Entrepreneurship in Africa

Feb 13th, 2015

At Invested Development, we recognize that innovation has the power to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty. The challenges in the developing world have created a unique opportunity for entrepreneurship and innovation. In Africa, entrepreneurs are proving that they can overcome roadblocks to success and create products that help local communities, and make a profit. Below are articles exploring entrepreneurship in Africa. Think Africa is no threat to Silicon Valley? Think Again by Simona Weinglass on Geektime Seedstars World runs a global startup competition focused on emerging markets. Its mission statement is to “discover the best startups beyond Silicon Valley and Western Europe, and support these businesses and their development, wherever they may be”. Allisee de Tonnac, CEO of Seedstars World, and her team have traveled to 36 countries in the past year and listened to 600 pitches in order to choose 36 finalists before the gala event where the winner, Phillipines-based Salarium was chosen. Our friends at OkHi took home the Public Vote award. We appreciate that each of the 36 finalists address unique pain points of their markets and create products that offer solutions, despite the many challenges in their local markets. These entrepreneurs are challenging economic theory that stipulates a country needs certain basic rules and infrastructure before it can grow a successful business class. According to de Tonnac, certain trends are creating new business opportunities that are “leapfrogging” emerging markets into the 21st century. Africa’s entrepreneurs and SMEs will catalyze economic growth in 2015 by Geoff Cook on African Business Review Africa has been one of the world’s fastest growing regions for the last decade, and the continent is far from reaching its full potential. In the next 25 years, Africa will have the largest working age population of any continent, making up a significant portion of the world’s labor force. With this growing working age population, Africa will have to rely on small businesses to provide a large percentage of employment going forward, creating an opportunity for entrepreneurs. Today, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) account for more than 95% of all firms in Sub-Saharan Africa and in many countries contribute more than 50% of GDP and employment. Sub-Saharan Africa is also the region with the highest rate of people involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity among ‘factor-driven’ economies. The entrepreneurial landscape is generally positive, but there is still much that needs to be done to support SMEs for greater future economic growth. How to get/give access to Africa’s startup ecosystem by Michelle Atagana on VC4Africa How do you infiltrate the startup ecosystem in Africa? The answer, according to Atagana, managing editor at VC4Africa, is that it’s “pretty hard”. The African entrepreneurial space is generally unstructured and VCs and Angels only invest in companies that they are introduced to by trusted parties. This can make getting funding extremely difficult, no matter how brilliant to product or service may be At ID, we support entrepreneurship training programs and makerspaces that can hone the skills of Africa’s youth and create the networks that allow industry veterans to give back to budding innovators. The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in 2015 in Africa on Fast Company Fast Company has selected their list of 10 Most Innovative Companies in 2015 in Africa. The list includes companies focused on education technology, e-commerce, entertainment, alternative energy, finance, agriculture and more. We are pleased to see a vibrant and competitive economy and that African entrepreneurship is making its way into mainstream media. New Here?