How Startups Are Driving The African Technology Renaissance
It is popularly believed that the developing world is on the verge of a Fourth Industrial Revolution and in no place is this truer than on the African continent. Innovations in payment platforms, software development, and peer to peer lending are accelerating economic development and promoting wider use of data technology across the continent. However, Africa still suffers from basic issues—limited access to credit for SMEs, a high cost of doing business, and low GDP per capita. These socioeconomic issues have persisted in recent decades and require creative solutions.
Now more than ever, Africa is in dire need of impactful companies and movements that empower entrepreneurs on the continent to create jobs while pursuing groundbreaking ideas that would address these perennial issues. One organization trying to do this is Foundervine, a start-up community which harnesses the talent of the Africa diaspora by providing a collaborative platform to help entrepreneurs build their ideas and upskill. The groups’ latest initiative, #Startup54, was a three-day workshop, boot camp and hackathon held in London that connected entrepreneurs to business leaders like Charles Sekwalor CEO of Movemeback.com, and Rodney Appiah, Director at Foresight Group, a leading UK private equity and venture capital firm.
Many entrepreneurs in the diaspora have business solutions that can drive social and economic change in Africa but need access to on-the-ground know-how, business relationships and venture capital. One of these is Hello Maisha, a tool that allows pregnant women to receive health advice confidentially, and Best Team Prize-winners at the #Startup54 pitch session.
From Stearns Business.
Many African start-ups fail as a result of faulty business models, inadequate funding, or weak corporate governance, and Foundervine attempts to address this for the African diaspora entrepreneur. For example, the entrepreneur is connected to accelerators and entrepreneurs on the continent through Skype sessions with young business icons like Sydney Scott Sam, Founder of The Workspace in Accra, Ghana to give practical examples of how to scale these real-life hurdles. There’s also a strong focus on upskilling entrepreneurs, with experts in various fields—business modeling and market validation experts from leading professional services firms, data analytics gurus, etc.—drawn in to give entrepreneurs the hard and soft skills required to thrive. This positions them to truly capture the vast amount of opportunities ahead of them and contribute to using innovation as a means to eradicate enduring challenges.
By leveraging social media to expand engagement across the world, the democratization of ideas has enabled young business owners to think bigger and re-evaluate the size of the impact they could potentially have on the continent. Enterprises like Polywave, which incentivizes people to recycle plastic and convert to renewable energy and Tabchain, focused on developing a drug manufacturing hub in Africa, have been able to expand across countries in a short period.
Read more at Stearns Business.