The GMES and Africa support programme has announced its 2023 Startups Development (SD) programme winners. The SD programme was created under the aegis of the GMES and Africa Incubation and Acceleration (GAIA) initiative, a part of the GMES and Africa Phase 2 programme, focused on supporting research and entrepreneurship in the African NewSpace ecosystem.
- Komlan Richard Folly, Founder/CEO, African Geospace
Bio: Komlan Folly is a geospatial data scientist and entrepreneur. He is the Director of African Geospace, a company that utilises geospatial technology and data to save lives, improve livelihoods, and increase climate resilience. As a STEM educator focusing on Earth Science and Planetary Science, Komlan has provided training and presentations to hundreds of students and teachers during educational outreach campaigns in Africa. Komlan is a graduate of Geography from the Université de Lomé and is committed to utilising geospatial technology and data to benefit the planet and its people.
Business idea: Using Remote sensing, EO data, precision mapping, and geospatial intelligence, African Geospace leverages geospatial technology and data to enhance the well-being of communities by improving disaster response, supporting sustainable livelihoods and building climate resilience. They focus on addressing vulnerability through innovative geospatial data and technology solutions.
- Fatime Kanté, Executive Director, GEOMATICA
Bio: Fatime KANTE is a trained geographer and environmentalist. She defended her unique doctoral thesis in 2018 on the theme: “Flows: water in the city of Saint-Louis in Senegal; A study of rainwater management in low points.” In November 2021, Dr Kanté joined the renowned start-up GEOMATICA as Project Manager. She participates with dedication in the influence of the box with a multidisciplinary team. Dr Fatme intends to take Geomatica even further to achieve its primary vision. She has participated in various conferences and symposiums and has authored several articles awaiting publication in renowned journals.
Business idea: Geomatica has reputable expertise in processing and analysing satellite images and implementing WebGIS platforms to support decision-making through precision mapping.
- Emmanuella Élisabeth BOKAME, Founder, Afrikemleez Community
Bio: Emmanuella Elisabeth Bokame is a marketing communication graduate with ten years of experience in the area of corporate communication. Emmanuella devotes a portion of her time to volunteer work and is committed to maximising the potential of African youth through various associations and service clubs. Since receiving her master’s degree in marketing from the École Supérieure de Commerce et d’Administration des Entreprises/INPHB, she has engaged in several initiatives with significant added value to Africa’s advancement constantly at the forefront. Emmanuella is the Marketing Manager at Pulaarku Welly, a communication firm specialising in developing content for the African audience, and the Communication and Marketing Manager of ETUDESK, an Ivorian training and skills development organisation. She created the Afrikemleez Community, a community of entrepreneurs, to lead awareness actions on entrepreneurship.
Business idea: Afrikemleez Community is an incubation company focused on filling the gap between acceleration institutions struggling to find ideal candidates and project leaders. Through personalised support programmes, they prepare budding companies for the competitiveness of our market by giving them the skills and attitude to capture opportunities to formalise their ideas into profitable and sustainable businesses.
Nationality: Cote d’Ivoire
- Eric Nyadimo, Managing Director, Oakar Services Ltd.
Bio: Eric Nyadimo is a Licensed Surveyor and a Full Member of the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (MISK). He is the Managing Director of Oakar Services, a Geospatial Consultancy Firm in the Eastern Africa Region. Eric has an MSc in Land Management and Land Tenure from the Technische Universität München, Germany and a BSc in Surveying from the University of Nairobi. He serves as the Deputy President of the Institution of Surveyor of Kenya, Vice Chair of the Lands & Physical Planning Sector Board at KEPSA, and Chair of the Technical Working Group for Geospatial Standards at the Kenya Bureau of Standards. Eric Nyadimo has also served as the Chair of the Taskforce on Digitisation of Land Records and Taskforce on reviewing the Survey’s sector’s policy and legal and institutional framework for the Ministry of Lands, Public Works, Housing & Urban Development.
Business idea: Using EO data, precision mapping, and remote sensing, Oakar Services is creating a farmer mapping application to develop innovative solutions targeting farmers and how they can improve their products and access to the markets.
- Allan Mbabani, Executive Director, OpenStreetMap Uganda
Bio: Allan is a GIS analyst who employs open-source tools to solve community problems. For over six years, Allan has trained institutions, organisations and government entities in applying open-source GIS to support their programs. Working on various community projects that involved working with refugees and hosting communities has equipped Allan with people and project management skills. Allan holds a bachelor’s degree in Science Degree in Water Resources Engineering from Busitema University, Uganda. He is currently serving as the Executive Director at OpenStreetMap Uganda, a local NGO mandated to build communities of mappers through open-source data and software.
