When Collaborating is a Bad Move

by: Samuel Suraphel on

We've all had them..bad collaborations.  Ouch..

In advance of the upcoming workshop on "How To be a Better Collaborator" with Joy Spencer, we held a free online webinar on "When Collaborating is a Bad Move."  Please find, below, the complete session.

 

Make sure to join us on June 11, 2016, for the full session.

 

Thursday Roundup

by: Angel Nonye-John on

Photo: Genii Games, 2015 

From games culturally inspired games to solutions for talent acquisition, the news from the tech scene is thinking local.

Blooming Gaming Industry: Locally produced and focused gaming companies are cropping up all over the continent. With industries such as Nigeria’s expected to grow 20 % annually, game developers are optimistic about the industry outlook. - Via SmartMonkey TV

Hubs Must Act Like Startups: AfriLabs director, Tayo Akinyemi addressed the value and  business models of existing hubs. While many are serving the local communities needs, the activities and services on their roster don’t lead to long term sustainability. - Via Disrupt Africa

Finding Great Talent: Don’t find and keep great talent by making them sign their lives away. Instead, be well rounded, supplement pay with passion, and always pay on time. - Via Harvard Business Review

Open Access & Ebola: Many of us are familiar with the current uses of open access software during the Ebola crisis. But it doesn’t end there. Doctors have benefited from open access scientific journals that would otherwise be costly or difficult to access. - Via Tech Dirt

Tech in the Wild: iHub ventured out to Tsavo, Kenya to assist rangers in anti-poaching efforts.  A team’s experience developing mobile app to combat poaching - Via iHub

Stories We Like

Three South African artists create blog portraying SA in their eyes - Via Destiny Man

Infographic shows where Africa’s mobile money fits globally -Via Memeburn

Let us know articles you would like to see in the next newsletter on our Facebook or Twitter.

 

Upcoming Events - Meetup and Women Mean Business

by: Samuel Suraphel on

Happy to share a few initiatives that seek to further connect and empower African entrepreneurs as well as celebrate, in particular, women entrepreneurs and leaders.

DMV African Entrepreneurs
The DMV African Entrepreneurs meetup was launched for those interested in starting a business in the Africa region, have family or friends looking to do so, or are African entrepreneurs in the D.C., Maryland, or Virginia(DMV) area.

Whether you are at pre-idea stage, to those further down the road of engaging with the new venture creation process, you’re welcomed!  The meetup is also open to social entrepreneurs/non-profits.  Come to discuss and share tips, advise and network with others interested in contributing to the economic growth of the African continent in sectors ranging from technology, media, agriculture and more.

Our first event will cover the recently published e-book "101 Ways To Make Money In Africa”.  We’re happy to leverage this session to help attendees think through a range of ideas brought together by the authors, Harnet Bokrezion PhD and John-Paul Iwuoha.



Women Mean Business
Starting March 7, 2015, we are delighted to join with Rhoyalty Concepts, SBTS Group and other sponsors for Women Mean Business, a series of online events connected with International Women’s Day.  

Interested in joining online? Please visit the following link to register online.   The calendar of events include:

March 7th (10AM – 12PM) – Taking Your Business From Thought To Action
March 9th (8PM – 9PM) – How To Fund Your Entrepreneurial Venture
March 14th (10AM – 12PM) – Balancing Your Business & Your Life

All times are Eastern Standard Time(EST) or UTC -0500.

Seasons Greetings and 2014 Insights

by: Samuel Suraphel on

Photo by: Thomas Quine on Flickr Happy holidays and festive season to all! 

As this year comes to a close, here are a few of our insights from 2014, related to African tech entrepreneurship:

1.    Startups are popping up everywhere: Despite financial, technical and other challenges faced by startups in emerging markets, this has not deterred entrepreneurs from pushing forward and launching innovative companies.

The number of new ventures that are launching is amazing.  If you follow any of the tech blogs, such as TechMoran, your inbox is probably full of posts detailing a new company/product/service.  Though this is great news, the challenge persists in plugging these ventures into project and investment flows, as well as access to skills support.  A few of our engagements have zoomed in on key areas such as pitching, to better our clients’ ability to sell their product/service stories succinctly to audiences ranging from investors to customers.   We’ve additionally been able to connect clients to guidance around UX design and EdTech strategy.

With over 100 incubators/co-working spaces now on the African continent, international organizations like tipHub, She Leads Africa, Mara Foundation, VC4Africa, and ourselves, the ecosystems for support are emerging and undergoing their own growth and learning phase.  We look forward to playing our part in continuing to strengthen and increase the growth of successful companies.

2.    The DC African Diaspora Tech Ecosystem is buzzing:
This year saw many events that connected the dots in the emerging tech ecosystem in the Washington, D.C., region for African Diaspora entrepreneurs.  A few included: DC Tech Afrique, AfricanDevJobs, #DCHackEbola, Technoir 1 & 2, the Coders4Africa conference, the Ron H. Brown African Affairs Series, and Diaspora Demo Day.   

