Gates Code Club also known as Simon Mustard Foundation is a social enterprise preparing the next generation of African Coders. The organization teaches kids between the ages of 5-14 years coding/programming, robotics and other related subjects through boot-camps.
Here is an interview with the co-founder of Gates Code Club, Simon Ampah who’s part of the Africans Building Africa movement.
- Tell us about yourself and your organization
My name is Simon Ampah, a very enthusiastic person who is keenly interested in the personal development of kids through ICT Education. I am really passionate about what I do and therefore I give my very best to it.
Simon Mustard Foundation also known as Gates Code Club is an Education related social enterprise that was founded by Eric Ampah and Simon Ampah to introduce kids between the ages of 5-14 years to coding/programming, robotics and other tech related stuff whiles touching on subjects like leadership, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Our love for kids is insatiable that’s why we organize Tech Bootcamps which is done every vacation to expose more kids to coding and tech skills which are regarded as key skills in 21st Century
- How much did you need to start your organization and how were you able to raise that capital?
Interestingly enough we started the social enterprise with as little as $500 and we made sure we were very resourceful.
- What are some of the challenges you face in your organization and how do you overcome those challenges?
Every business is plagued with a lot challenges but how you go about tackling them determines whether your business can overcome them or not. For us the main challenge us as a business is mindset of the general public having the assumption that coding is meant for adults. Our country’s ICT curriculum is outdated and difficult to provide kids the opportunity to learn these essential skills such as coding that is needed in 21st Century that’s where we come in.
Our main strategy for overcoming this challenge is through our vacation bootcamps which also serves as a platform to sensitize parents about how urgent and important it is for kids to learn coding. We also educate the general public through our platforms on Facebook: Gates Code Club Twitter:@gatescodingclub and our website: www.simonmuatard.org. So far the strategy has worked very well and we have reached over 150 kids in the past one year.
- Where do you see your organization in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
Every time I think about where we will be in next five years, I become very excited. In the next five years we plan to be in all the 10 regions of Ghana and we would be organizing 3-5 day vacation Tech Bootcamps. In term of execution we already organize Vacation Tech Bootcamps every vacation in Tema and this year as part of our expansion plans we will organize an additional Vacation Tech Bootcamp in Cape Coast, the capital town of Central Region in December 2016. We plan adding 5 more venues in 2017.
- What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to start a business or invest in Africa?
As entrepreneurs we must always be open to new ideas because business is not static, it is dynamic in nature therefore we should always to learn new things each day. Simply put It’s either you grow or you die, there is no sitting on the fence.
- How is your business participating to the development of Africa?
Africa is missing in the digital space. Though numerous efforts have been made to bridge the divide between us and the rest of the world, these efforts have largely not had the necessary impact because most of them have focused on supplying hardware without complimenting it with necessary software development skills. Our contribution to continent of Africa is inspire and provide the necessary tools and a conducive environment for kids to thrive in STEM. If we don’t take steps like these we would forever lag behind.