Business idea: OpenStreetMap gathers open-source data to contribute to the creation and implementation of novel solutions by NGOs, Government entities and the private sector with a focus on digitising geospatial data for visualisation on interactive and static maps. They develop solutions that support communities in solving their challenges with an area-based approach.
- Assefa Bethelhem Girma, Co-founder and CEO, Afrobots Engineering Ltd
Bio: Bethelhem Girma is a Co-founder and CEO at Afrobots Engineering PLC. Afrobots, meaning African robots, is a startup committed to providing robotic solutions for African industries. Previously, Bethelhem worked as an Assistant Researcher at the Space Science and Geospatial Institute, formerly known as the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute. With over two years of experience in aerospace vehicle design and development, Bethelhem has gained a deep understanding of the need for aerospace technology in the horn of Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. With a great passion for space and flight, Bethelhem aspires to become a tech entrepreneur and positively impact the youth in Africa.
Business idea: Afrobots Engineering PLC is a company that provides robotic solutions like commercial drones for agriculture and mapping for Africa. The company aims to build, operate and maintain drones and produce licensed and trained operators in Africa.
- Rachel Lusungu Kumwenda, Founder, Drone Link
Bio: Rachel is a drone pilot and the founder and manager of Drone Link, which provides mining, environment, agriculture, health, and other development operators with cost-effective mapping and imaging solutions utilising drones and digital technology to aid in planning and informed decision making. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences from the University of Malawi and a certificate in Drone and Data Technology from the African Drone and Data Academy. Rachel is presently heading the Drone Link team in developing creative solutions to address distinct social issues. Including mapping of buildings, roads, and other important infrastructures for disaster management.
Business idea: Drone Link uses drones and geospatial technology for precise mapping and surveying to collect accurate point data for the environmental management, mining, construction, agriculture and health sectors.
- Piet Mashita, CEO/Co-founder, Abiri Innovations
Bio: Piet Mashita is the co-founder and CEO of a startup called Abiri Innovations based in Mokopane, Limpopo Province in South Africa and has a degree in BSc. He is passionate about innovation and technology – especially using both to solve Africa’s pressing challenges. He has certificates in Enterprise Design Thinking Practitioner, Artificial Intelligence Intro, Blockchain Intro, and Build Your Own Chatbot from IBM. He is full-time in Abiri Innovations with some achievements, including winners of the Boostup Pitch Competition 2019, winner of Eureka Meets Atlantic South Africa’s Best SMEs Pitch Competition and Innovation Bridge Most Promising Entrepreneur Community Pitch Award 2022.
Business idea: Abiri Innovations uses satellite navigation applications to provide integrated mapping systems to help logistics, and essential services can use to find addresses in townships (slums) and rural communities, thereby reducing the wait time for emergency services. In addition to this, their application can be utilised for livestock tracking and monitoring for rural households and farmers.
Nationality: South Africa
- Kumbirai Nicholas Matingo, Founder/Team Lead, African Surveyors Connect
Bio: Kumbirai is a young innovative geospatial developer, analyst and researcher who recently graduated with BSc Hons in Surveying and Geomatics from the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe. Despite having been enrolled in an undergraduate degree programme over the past five years, Kumbirai has over three years of professional working experience as a freelance GIS consultant and developer working with various organisations, both government and private, in Zimbabwe to develop impactful and cutting-edge solutions that support sustainable growth and development across various sectors. He is also the founder and team lead at African Surveyors Connect. He is currently serving as the National Point of Contact for Zimbabwe with the Space Generation Advisory Council. He also contributes some of his skills in IT while volunteering with the FIG Young Surveyors Volunteer Community Surveyor Program (VCSP) as the Knowledge Portal team lead. Kumbirai is driven by the desire to achieve global sustainability through his work focusing on developing countries towards the 2030 SDGs vision.
Business idea: African Surveyors Connect offers agricultural forecasting for targeted cropping and climate-change adaptation through satellite imagery and geospatial analysis in Zimbabwe to help small-holder farmers nationwide better plan their cropping according to seasonal variation as well as through suggestive cropping and farming methods from their algorithm.
- Hamed Gamal, Founder, African Space Access
Bio: Hamed is a PhD candidate at Aalto University in Finland. He holds an M.Sc from Warsaw University of Technology in Poland and a B.Sc from Cairo University in Egypt. His professional and academic career exclusively focuses on space engineering scopes, especially on space systems and mission management. Hamed acquired a master’s in Aerospace Engineering from the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland. He was recently offered a position to do a PhD in space missions project management in the uprising NewSpace economy at Aalto University, Helsinki (part-time & remotely). He worked on the operations, qualification, build, and launch of 14 spacecrafts with ICEYE, the SAR constellation operator. Afterwards, he led the SCOUT-1 mission of 3 spacecrafts for ESA through Gomspace. He has worked at NewSpace companies and classic OEMs such as Boeing and Airbus. Hamed has a demonstrated record and a vast experience with the life cycle of space projects starting from lobbying, bidding, proposal writing, implementation, managing engineering teams, AIT & EVT activities and launch & interface management. Being involved in space projects at RFA, GomSpace, ICEYE, Suborbitality, Boeing, SpaceForest, Blue Dot Solutions, Airbus, ABM Space, and other aerospace companies and agencies has helped him formulate a complete grasp of the current state of the space industry.
