Where African entrepreneurs go for support
When the Anzisha Prize interviewed young entrepreneurs across the continent about the level of support they feel is available to them in their country, responses ranged from “fair” to “poor” and even “very poor”, indicating that many young entrepreneurs feel there isn’t enough support to help them succeed in business.
Young people on the continent are, however, turning to alternative sources for support to fill this gap. The same survey shows that 64% of young entrepreneurs report that they receive support and advice from a variety of sources, such as networking events, mentors (62%), training programmes (54%) and online resources (52%)
This number is not surprising, says Tefo Mohapi who describes himself as a technologist, blogger and entrepreneur. Mohapi is also the co-founder of iAfrikan, a digital technology content company.
“There are likely very few outlets for young people to meet and interact with more experienced business people. Thus, networking events present a great opportunity for them to learn and make connections.
“The structures are there in the form of government initiatives, hubs, incubators and accelerators but then you can ask if we have enough of them and if they are equipped well enough to assist entrepreneurs,” he says.
Johannesburg-based Mohapi has always been passionate about bringing techies together. South African and Nigerian startup founders may be familiar with the iAfrikan brand from their series of tech-focused workshops and conferences, and he, together with co-founder Peter Peele, was part of the team responsible for bringing the Lean Startup workshop series to Johannesburg in 2014.
Where to go in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Lagos
Mohapi gives us his picks of his top 5 organisations for networking events and meet ups.
This combination of early-stage venture capital firm, accelerator, incubator and startup community is based in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
They run a monthly series of events called #WhatsNext which bring together a panel of various stakeholders including government, startups and corporates to explore developments in different sectors. Previous events have focused on financial technology, agritech and fashion.
AlphaCode Club (Johannesburg)
AlphaCode is a Johannesburg-based fintech hub. They play host to Start-up Thursday, a monthly series of entrepreneurship themed events in partnership with Simodisa, an entrepreneurship industry body and Payfast, a payments processing service.
Their most recent event was a master class for scaling up a business in the SA’s fintech industry with Brad Magrath, co-founder of Zoona, a South Africa-based money transfer company.
iHub is an Innovation hub and hacker space for the technology community in Nairobi. This co-working space is a meeting ground for technologists, investors, young entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and programmers. iHub hosts various entrepreneurship forums featuring thought leaders to help foster relationships among ecosystem players in the city as well as programmes to help grow startups.
About: CCHUB describe themselves as “Nigeria’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space designed to be a multi-functional, multi-purpose space.” According to their website they work to support social tech ventures.
The hub runs a number of programmes such as their Tech-In Series, which brings together software developers and designers together with subject matter experts and other interested stakeholders to co-create novel web and mobile based solutions.
About: JoziHub is a co-creation and collaboration space in Johannesburg providing a space for tech entrepreneurs to share ideas and collaborate. They also run an incubator programme to support sustainable technology and social businesses.
Jozihub have an ongoing calendar of workshops, hackathons, talks and meetups relevant to technology entrepreneurs and young businesses.