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Africa’s emerging market news – comparing notes from China & India

By Niti Bhan on July 23, 2014

This article was originally published on Niti Bhan’s personal blog and is published with permission.

Niti Bhan, founder and principal at the Emerging Futures Lab consultancy, is one of over 100 business mentors at VC4Africa’s Mentorship Marketplace. Below she argues that first impressions will matter more for entrepreneurs in Africa than they did when India and China came up, and also mentions: “the choice is not how much money can foreign investment bring into the country but whether you want it in the first place and from whom.”

Africa’s economic and consumer market opportunities, as covered in mainstream media as well as press releases, has begun to remind me of the way India and China used to be covered back in the [...]

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Get on the AMPION Venture Bus, joining DEMO Africa in Lagos too!

By Miguel Heilbron on July 22, 2014

AMPION Venture Bus is calling for applications for its five startup road trips in Africa this year. A global fellowship program will be launched together with VC4Africa and AfriLabs, and at the opening session of DEMO Africa 2014 in Lagos one of the Venture Bus teams will get a chance to pitch on stage!

AMPION Venture Bus brings together young African change-makers and tech experts from all over the world to turn business ideas into real projects. During a 5-day competition and road trip, the “Ampioneers” create start-ups and develop innovative solutions to local challenges.

After a successful first journey in 2013, through Zimbabwe and South Africa, three start-ups (including VC4Africa members) have launched operations: Sterio.me, a learning system via GSM, Workforce, a [...]

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Flat6Labs – Accelerating Entrepreneurship Across the MENA Region

By Bill Zimmerman on July 21, 2014

VC4Africa connects partners running physical tech hubs and accelerators across the African continent. When visiting a country, doing market research, meeting entrepreneurs, or conducting due diligence, our colleagues at these organizations are an invaluable resource. Today, we’re pleased to announce our partnership with Flat6Labs, the leading accelerator supporting startups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Flat6Labs is a regional startup accelerator program that fosters and invests in bright and passionate entrepreneurs with cutting-edge ideas. They provide seed funding, strategic mentorship, a creative workspace, entrepreneurship-focused business training, and directly support startups through an expansive network of partners.

We recently had a chance to speak with Ramez Mohamed, CEO of Flat6Labs, to learn more about their approach to serving startups at their locations in Cairo, [...]

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The Silicon Savannah – an insider’s view

By Ken Griffith on July 18, 2014

This article by Kenneth Griffith originally appeared on LinkedIn and is published with permission.

Nairobi has gotten a lot of press over the past few years as the rising “Silicon Savannah” of Africa – a hub for tech start-ups in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the press is legit, but there is also a bit of hype. I’ve been a participant in Nairobi’s tech scene since 2012 when I discovered the iHub, a year after moving here in 2011. I thought I would share my notes here for those who want to get a real picture of what is going on in the “Silicon Savannah.”

Overview – What is the Silicon Savannah?

Kenya is the classic “savanna” climate, with massive grasslands supporting large herds of animals. Likening Nairobi’s [...]

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‘NGO’ Money: Really?

By Josiah Mugambi on July 16, 2014

This article by Josiah Mugambi originally appeared on IHub and is published with permission.

I opted not to immediately get into the heated debate that this Wired article sparked and spent some time mulling over this debate. Here are my thoughts.

I find the premise that hype around NGO funded apps is stifling innovation in Nairobi rather simplistic, NGO in this case being used as a catch all for any entity that’s not for profit. I believe this argument does not factor in the differences between the ecosystem in Kenya and that in other parts of the world. Obviously many people like to see how one ecosystem stacks up against another. Hence we have the term Silicon Savannah, likening the budding but still very young Kenyan tech ecosystem with the Silicon Valley. [...]

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9 innovations we need from Africa’s entrepreneurs

By Michelle Atagana on July 14, 2014

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

There are times when it seems like there is an app for everything and entrepreneurs would have to reach pretty far to keep building new things. But in Africa, there are many things that need to be invented and problems that need to be solved. As an interested party in the African startup and entrepreneur ecosystem, we obviously have a few things we think need to be built on the continent.

We decided to put together a list of things we wish African entrepreneurs could get going on. Now, some of these may be in the works already or some version of them might actually be in existence. If so, give us a holla.

Carpool [...]

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Africa’s new remittance tool Remit raises capital to expand

By Miguel Heilbron on July 11, 2014

Today’s featured member of the VC4Africa community is entrepreneur Stone Atwine, CEO and co-founder of Remit Uganda, a new remittance tool raising capital to expand.

What’s the essence of your business and why are you interesting for investors?

“Remit is a platform that enables people from all over the world to transfer money to the mobile wallets of their relatives, friends and associates in Africa. We are faster, more convenient and more affordable than other platforms.

We are helping to bring down the cost of sending money home to Africa from abroad and we bring new levels of convenience to both senders and recipients of money transfers. We have a minimum viable product that is live and operational. We’ve moved tens of thousands of US dollars already and are generating [...]

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Top 40 startups selected for DEMO Africa 2014

By Hilda Shema Kamali on July 10, 2014

We are pleased to announce the 40 entrepreneurs selected to launch at this year’s DEMO Africa conference, to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, on September 22 - 26. DEMO Africa is a must-attend event for both investors, entrepreneurs, tech media & others looking for Africa’s ‘next big thing’. You can book your tickets online now or join as a V.I.P. if you are an investor.

This year DEMO Africa will again launch 40 of the most innovative start-ups in Africa and highlight some of the best new technology innovations from across the continent. The 40 finalists have gone through three rigorous screening processes with the final vetting and adjudication done by a pan-African panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs, VCs and academia. The judges included Dele Akinsade, Bob Mbori, Victor Okigbo, [...]

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Nigeria, Kenya or South Africa – Which is Africa’s top ICT hub?

By Odunayo Eweniyi on July 9, 2014

This article by Odunayo Eweniyi was originally published at Techcabal and is published with permission.

Lured by the growth potential of African economies and our increasing interest in technology, many companies are fast expanding their employee base and branches in a market that was earlier viewed as a low-cost. But while most technology companies had earlier chosen South Africa as their African headquarters, many are expanding into fast-growing economies such as Kenya and Nigeria.

This piece was going to be titled “Is Kenya the new ICT hub for Africa”, but I think it will benefit from insight from everyone as to where the hub is.

Five years ago, South Africa was the undisputable ICT [...]

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Co-working vs Incubation spaces in Africa

By Hilda Moraa Morara on July 7, 2014

This article by Hilda Moraa was originally published at AfriHive and is published with permission.

Is it time for coworking spaces to start thinking of incubation services as an add on?

A lot of effort has already been poured in developing coworking spaces across Africa. From the hubs mapping initiative by Bongo Hive, the number of coworking spaces is more than business incubators. ‘Coworking’ was the ‘sexiest’ and hyped subject, known for where ideas meet people. However five years down the line since the birth of most these spaces across Africa, they are running out of ideas on how to continue attracting their community of members (existing and alumni). More tech startups are looking for more structured support, mentorship and seed funding to facilitate acceleration of their [...]

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