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Welcome to the Silicon Savannah – Researching Africa’s startup ecosystems

By Dan Evans on April 18, 2014

Dan Evans, Network Science Center at West Point (US), discusses insights from his trips to collect data on entrepreneur ecosystems in various cities in Africa.

The previous two blogs on the VC4Africa blog described the relevance and general overview of our research project that is developing innovative network models of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

The inspiration for our research project evolved out of a fortuitous visit to Nairobi, Kenya in December of 2011. I attended a conference there and used some free time to visit with some tech innovators in the local area. As I was introduced to the booming local entrepreneurial environment I wondered, “What differentiates Nairobi from the other cities I have visited in the emerging world?” The following blog contain excerpts [...] Continue reading Welcome to the Silicon Savannah – Researching Africa’s startup ecosystems »


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Meet Nigeria’s LPM/L’Espace: raising capital to take Africa’s fashion to the world

By Miguel Heilbron on April 15, 2014

Today’s featured members of the VC4Africa community are entrepreneurs Isoken Ogiemwonyi & Wonuola Okoye of LPM/L’Espace. Having achieved a substantial impact on the Lagos shopping culture already, they’re currently looking for investments to expand in Nigeria and internationally.

After participating in the virtual accelerator program of venture capital community VC4Africa they recently pitched their Nigerian fashion company at the Angel Fair West Africa event in Lagos, where 20 African SME entrepreneurs pitched in front of investors.

L’Espace is a multi-brand concept store in Lagos; Le Petit Marche (LPM) is an innovative monthly market. Co-founder Isoken Ogiemwonyi originally graduated as a lawyer (LL.B) and also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Hospitality Administration and an MSc in Management. Co-founder [...] Continue reading Meet Nigeria’s LPM/L’Espace: raising capital to take Africa’s fashion to the world »


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Dear Entrepreneur, what is your value proposition to your staff?

By Chude Jideonwo on April 11, 2014

“Young employees are seduced by the plethora of opportunities that surround us – new sectors, new job descriptions, or even just the opportunity to go sit at the Co-Creation Hub and work on their start-ups” writes Nigerian media entrepreneur Chude Jideonwo. “Ask yourself, if you’re a small business… why should they choose you?”

A few years ago, I was so frustrated by the quality and character of my Human Resources, you can’t even imagine it. There was one star for every 5, er… non-stars, and even the rare stars were also not staying. I began a pilgrimage to peers and mentors to try and find out what I was doing wrong.

To think about it now, I LOL. To cut a long story short, they were facing [...] Continue reading Dear Entrepreneur, what is your value proposition to your staff? »


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Meet to the 10 Innovation Prize for Africa 2014 finalists!

By Miguel Heilbron on April 10, 2014

UPDATE: Check out videos of 10 African innovators who created practical solutions to some of the continent’s most intractable problems, from a domestic waste biogas system to a wafer matrix for paediatric antiretroviral drug treatment. These innovators have been announced by the African Innovation Foundation as the finalists of the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa 2014.

Chosen from almost 700 applications from 42 countries, the finalists for the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) represent Africans’ potential to address challenges that are unique to the continent. The winners of the IPA 2014 will be announced at an awards ceremony on 5 May in Abuja, Nigeria, where keynote speaker, the Honourable Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Minister of finance, will highlight the importance of innovation to unlock Africa’s potential [...] Continue reading Meet to the 10 Innovation Prize for Africa 2014 finalists! »


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Mapping startup ecosystems across Africa: How to facilitate entrepreneurial success

By Dan Evans on April 8, 2014

Below Daniel Evans & Louis Boguchwal, researchers from the Network Science Center at West Point (US), explain how they map networks of entrepreneurs across Africa to develop recommendations towards entrepreneurial success. Also see the previous post in this series, discussing the importance of facilitating entrepreneurial success in Africa and other developing regions.