Business idea: African Space Access is working on building and running a spaceport in Africa to bolster the African space ecosystem and global space presence and attract foreign investments. The African Space Access project is built around agile NewSpace engineering approaches of connecting key industry stakeholders to pave the way for the launchers to make it to newly established African spaceports and to actively catalyse commissioning spaceports to a B2B stage.
- Adam Bouramdane, CEO, GOELAMBERT
Bio: Adam is a trained Engineer, Surveyor and Topographer. He is an international expert in land security and a manager and founding member of the company GEOLAMBERT. Through his 17 years of experience in land security, infrastructure and data acquisition in general by integrating new technology, he was able to capitalise on several major projects in Morocco and abroad.
Business idea: Using a deep learning approach, GEOLAMBERT uses drone imagery, scanners, and GNSS applications to gather environmental data to solve urban taxation challenges.
- Marie Brigitte Makuate, Founder, Geospatial Girls and Kids
Bio: Marie Makuate is a researcher and PhD candidate in Geomatics. Her work focuses on using Computer Science in Geographic Information Science for environmental management. She is the Founder of Kids and Girls in Geospatial, whose mission is to promote the Geospatial domain through kids and girls worldwide. She is passionate about climate change, disaster management, spatial analysis and geo-artificial intelligence. Using remote sensing and GIS, she can integrate hands-on skills and knowledge in solving environmental issues. As an advocate of sustainable development, she dreams of inspiring the young generation in geospatial sciences and technologies for capacity building and development in the developing world.
Business idea: Geospatial Girls and Kids is a training organisation for developing African capacity in geospatial intelligence and solving gender inequality in geospatial and space sciences in Africa.
- John-Freddy Ngabikoumou Maleghi, dRone-Health
Bio: John-Freddy NGABIKOUMOU obtained his Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Physics in 2015 and joined the Faculty of Science of the University of Science and Technology of Masuku. A few years after his Bachelor’s degree in Earth Science, he discovered the space field thanks to a scholarship obtained by the Gabonese government; where he continued his studies at the University Center and Research in Remote Sensing at the University Felix Houphouet BOIGNY of Cote d’Ivoire. Making this field of earth observation a passion, he developed an idea in collaboration with some students of the research centre to create embedded artificial intelligence to meet the needs of forestry companies in strict respect of carbon emissions related to deforestation and land degradation. In parallel, he is evolving in the drone environment as a drone pilot at TSA, where he supervises projects in intelligent agriculture with drones, such as Agras T30 and Matrice 300 RTK. This experience has fueled in him the idea of developing an innovative solution in the field of Health to meet the need for the availability of medical products in rural areas.
Business idea: dRONE-Health uses intelligent mapping and unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver medical products to remote health centres in the main health districts in Gabon.
- Harry Ayuk-Ngojo Tabi Ndip, Co-founder/Project Lead, Aerospace Baby
Bio: Harry A.N. Tabi Ndip is a final year Telecommunications Engineering student at the College of Technology, University of Buea who is very passionate about building a sustainable community of Space and STEM enthusiasts in Cameroon. After he got into the university, he set out to give kids and other highly motivated youths exposure to space through Aerospace Baby and the youths for sustainable space development community (Y4SSD), which is dedicated to providing an equitable education to kids in the areas of space sciences and applications in Cameroon and Africa. Having demonstrated leadership and entrepreneurial abilities in and out of the school environment, volunteering, leading projects, working in teams, and being part of a wide network of organisations like the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), where he was a mentee and is a team member in the SGAC’s SSPG (small satellite project group), he is presently working on a research topic to be submitted at the 74th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2023. In addition, he is a student member of the African Astronomical Society (AFAS) and was a speaker at the recent AFAS-2023 Conference in South Africa. And in his learning pursuit, Harry is also a student at the Aspire institute for leadership, inaugurated at Harvard. Harry hopes to learn as much as he can and gain more exposure to support the SDGs’ emergence in Cameroon and change the paradigm in the Cameroon space sector.
Business idea: Aerospace Baby is a space training and education outfit to teach young African children the basics of space science, satellites, earth observation, and remote sensing technologies and pave the way for young Africans to build careers in the African space ecosystem.
Ayooluwa Adetola is a writer and editor at Space in Africa. She loves to share scientific information using the simplest words possible. When she’s not in front of a screen, she can be found with her nose buried in a book.