Developing Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs

EXECUTIVE EDUCATION: IMF forecasts predict that seven of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies for the period 2011-2015 will be African. There are two dynamics behind this exceptional growth. First the worldwide boom in commodities, and secondly the value created by a vibrant new generation of African entrepreneurs. Developing the capabilities of these entrepreneurs will be critical to sustaining this growth into the future.

Africa’s economies are driven by SMEs, rather than large domestic corporations, multinationals or government agencies, and it is in this SME sector that young men and women are building high-growth companies and innovating new products and commercial models appropriate to African markets. Empowering this and future generations of entrepreneurs will be a key factor in creating jobs, improving living standards and developing sustainable economies across the continent.

Two things are necessary to support these go-ahead young entrepreneurs – access to financial backing and high-quality management/leadership development.

While traditional banks fund established companies, and microfinance serves underdeveloped markets, high-growth entrepreneurs have had to be extremely resourceful, often relying on family and informal contacts for start-up funding. This has had its advantages but a more formal funding environment is now emerging – witness the second DEMO Africa event taking in place in Nairobi, later this month, which will showcase the most innovative technology products from companies across Africa to a global audience of investors and business angels – from the African Development Bank to VC4Africa.

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Internet Availability as a crucial component to Rural-africa

The internet is a hub where industry, technology, education, business, art and entertainment converge. It’s used as everything from a digital library to a means of communicating with friends and loved ones. It is the dominant media of our time, and integrates elements of traditional broadcast media, like television and radio, with millions of daily users downloading podcasts and streaming videos on sites like Youtube. Most traditional print media outlets, looking to cut production costs and potentially reach a larger global audience, have also embraced digital, web-based extensions of their publications



Trends are changing and more solutions seem to come forte with the result of deep mobile understanding and usage. in its quest to creating a bright future for mobile start-ups in the region PIVOT EAST 2013 saw a good number of finalists make great problem solving.

The Finalists of Pivot East 2013 listed by category are as follows:


Mobile Finance Category

GO Finance Company Ltd: GO, leverages business value chains & technology to provide MSMEs at the base of the pyramid.- Tanzania

Inforex Africa: Inforex,platform enabling communication and forex trading between Forex Bureaus and offers current Forex information to the public.-Uganda

M-Duka Ltd: M-Duka, an online virtual products platform that allows users to purchase or retail virtual products using their mobile phones.- Uganda

DEPHICS Ltd: TiME, a mobile application aimed at enhancing purchasing and payment of tickets from any location and at any time.-Tanzania

intelworld Ltd: A solution that integrates into major payments providers to enables businesses to transact online , using feature phones (USSD and SMS) and offline using POS.


Mobile Enterprise Category SleepOut, SMS-driven booking process connects both commercial and peer-to-peer hosts with guests and agents.-Kenya

SchoolMaster Solutions: An information portal for parents and school administrators, available as a web application as well as a mobile app for Android devices.- Uganda

echorest Technologies Ltd: echorest, an android application that is a real-time,proximate-based buyer-powered market place that tries to connect buyers and seller through sms and email. – Kenya

Mank and Tank : Virtual Classrooms on mobile devices that allow users to access educational material,create digital content,present & share info. – Kenya

Binary Logic: Meka,a mobile and web product and price reference platform that gives you information about anything you would like to buy, capability to order online, as well as GPS direction to the store. Uganda


Mobile Society Category

Kytabu: Kytabu, is a micro-leasing textbook subscription application that enables students to get just the material they need to learn, when they need it, wherever they are and pay for just that piece of content while they have it. – Kenya

iDaktari Ltd: iDaktari,a multi-platform healthcare system tailored for doctors with private practices that simplifies information management and security. -Kenya

Skoobox: Skoobox, an academic-networking platform for students that provides them with a platform to share and make the learning process more connected and open.- Kenya

Ecademy Africa: eShule, a mobile app that will offer career and college counseling, and alternative eLearning via online courses and exams for high school students.- Kenya

Code Vision Ltd: BrainShare, a mobile and web application that enables students to easily access academic content such as past papers and simplified notes. – Uganda



Mobile Entertainment Category

Jooist: Jooist, a social gaming network for mobile phones. It enables users to discover, download and play free games, compare scores & achievements with friends. – Kenya

Kola Studios: Matatu, is a two-player card game based on the popular Ugandan game played with a pack of cards.The game can be played on Mobile (Android) and on Facebook. – Uganda

TiVi: TiVi,delivers program guides, gossip, reviews & spoilers direct to your phone. – Kenya

254Events: 254Events, a mobile and web platform that gives information regarding events and purchasing of the event’s tickets.- Kenya

Tokelezea: Tokelezea, a mobile application that provides a dynamic guide to your neighborhood fun list, it enables you to find out what your friends are up to and also brings relevant reviews and related news. – Kenya



Mobile Utilities Category

Ma3Route: Ma3Route, crowd-sources for traffic and transport information from locals in order to provide users with up-to-date information that can inform their movements. – Kenya