We all live and work in a world made up of complex adaptive systems, each of which can be represented by various forms of networks. Our team has developed an innovative, yet simple, technique that allows us to develop quantifiable entrepreneur networks. This technique, known as the ‘Position Generator’, models the connections of roles in the local community. By analyzing the entrepreneur’s connections to prominent structural positions in the community or society, our team [...] Continue reading Mapping startup ecosystems across Africa: How to facilitate entrepreneurial success »


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Innovators across Africa: time to take your place on the world stage

By Michelle Atagana on April 8, 2014

This article by Michelle Atagana originally appeared on Ventureburn, a VC4Africa publishing partner. 

“Africa has seen some impressive entrepreneurs from the tech-energized streets of West Africa, the innovation hubs of East Africa, and all the way down to the shores of Southern Africa amazing things are being built. But now what?”

It’s starting to get redundant to say tech is big in Africa. Of course tech is big in Africa. Tech is big everywhere – it’s our favourite toy right now. A few weeks ago, I was hanging around Social Media Week in Lagos, Nigeria and what really stood out for me is not that tech is big, but that Africa’s tech explosion is facing some challenges.

The questions people are starting to ask aren’t around the number of [...] Continue reading Innovators across Africa: time to take your place on the world stage »


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Last days to apply for PIVOT EAST, East Africa’s mobile startup pitching competition

By Miguel Heilbron on April 7, 2014

PIVOT EAST is East Africa’s mobile startups pitching competition and conference held annually since 2011. The deadline to apply for Pivot East 2014 is this Friday, April 11th! This year’s pitching conference will be held on Tuesday June 24th.

PIVOT EAST is an initiative of m:lab East Africa focused on East Africa’s Mobile developer and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Startups across the region that meet the requirement can start applying for the competition. More info on joining including eligibility criteria may be found on pivoteast.com/how-to-enter.

The competition has five categories: Mobile Finance, Mobile Enterprise, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Society and Mobile Utility. Each category will feature five finalists who will pitch to an audience of Investors, Development Partners, Government Representatives, Telecom Operators and other key mobile industry players [...] Continue reading Last days to apply for PIVOT EAST, East Africa’s mobile startup pitching competition »


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VC4Africa community calls on leaders to invest in entrepreneurial ecosystem at 5th EU-Africa Business Forum

By Ben White on April 2, 2014

It is clear Small Medium Sized Enterprises are the backbone of every economy: they are the engines of employment, income generation and economic growth. Yet the conversation at high level forums fails to break down beyond a discussion concerning traditional venture capital and large private equity. The word startup is hardly ever used and there is no focus on building the entrepreneurial community from the grassroots.

Doesn’t the conversation start here?

The VC4Africa community and investment firm Sovec co-chaired the Venture Capital Roundtable at the 5th EU-Africa Business Forum in Brussels. This was a unique opportunity for our 15,000 members from 159 countries to express their concerns, a common voice calling on both EU and African leaders to recognize the entrepreneurial movement coming up across the [...] Continue reading VC4Africa community calls on leaders to invest in entrepreneurial ecosystem at 5th EU-Africa Business Forum »


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See some of VC4Africa’s contributions to the EU-Africa Business Forum in Brussels this week

By Miguel Heilbron on April 2, 2014

This week VC4Africa co-organized a Roundtable and additional input at the EU-Africa Business Forum, see some tweets with pictures below! Check back later to see more updates added to this article. See @VC4AfricaMentor on Twitter for all the tweets.

     

Continue reading See some of VC4Africa’s contributions to the EU-Africa Business Forum in Brussels this week »

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VC4Africa members pitch at Angel Fair in Lagos, conversations continue at the AVCA Conference

By Miguel Heilbron on April 2, 2014

This week a number of VC4Africa members pitched at the Angel Fair West Africa, and conversations continued at the Annual Congress of AVCA (the African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association).

Meet the entrepreneurs who pitched at Angel Fair: Seed Capital selection and VC/GC/PE selection. Both events took place in Lagos, Nigeria. See some pictures below. Check back later to see more updates added to this article.

About 100 early stage investors and SME entrepreneurs from within and outside Africa came together at Angel Fair West Africa to talk about deals last weekend, March 29th to 31st. Then on April 1st and 2nd, hundreds of PE investors and other delegates, representing hundreds of billions of dollars in assets under management, came together [...] Continue reading VC4Africa members pitch at Angel Fair in Lagos, conversations continue at the AVCA Conference »