At tipHub's Diaspora Demo Day alone, there were over 20 Africa related startups, with folks flying in from the continent and throughout the US.   The year saw tons more networking happy hours and side-events, too many to count.  Outside the region, special note goes to the Design Africa conference held in April at The New School(New York City), which was one of the best applied and multidisciplinary conferences to take place, that merged technology, policy, design and other fields.  

3.    Business to Business, the elephant in the room:  Many of the financially successful African tech businesses are not written about on the popular press nor have the shiny “startup” swag afforded newer firms.  Nevertheless, business-to-business(B2B) tech companies providing solutions to financial institutions, manufacturing companies and beyond are big winners in the African technology scene, next to the MNO’s.    We recently wrote a blog post for Grofin on the upcoming impact of cloud and mobile technology, and expect this area to heat up even further in 2015.

4.    Ebola, Emergency management, and Tech Response to Crisis:   Last but not least, the current Ebola crisis in West Africa has brought public health and crisis management back to the forefront of our attention.  Though most of the global press coverage has simmered on reporting about Ebola, the crisis persists in the region and is growing in Sierra Leone.  

Through sites such as EbolaDeeply and social media, one is able to gain a broader view of the situation.  On our end, participating in the Africa Emergency Technology Response Forum(AETRF) has highlighted the efforts of technology organizations from the region in building the necessary ICT tools needed to handle emergency awareness and response.

With the launch of #AfricaAgainstEbola by the African Union and a host of telecoms, early 2015 should further highlight how collaborative tech partnerships can be used to help support emergency efforts such as the current situation in West Africa.  

Given the enormity of the challenge, we hope to see even more innovative services and inclusive partnerships develop to help in everything from awareness raising to education and logistics, particularly with a focus on aiding local entrepreneurs as they manage current needs and prepare for post-Ebola recovery.

So, thanks to the clients, staff, partners, interns and tech community that made 2014 possible!

For further insights, feel free to contact us and we’ll get back in touch.  For startups, SMEs and social enterprises or those interested in working with them through our virtual advisory service, feel free to submit your information at the following link.  

Look out for more services, activities and news from us in 2015.  

PS: Check out Mansa Colabs in the media at Impact Africa and on the Helen Show(Part 1 and Part 2)

 

 

We're Looking for Talented Interns!

by: Samuel Suraphel on

One of our exciting initiatives to launch in the coming month is the Digital Business Challenge.  The Digital Business Challenge identifies leading Kenyan and Tanzanian IT and Creative sector startups and SMEs through an awards challenge. Prizes include access to leading global advisors in tech, creative, and startup business, virtual presence in co-working spaces in the US, and over USD 1,000 worth of services and products. 

The Business Challenge will focus on three areas as outlined below:

-Best B2B Tech Idea - (Software/apps that improve businesses and value chains) -
-Best Creative Tech Idea - (Animation, CAD renderings, Mobile games, Online videos)
-Best Education Tech Idea - (Educations software, apps, content)

We are looking for creative, tech-savvy students and young professionals who are eager to connect with and help promote the growth of Africa based or Diaspora entrepreneurship in the categories listed above.

SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN

TASKS
Social media skills to support creating content and posting it regularly to social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Identify key social media influencers and raise awareness among them about the challenge.
Produce relevant hashtags and other messaging material that will be disseminated online.
Link to relevant stories and events that can connect with over MC Digital Business Challenge.
Respond to social media questions/requests.

QUALIFICATIONS
Able to produce simple graphic designs, layouts
Superior writing/editing ability
Able to prioritize tasks and manage time
Excellent verbal communication skills in English
Program knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite or other design programs is appreciated but not required
Demonstrated interested in either Entrepreneurship, Technology or the Creative Sector
Demonstrated passion and interest on Africa development issues
Knowledge of Swahili or French preferred but not required
Other duties as assigned 

LOGISTICS INTERN

TASKS
Support review of applications
Respond to applicants questions
Identify and follow up with potential sponsors
Schedule and support Video Conference Interviews
Support with the other logistics of the Challenge
Coordinate with primary lead on competition to complete other tasks as assigned

QUALIFICATIONS
Superior writing/editing ability
Able to prioritize tasks and manage time ­
Excellent verbal communication skills in English
Demonstrated interested in Entrepreneurship, Technology or the Creative Sector
Demonstrated passion and interest on Africa development issues
Knowledge of MS Office
Program knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite or other design programs preferred
Knowledge of Swahili or French preferred but not required
Other duties as assigned

ADVISORY SERVICES (Professional)

TASKS

Support review process for Digital Challenge by responding to technical questions regarding:

-Business value chains and other B2B services, operations, marketing, etc.

-Creative sector digital initiatives

-Education ventures that utilize digital applications and services

Access potential sponsor or partners

Involvement in strategy for Digital Challenge

QUALIFICATIONS
- Experience with Business Strategy (digital solutions), Digital Creative Arts, Digital Education and knowledge of African context

- 3-5 years minimum of experience in subject field  

We value the skills that professionals bring to the table in promoting African innovation. This is a fun opportunity to connect as well as have an impact with/on African entrepreneurs. We look forward to connecting with you!

For interested candidates, please send a brief email and your CV to digitalbusinesschallenge (at) mansacolabs.com

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