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Increasing the participation of women in Africa’s tech & innovation ecosystems

By Bankole Oluwafemi on April 24, 2014

This article by Bankole Oluwafemi originally appeared on TechCabal, a VC4Africa publishing partner.

“Perhaps if in the first instance we concentrated on getting the numbers of women in tech up, it won’t be long before the impact and dividends will become obvious across board.”

Sometime last year, Tolu Agunbiade and I wrote up a series on TechCabal about girls who code. While the reception was mostly warm, we also got panned in some (Twitter) quarters for what they described as token feminism. Our noble intentions notwithstanding, we had unwittingly stepped into a sexist controversy minefield.

I was of course grateful for a constructive reminder to not celebrate [...] Continue reading Increasing the participation of women in Africa’s tech & innovation ecosystems »


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VC4Africa community celebrates 1000 published SME companies from across Africa!

By Miguel Heilbron on April 22, 2014

By Miguel Heilbron, Thomas van Halen, Joshua Aboah

This week we published the 1000th venture profile on VC4Africa! Check our ventures map, see some numbers on countries & sectors below, and read at the bottom how to join Africa’s venture capital platform too!

VC4Africa is the largest online community connecting Africa’s most promising SME entrepreneurs with qualified investors and various resources. Today there are 15,000 entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and business professionals part of the VC4Africa community spread across 159 countries, including more than 600 Angels and early stage VC investors.

To date VC4Africa has processed more than 1,800 venture applications from entrepreneurs all across Africa, of which 1,000 venture profiles were published to the VC4Africa.biz website. VC4Africa publishes [...] Continue reading VC4Africa community celebrates 1000 published SME companies from across Africa! »


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Pushing Africa’s SMEs further through technology – Interview with Zegetech, creators of MPAYER

By Miguel Heilbron on April 22, 2014

Today’s featured members of the VC4Africa community are entrepreneurs Stella Njoki and Kariuki Gathitu, the co-founders of Zegetech, creators of MPAYER. They won many awards and challenges and are currently raising capital. “We are excited to be part of the great technological revolution that our children will be taught about as history.”

Two years ago, at the inaugural DEMO Africa event, Stella Njoki and Kariuki Gathitu launched their product MPAYER, an app for businesses to manage income and expenses. Read the interview with Stella Njoki below.

What’s the essence of your business and why is it interesting for investors?

“Zege Technologies is a payments and communication platform. Our core strategy is to offer our products to the big enterprise market as well as the [...] Continue reading Pushing Africa’s SMEs further through technology – Interview with Zegetech, creators of MPAYER »


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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 »


Avatar of Miguel Heilbron

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 »


Avatar of Miguel Heilbron

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 »