The last time anybody bothered to check, the app business was a $79 billion industry. One entrepreneur is making sure Haiti is not left behind in the bonanza. Josny Severe, a tech and social media enthusiast based in Port-au-Prince, has created Lenkòp, an app he designed to connect users in Haiti, and the rest of the world with events of interest to them . An engineering graduate of Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago—a college based in the Dominican Republic—Severe worked diligently for more than a year to bring the app to the market.
If the praise coming out of the mouth of users is of any indication, then all of Severe’s labors aren’t in vain. Jean-Clayton Seraphin, a young professional recounts how earlier this year Lenkòp practically saved the day. He was in quite a quandary when he received a phone call from close friends coming to visit Haiti. “Their call was totally unexpected,” Seraphin recalls. I asked some other friends if they knew of things going on where I could take them, but they didn’t know.” Seraphin logged in to the app and was able to find events to choose from.
For student Sarah-Jayne Audate, Lenkòp makes planning her social life easier. “It alerts me about events happening over the weekend. I don’t have to go around and look all over the place at billboards and signs to know what’s going on [event-wise].”
Seraphin says that the fact that Lenkòp is integrated with Google Maps is a huge plus. To Audate, Lenkòp is a source of pride. “It’s a huge step for Haiti,” she contends. “The more of our own apps we have, the more we’ll advance.”.
Kreyolicious: A lot of people who are using Lenkòp may not be aware of all the work and planning that went into building the app. What was the most frustrating moment of the process for you?
In the process of developing Lenkòp, I ran into two frustrating moments. The first one came when one day I decided to install a fresh operating system on my laptop, and I forgot to back up the latest work I had done on it. So, I had to do all that work again, and I can tell you it was frustrating. The second one came on a Friday night. I was going out, and left my laptop close to an open window. It rained that night, and my laptop died. But thank God, I was able to recover all the files from the hard drive. Apart from those [instances], it’s been fun all along the line.
Kreyolicious: The most triumphant?
The moment that both, iOS and Android approved the apps—and I could finally see that idea I had—come to life.
Kreyolicious: I think that no matter how absorbed a person can be while creating a project, and no matter how confident, there’s always going to be those moments when doubts might arise…when the desire to quit—no matter how faint—might arise. Did you have such moments, and if so, what kept you from giving up?
Quitting is not an option with anything I do. When I come across an issue while doing something, first of all, I try to find out the reason why [the issue] occurred. Next, I think about the possible solutions. I evaluate them and take action. I’m the type of person who thinks there’s always a way to reach the goal. That being said, I can’t say I ever had such moment or feeling.
Kreyolicious: What would you say to someone who’s thinking about creating an app?
It’s simple ! First of all, you need a good idea. Write it down, and [conduct] some research to find out if any app of such idea does not exist. Identify the field you will need people from and build a team with creative one therefore creating an app require a lot of creativity. You are not going to be the first or the only person to have an idea to build the app you’re thinking of building. But your creativity will make the difference. Keep in mind that it’s simple, but not easy, and requires a lot of work in all aspects.
Above: The entrepreneur totally absorbed in his work.
Kreyolicious: What sort of feedback have you gotten about the app?
So far, everything is good. We have a lot of traffic and a constant average number of people using the app everyday. Actually, the top three [countries] where people use Lenkòp the most are Haiti, USA and the Dominican Republic. We are taking notes of the behavior of those people using the app and already planning on some other cool features—so the users can have more fun with the app.
Kreyolicious: What’s next for you as an entrepreneur?
The focus is on building the version 2.0 of Lenkòp, actually. I can tell you, what you are seeing in Lenkòp is just the basic features of the app. Creating a system for event require more than that. Nonetheless, I’ll be developing another app that I can’t reveal too much about. The only thing I can say about it for now is that it’s a game. But since Lenkòp is my priority, it might take a long time to have that game done and deployed to the public.
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