Eurêka Géo is a vocational professional training institute whose activities revolve around the federation of actors in the space ecosystem, Research and Development in the use of earth observation data, and the promotion of the creation of startups through space entrepreneurship.
In line with Space in Africa’s 2020 in Review series, we had a chat with Monique Mely, the Founder and CEO of Eurêka Géo on what the Geomatics company has been up to in 2020 and what to look forward to in 2021.
Can you give a little insight into what Eurêka Géo is about?
Eurêka Géo is a vocational training centre that offers professional training in the of geomatics, space sciences and technologies as well as space entrepreneurship to promote the employment and employability of young people through the creation of value-added services.
These training courses focus on matching the needs of end-users with the skills to be developed in the use of geospatial tools, technologies and data.
The main mission of Eurêka Géo is to develop a space programme with training as its main activity, around which other activities are articulated, the results of which allow in the short, medium and long term to develop the space industry with its main segments: Earth Observation, Navigation and Positioning, Communication Satellite, Astronomy and Space Science.
We have chosen Cameroon as a pilot country to implement this programme because Cameroon presents Africa in miniature through a multitude of geographical, cultural, demographic, etc. parameters. In the long run, the activities that we develop through this programme are all transposable, profitable and easy to export everywhere else provided they are contextualised.
Did you have any specific projects for this year?
We have carried out contracts on the training of geomatics professionals, the support of certain companies in the implementation of their geomatisation processes and the reinforcement of the capacities of their employees. We also organised two international events: the #Africaneedspace conference, in partnership with the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, was held virtually in May 2020 at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, to present the interest of African countries to capitalise on the opportunities of space to diversify their economies. This conference brought together about 400 people with the participation of several experts in the field. In November 2020, we also co-organised with CNES, ESA, Aerospace Valley and local partners, the ActinSpace international hackathon. The objective is to participate in the development of an incubation reference system and to set up the incubation of start-ups in the space sector. In terms of R&D, we are working on the problems of monitoring the space and habitat of large mammals in parks and protected areas, as well as on precision agriculture using earth observation data, AI, Big Data, etc.
How has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected Eurêka Géo this year
Following the prescriptions announced by the government of Cameroon dictating barrier measures to fight the covid_19 pandemic, we closed the training centre and stopped all face-to-face activities. Our lessons followed on our E-learning platform. From a technical point of view, our training activities were not affected, but we suffered the consequences of the cessation of activities of our partners and other clients. With this pandemic, the whole of humanity is going through an unprecedented period, so our actions must be unprecedented. We must change our paradigm and embrace resilience.
All my thoughts go out to those who have lost a loved one and a prayer for all those who have left this life in this exceptional year.
Does this mean that you switched from physical work to remote work?
In terms of going to the office, we could not because of the pandemic, but we have shifted most of our operations to our several online platforms and have adjusted ourselves as such.
Do you have any plans for next year?
Yes, we have plans for next year following our roadmap. The year 2021 is planned for the creation of a Master in Space Data Science, and a Sustainable Development Incubator specialized in space entrepreneurship.
Will the Master’s degree programmes be open to everybody?
Yes, our training programs are open to everyone. We are working for Africa. For the sake of improvement, we always start with pilot projects to test our results before exporting our services elsewhere.
Will EurekaGeo handle these trainings by themselves?
All activities in our program are based on the SDGs. To this end, we put forward partnerships to build our training. Our ecosystem is made up of actors at local, regional and international level. We develop these training courses with multidisciplinary expert resource persons from academia, the private sector, employers, organizations and institutions, etc. The objective is to offer the best quality, but also to ensure that the skills developed are in line with the needs and strategies of local, sub-regional and regional development.
You mentioned that you will be working in collaboration with other actors, do you mind mentioning some of these actors?
At the national level, we are working with the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training(MINEFOP), Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts( MINPMEESA), ActiVspace HUB, Technipole Sup’ValorSpace Generation Advisory Council( SGAC), Nanosatellite Mission Design, SOGEFI Cameroun, Broadband Cameroon,
At the international level, we are working with the Africa Union Commission, Terrains, Spaceseed, Idgeo, Aerospace Valley, ESA, CNES, NigSatCom, YouthMappers, etc.
We have an agreement with Space in Africa and intend to expand on that agreement as well.
Will Eurêka Géo be expanding operations next year?
Yes, we are currently preparing this.