am a Programmer, Creator, Designer and a Tech Activist.
What's the name of your companies?: Mocominds & MITT (Mocominds Innovation of Talent & Technology)
Where are your companies located?: Accra, Ghana
How did you get started in your field?: After high school, my results couldn't land me the course I wanted to pursue in the University and I couldn't afford any of the private universities in the country. So I started work as a graphic designer in Accra. I worked with the company for a few months and applied to another company as a web developer and as an IT support person which lasted for about a year. I was very unsatisfied with the salary I received even though I worked really hard, which was a factor of my level of education. I began work as a freelancer and later started the company Mocominds, and the MITT (Mocominds Innovation of Talent & Technology) in the year 2015 and 2016 consecutively.
Tell us a bit more about yourself: At age 11, I lost my father and later found interest in programming through the internet. With the help of my older brother, I began learning how to program websites with HTML and solving simple problems using the computer. I learnt how to program robots and electronic devices with Arduino Micro-Controllers on YouTube and some websites through Google.
Tell us more about your companies: I started the Mocominds Company in the year 2015, where I developed a few projects including Websites, School Billing System, Project CMS, Church CMS, Etc. From the hardship, I went through growing up realizing how children in foreign countries are introduced to technology at early stages of their lives and most importantly the stories of very successful tech entrepreneurs like Keven Doe, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg , etc. and how it could be the story of somebody in a deprived community especially at the Northern part of Ghana, I went to the northern part of Ghana and co-founded the MITT-Mocominds Innovation of Talent and Technology.
MITT is a “not-for-profit” organization focused on providing a solid foundation of mathematics, science and engineering to young students through the use of technology. We also create opportunities for students who are unable to perform in class but want to take the opportunity to develop or build upon their already existing talents by learning skills that will create jobs for them and others in the future. We teach robotics, electronics, application development, 3D Design and creative art.
The initiative has taken off in schools in the Upper East Region which our team visit twice every year to take them on a one-week or more free training program. Also schools in the Greater Accra region who are offered robotics training on a bi-weekly basis .
We have been contracted by other organizations and schools to teach their beneficiaries, schools and clubs Programming, Robotics and 3D Design. So far we have taught not less than 500 students robotics, programming and 3D Design in Greater Accra and the Upper East Region of Ghana.
How did your education and previous experiences help you to become what you are today?: Well I must say that even though I like school and always wanted to be in school, education in the schools I went to has contributed very little to what I do now. I cannot think of any skill I learnt from all the 15 years of being in school since childhood. But I could state to the fact that hardships and the passion of learning and helping others made me spend every little amount of money at the internet cafe watching tutorials on how to program, build robots, draw, animate or design so one day I could be doing what I do now!
Is there anything else you are working on at this time?: We are currently working with an organization at Labone to teach kids robotics, programming and 3D Design every week (Saturdays). My team and I are building micro-controllers to enable young people to build and program robots, machines or projects using waste materials in their homes or communities.
We are also working on MocoBot, an intelligent home automated system robot, and other prototypes of very advanced intelligent robots.
How do you define success?: I define success as knowing that what you are doing is helping you and others to live or lead a better, happier, healthier life...this is dont by creating something that empowers people or a community in equal measure.
Who are your heroes and why?: My heroes are my father, mother and siblings. These people helped raise me and were great role models. My mother was very organized and detail oriented, always keeping the house clean and welcoming; my father was a helper, hard-working, and dedicated employee who would pride himself in giving his all and completing any task he set out to do; and my siblings have supported me throughout my life even when we lost my father. I try to exemplify those same characteristics in all aspects of my life, and I would love the opportunity to do so in my position.
If you had to start your career/company/organization over again, what would you do differently?: I would socialize more, make a lot of friends and connect with more tech enthusiasts.
What are the top qualities you would require in someone who wants to work with/for you?: Humility, Creativity, Passion to help... and you must be hardworking.
What advice would you give to students, young professionals and aspiring changemakers/entrepreneurs?: To be successful, it often means you have to learn from those who have already achieved their goals. Having a mentor might be an amazing blessing to an entrepreneur, but not everyone can relate. I would advice young people to learn from their mistakes or others. Believe in yourself. Take risks. Have a vision. Do what you care about. Challenge yourself and Take action.