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Why is Trinity Software Center a Fair Trade company?

By Diana Van Der-Stelt - BLOGGER(Trinity Software Center) |1 May 2017.

Founders and software developers Joseph Anto, Stephen Ofori and Anthony Yeboah Asare are telling their story.

Trinity Software Center started as a small student initiative.

Before we founded Trinity Software Center in the fall of 2016, as founders we had already been committed to the delivery of quality software to local businesses in Kumasi, Ghana, for a couple of years. These projects were mainly the development of websites and local desktop applications, relatively small projects that we were able to manage during our years of study at the Computer Science Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

After graduation, we had the option to continue this way, either with our own company or employed by a Ghanaian IT company. We concluded that this career path would impose us with some limitations; we decided to become a Fair Trade software company instead. We believe that this step will benefit us, and give great learning opportunities for all young software developers who choose to work for us, as we build software for European customers, in particular in collaboration with IT companies in the Netherlands.

young IT graduates in Ghana do not easily find a job to start their career.

Although everyone speaks about IT these days, we see that it is not easy at all in this country to find a job with a degree in computer science. In the first place, we see that many small IT companies like ours start up, and they basically get stuck producing small software solutions for local businesses, like we did as students. Some companies manage to grow, delivering software to the financial sector in Accra. But also the successful ones are usually executing relatively small projects. It is obviously difficult to find a more complex learning environment here.

Secondly, the Ghanaian business community has a demand for IT-professionals but usually requires practical experience. University education in this country has a good theoretical level but the practicality is not so much part of the curriculum. As Trinity founders, we were an exception because we got practical training in addition to our university degree. At first, this was our own initiative, to learn programming on a practical level. After graduation, two of us had the opportunity to be selected for the extensive practical training program of Maxim Nyansa, an NGO dedicated to help young IT graduates in their career. But for most students in computer science, they are desperately in need of a place to acquire practical experience.

Finally, there is still a considerable bias in career opportunity in this country, depending on one’s social background. Young people usually get help from their families in finding a job through their social network. So if your parents are successful business people you may find a good job via their contacts. For us, this is not at all the case, leaving us like most of our fellow graduates, with high probability of remaining unemployed.

What is Fair Trade software?

Basically, companies can affiliate with the Fair Trade Software Foundation and its label. Fair Trade Software is supposed to be delivered by highly educated young people from the large metropolitan regions in the developing world, who struggle to find employment because of their social background. Apart from a fair wage and good work conditions, capacity building is a key element. At a fair trade software company young programmers can obtain additional training and increase their professionality by executing projects for customers in Europe or the US.

Working for a Fair Trade software company is a first career step.

We expect that, after a number of years programmers working with us will be capable of starting their own IT businesses, developing innovative products for the local market. And as Trinity, we have the ambition to become more and more attractive as a contractor ourselves, capable of providing larger and more complex software for the Ghanaian market.

Partnership with Dutch businesses in virtual developer teams

As a member of the Fair Trade Software Foundation, we will be offering our services to IT companies in the Netherlands. A Dutch IT-company choosing for social entrepreneurship can decide to work with us, where our developers take part in a virtual team where they can learn from their Dutch colleagues.

As we have been delivering our first software for the Dutch market earlier this year, we have been very much encouraged by the learning experience of working together with programmers in the Netherlands. We are ready to take the next step!.