Eloquent Data: the result of friendship built at a Zindi hackathon
“In 2019, I participated in a Zindi hackathon as a group with two brilliant guys — Ajayi and John — where we emerged second place. It was during the program, at the grand finale in Rwanda, that I met my future co-founder Enock,” says Solomon Igori, a data enthusiast, Zindian, and co-founder of Eloquent Data. “We immediately realised our shared interest in building communities in Africa. That was where the idea for Eloquent Data came from.”
Eloquent Data (ELDA) is a Pan-African social data platform that provides data enthusiasts and working professionals with data skills, dashboard training, mentorship, and other resources. It was founded by Solomon Igori and Enock Mwesigwa from Nigeria. The duo got the idea for the platform when they realized there was a massive demand for data experts and a severe shortage of qualified people in Africa.
How Eloquent Data started
The groundwork for Eloquent Data was set back in 2019 when Solomon Igori met several like-minded individuals at a Zindi hackathon. They were all interested in making Africa a top-rated data skills centre.
After the event, they kept in touch and launched their data training program in Accra, Ghana. Eloquent Data began in 2020 as a small-scale project. The team trained their first cohort of 4 people, focusing on an introduction to data science and how to use Python. After completing the second cohort’s training, the company shifted gears toward training non-profit organisations. Eloquent Data initially used campus facilities in Ghana to carry out the training, allowing participants to learn new skills while encouraging them to grow and evolve in an educational environment.
How Zindi contributed to the growth of Eloquent Data
The interaction between Zindi and Eloquent Data began at the i2i Hackathon in 2019. After that, Solomon and his new friends worked on other Zindi challenges together as a team, which enabled them to learn, develop, and sharpen their talents.
One project Zindi has also contributed to is the Eloquent Data project Data4GBV, in which Zindi provided Eloquent Data with the initial gender-based violence dataset to build upon.
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“Zindi played an important role in the birth and growth of Eloquent Data, by providing a platform that brought together brilliant minds and exceptional talents. That’s where I met many interesting people, like my co-founder. It’s the kind of environment that sparks creativity.”
Startup challenges and future plans
According to Solomon, one major challenge was financing the project, which had mostly been done through their own efforts. They went on to apply on the AWS platform for active founders and have been awarded free Amazon credit.
Scaling the number of individuals trained at a time with limited manpower was another challenge, as a large number of trainees adversely affected the quality of the training. Solomon reiterates that the team leans more towards quality over quantity. Currently, the training is still small-scale, with the NGOs being small teams of 3–4 people.
“The goal is to paint the continent yellow, to have Eloquent Data in every country in Africa and further into the global scene.”
Some years back, finding data science jobs in Africa was almost non-existent. The data potential is growing, but there remains a need to fill that gap and train people to have data knowledge and skills. Eloquent Data currently operates in Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya.
Solomon Igori joined Zindi 3 years ago and is ranked in the top 500 users.