When The Barn Khayelitsha opened its doors to the innovators and entrepreneurs of Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha in March this year, the community was not entirely sure what benefits it would bring them.
“Many well-meaning organisations have come and gone in the community,” says Baratang Miya, Business Development Manager for The Barn Khayelitsha, “so the community has watched The Barn Khayelitsha with a reasonable amount of anticipation to see if we would do what we set out to do.”
Community learning to code
What the community has seen is streams of its school-going children coming to The Barn Khayelitsha learn to how to code on weekends and during school holidays – creating an excitement in the youth of that community about the prospect of a future in tech and IT. It has seen the community’s own creative crafters learn how to get national and international exposure online through e-commerce workshops hosted by The Barn. It has seen the start of business incubation programmes for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
More recently, it has seen Google come to Khayelitsha in the form of a Google Developer Group Chapter (GDG Khayelitsha) being set up by Baratang Miya at The Barn Khayelitsha. Says Google, “This year’s Google I/O event was focused on delivering incredible experiences on mobile, as well as helping developers build successful businesses through these key themes: Develop, Engage, and Earn.”
Collaborating with Google
GDG Khayelitsha held its first Google I/O extended event on 5th June and was well supported by software developers, web designers, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts from the surrounding areas.
“What we want the community to see, more than anything, is our commitment to developing innovation and businesses from within the community, especially in the tech sector,” said Chris Vermeulen, Head of Enterprise Development at the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), as he opened the event.
“The Google Developer Group at The Barn Khayelitsha is another way of fostering a love for collaborative thinking amongst like-minded innovators and entrepreneurs from this area. Bringing together the right people at the right time for the right reasons is a formula for solutions-oriented thinking.”
The delegates enjoyed two hours of downloaded footage from Google’s international I/O event hosted in the USA with five keynote speakers, including Google’s Senior Vice President, Sundar Pichai, who welcomed guests from across the world, and spoke about the growth of Google throughout the years. Google shared its latest developments and how these can facilitate developers and business through Android M, Android Pay, Brillo, Google photos, Google’s partnership with Jump, Now on Tap, Family Store and more.
Zolisa, a newly appointed developer, was personally inspired by the event to think bigger, “Google technology goes to extreme measures to make life easier for everyone; they even make smart phones smarter. It doesn’t get better than that!”
“We hope to meet regularly at this Google Developer Group Chapter,” says Baratang Miya, “so that we can help each other grow and develop in tech and business, together.”