SmartShop: Smart_Shop, allows supermarkets to be able to offer shopping via the mobile phone by offering a platform where customers can view real prices from and enhance their shopping experience. – Kenya

TrueDine: TrueDine, restaurant recommendation and reservation app that helps you discover restaurants, explore menus and make instant table reservations. – Uganda

The Diet Assistant Ltd: The DietAssistant, a mobile diet solution that recommends healthy and affordable meals composed of locally available and accessible foods. – Uganda

Habari App: Habari app, lets you read the news that matters to you when it’s convenient. – Kenya

Paul Kukubo outlines priorities for Kenya’s tech scene

Paul Kukubo, the chief executive of the Kenya ICT Board, revealed what he believes are the priorities for Kenya”s technology sector at today’s IBM Innovation Centre launch, as he prepares to leave his position in a month.

 Open government data was Kukubo’s first priority. He said there is too much information hidden by the government which needs to be open for the public.

The census was an example that Kukubo gave to show what citizens need and do not get.

He followed that by saying government needed to improve its spending on ICT.

He said: “Spending on ICT in Kenya between 2011 -2014 is KSh14 billion (US$166.7m ) which is too little.”

One piece of advice he gave was for governors not to look for tenders, but rather for partnerships to end questionable expenditures.

“Government does not have the capacity to do things we want to do,” Kukubo said. “Though if the government allow ICT to drive on values and pay attention to partnerships a lot will be achieved.”

Kukubo said as the government partner with companies such as IBM, ICT growth will be inevitable.

Regarding university education, the ICT expert said students should be taught how to solve problems so they are eager to do so as soon as they graduate.

Mr Kukubo commended Kenyans in most counties for electing capable governors, especially in Nairobi.

He said the governors are paying attention to the right things and so Kenya will be growing rapidly in the next five years.

Kukubo last piece of advice was for the adoption of “creative thinking” around cloud services and commended IBM for being a “wonderful partner”.

“This sector is Big but it can be made bigger with creative thinking,” he concluded.

Coutesy of

ITU Young Innovators’ competition calls for innovative ICT solutions to global challenges

Winning entries offered up to USD 10,000 in funding and showcase at ITU Telecom World 2013

Geneva, 5 April 2013– ITU has launched the third edition of its annual Young Innovators’ Competition offering talented social technopreneurs the opportunity to present their ideas to industry leaders at ITU Telecom World 2013 in Bangkok this November – as well as winning funding, mentorship and ongoing support.
Open to 18-26 year-olds worldwide, the Young Innovators’ Competition is looking for concrete solutions using cutting-edge technology to one of six Global Challenges developed in partnership with specialized UN agencies and leading private sector players:

Improve employment opportunities for young people and migrant workers
Reduce food and water wastage at individual and retail level
Facilitate access to public services for the elderly
Improve natural disaster prediction and response
Improve road safety for both drivers and pedestrians
Protect sensitive personal data and inspire the creation of local digital content

The Challenges reflect the most urgent spheres of life where ICTs could have a significant and wide-ranging impact. The competition seeks pragmatic, market-oriented, scalable solutions making use of connected technologies, such as augmented reality, mobile apps, 3D printing or geospatial tracking.
Submissions may be either in the form of a concept, well-researched or documented ideas which have not yet been implemented, or a start-up, which is already up and running but in need of funding to take it to the next stage.

Applications can be made by simply completing the application form available at and sending it with “2013 Young Innovators’ Competition” in the subject line.

The deadline for initial submissions is 30 June 2013, 24:00 GMT +2.
For further details and the application procedure, please see You can also visit the Young Innovators Facebook page or contact us directly at
For more information, please see or contact:

2013, April 25

Every year on the fourth Thursday in April, ITU and the global technology community celebrate ‘Girls in ICT Day’, an awareness-raising initiative designed to celebrate women’s contribution to the technology industry and promote tech careers to a new generation of girls with an interest in science and maths. Since its inception in 2010, the day has been gaining massive global momentum around the world, with over 1,300 events organized in 90 countries in 2012, and even more set to take place in 100+ countries spanning 13 time zones during the course of the day today. AKIRAGearing up for Girls in ICT Day, 27th April, 2013

AKIRACHIX Gearing up for Girls in ICT Day, 27th April, 2013


It is now two days to the much awaited Girls in ICT Day which is to be held this Saturday, 27th April 2013. On this day, we celebrate women in technology, by continuing to grow and mentor the next generation of women in technology. It will be a day to inspire and get inspired.

for more: Visit AkiraChix Blog

African entrepreneurship report – Omidyar Network releases


The study quotes research by the International Finance Corporation that estimates that up to 84% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa are either un-served or underserved, representing a value gap in credit financing of US$140- to 170-billion.
So there’s not enough capital right? While, 71% of the entrepreneurs surveyed agreed, the report says something rather interesting: financiers argue that many of the new ventures are simply not fundable. Financiers note a lack of fundable business plans, pointing to issues ranging from the quality and feasibility of the business idea to the commitment of the entrepreneur and his or her team.

