I am sharing with you the final update concerning the next steps for OCI Lab. In the recent days, @nadia and the team have had different discussions with the different stakeholders about this exciting initiative. The discussions were quite fruitful, and helped to rethink how to start implementing the project and drawing young entrepreneurs, collaborators and mentors in to OCI Lab.
As you know, OCI Lab is the continuity of the Open Village project in the MENA region, which was initiated by Edgeryders’ community. This community of changemakers from all backgrounds, coming together from around the globe, connected online, all working to support each other in bringing the positive change to their communities and so the world, this is one of the most important added-value that OCI Lab is offering for social entrepreneurs and young people in the MENA region. Now, we want to emphasize this particularity. That is why we believe that the upcoming Edgeryders’ festival in 19-29 November, would be the perfect occasion for the kick off of OCI Lab. All parties, with whom we have had discussions, agreed on this.
@zmorda and I, have had a brainstorming with @nadia last week around this. We are thinking of organizing a series of Hackathons in different countries of the MENA region. In these 3 to 4 days Hackathons, we will be presenting three or four challenges, and participating teams will have to work on developing viable solutions to address at least one of these challenges. OCI Lab team, based in Tunisia, will coordinate all the hackathons, whether by physical presence or virtually through online calls.
In the beginning of all hackathons, we will have calls with all participants to present Edgeryders and OCI Lab, the challenges, the process, the expected outputs from each team, and what the winners will benefit from after the hackathons.
During the Hackathon, we organize several 1-2 hours online workshops (webinars) in order to equip the participants with new knowledge and tools that they might need when developing their project proposals and solutions. Here, I am thinking of you @noemi , @matthias , @alberto , @hugi and all who want to join us (topics could include: Future communities’ development, Blockchain, community management, AI, Data science, ethnography, how to go internationally, alternative currencies/economy, etc.), but we should deliver interesting topics (usually around IT, economics and development) for participants.
By the end of the hackathon, each team should come up with:
- A project idea (A business Model Canvas)
- A prototype / Demo for their solution
- A plan of action to develop their MVP, with clear milestones and a clear budget for each milestone
OCI Lab and Edgeryders team will select the most relevant projects from all hackathons. I am thinking of up to 10 projects, but again this depends on the number of hackathons to be organized, the number of final projects presented and their relevance to the challenges. All the selected projects will go into the mentoring process through the community calls as explained before. These teams will also have a budget available to benefit from, in order ton at least, develop their MVPs as described in their plan of action, and eventually business plans to raise further funding from other donors or investors in the future. That is why we need also your thoughts about what challenges to choose, as this could help the project have better access to funding opportunities. Now, we will have a budget up to 15k $ to support the selected teams. We are thinking with @matthias how to integrate the pay coupons system in this, but we will discuss this in a separate post when this becomes clearer for us.
Currently, we are identifying all coworking spaces, universities, hubs and all community spaces, like @OurGhema (@Yosser ) , which would like to join this and organize a hackathon for their members who will be learning a lot and having an opportunity to secure a budget to develop their MVPs and their BPs, in addition to benefiting from Edgeryders and OCI Lab support along the way.
As per usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome and encourage, after all they really helped us get here (even your encouragements mean a lot for us ).