Of the six countries surveyed, Kenya seems to fare the best in terms of capital supply — only 52% of Kenyans sees this as a challenge.
The main sources of financing are personal and family loans (45%), private equity (19%), bank debt (18%), government funding (5%), venture capital (5%), angel seed (4%) and other (4%). “Other” funding sources include corporate funding, lease / receivables financing or stock options. Some entrepreneurs in South Africa claim that their businesses are funded using multiple credit cards because most banks are reluctant to provide a loan to businesses but are willing to increase limits on the entrepreneurs’ credit cards — expensive, but easy.
The majority of respondents are in agreement that the cost of funding is too expensive — the report found that in some cases, banks require 150% of the borrowed amount in collateral. An alternative, government lending, could be more attractive was it not for bureaucracy and nepotism reported by some respondents.

The report concludes that venture capital in Africa is still an emergent phenomenon and the majority of survey respondents (67%) agree. Entrepreneurs are forced to pursue bank loans which simply are not tailored for startups. Banks see startup investments as high risk, low reward and like to quote statistics that show 9 out of ten startups fail within the first five years of operation.
Illustrating a profitable business model is critical to boosting VC activity in Africa says the report. Entrepreneurs need to focus on being rigorous business planners and demonstrating their understanding of a particular sector to investors. Entrepreneurs must “know something about everything, and everything about something,” says the founder of First Rand Group in South Africa, Paul Harris.
The report warns however, that finance is not the determining cause of a venture’s success or failure. “Rather, the entrepreneur’s ability to adapt to market changes and cope with uncertainty, as well as their level of tenacity, are greater determinants of a business’ success.” Entrepreneurs also forget about market access. Without multiple product channels, revenues and profits likely stall, and this lack of growth makes funders reticent to invest.

When looking for funding it’s important to get matched with the correct funding provider and to be proactive. A mismatch might occur where a financier is looking for historical data when the venture is fledgling. Entrepreneurs must identify the availability of capital sources and the suitability of capital given their company’s stage of growth. They must also be able to assess their funding requirements and identify those funders that are most likely to fund them. The report advises that misperceptions and misunderstandings can be mitigated by enhanced communication.
The report identifies a lack of viable exit opportunities, which leads to a disincentive for funders to make investments — funders can’t recoup their investments.

48% of Ghanaian respondents report that it is uncommon for business owners to use buyouts to sell their firms. Respondents in Ethiopia (42%), Tanzania (41%), Nigeria (38%) and Kenya (37%) share the same concern. The regulations for exiting businesses are also considered rigid, and there is little awareness about the fact that large multinational corporations or private equity funds can sometimes be compelling buy-out options.
The report raises a fascinating point about how the size and power of an entrepreneur’s network shapes innovation. A larger, more powerful network, with a larger funding pool will allow for bigger ideas and lessen the chances of a startup stagnating.
The research calls for the formalising of seed and angel investing networks. It singles out successful examples, such as the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

To mitigate some of the challenges, the study proposes solutions for startups in different growth stages.

Early-stage enterprise financing in Africa
 Reduce bureaucracy for early-stage companies to access government funding in order to provide ‘softer’ sources of financing for less-experienced entrepreneurs.
 Expand or initiate local angel investing ecosystems to ensure the availability of the most appropriate type of funding for start-ups, especially for entrepreneurs who lack the network of friends and family that traditionally play this role.
 Provide tax and other incentives to formal, as well as informal (e.g., family and friends), angel investors to make it easier for people who have extra cash to invest in startup businesses and reduce their risk.
 Provide tax and other incentives for large clients of early-stage ventures to provide supplier credit to incentivise and reduce the risks suppliers take when providing generous payment terms and/or stock to new ventures.

Mid-sized enterprise financing in Africa
 Leverage indirect personal sources of funding, such as pension funds to fund SMEs, so that more resources are available to fund more-established enterprises where the risks are lower.
 Expand or initiate local venture capital investing ecosystems to ensure that the most appropriate source of funding is available for companies at the mid-level stage of development.
 Use local banking systems to disburse donor or government lines of credit to SMEs to reduce prohibitive interest rates and collateral requirements.
 Provide incentives and support to mid-sized SMEs to practise sound financial management and maintain adequate records, including audited statements.

Later-stage enterprise financing in Africa
 Create capital-raising engagement programmes with leaders of well-established private African enterprises to inform entrepreneurs about the benefits of private equity funding, as well as the benefits of listing at local stock exchanges.
 Create continent-wide ‘regional champions’ programmes to facilitate access to capital (both debt and equity) for independently vetted pan-African companies that are expanding across the continent.
 Educate entrepreneurs about possible sources of funding outside banking systems.
 Train and assist early-stage entrepreneurs in the intricacies of capital-raising.
 Train the local financial community to evaluate investment opportunities on the basis of future prospects rather than historical cash flows.


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