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  • Architect of Kenya’s Silicon Savannah hits out at delays at Konza Techno City

    Progress on Kenya’s Konza Techno City, dubbed “Silicon Savannah”, has been too slow while insufficient budget has been allocated to complete the initiative, says Bitange Ndemo, the man who conceived Konza eight years ago. While construction started in November on the first building – an eight-storey unit to host techno city operations and house early investors and innovators -- Ndemo, (pictured above) associate professor at the University of Nairobi's Business School, is critical of delays. “It’s not very difficult to do it (set up a techno city) but from my own assessment they have taken too long,” says Ndemo, who is also a former ICT permanent...

  • Nigerian accelerator opens applications for residencies to female entrepreneurs

    Applications are now open for the 2017 She Leads Africa (SLA) accelerator, a three-month programme designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest female entrepreneurs. SLA’s 2017 accelerator will take place in four locations across Nigeria - Abuja, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Kaduna. The 2017 accelerator will consist of week-long residencies in the four locations where entrepreneurs will receive training from the SLA team and business leaders and experts. During the residencies, entrepreneurs will be guided on business strategy, growth, marketing, finance and distribution. They will also receive a host of on and offline training as well as an opportunity...

  • Investors are a driving force in shaping Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

    If we look at the startup landscape in Africa (and read the press) it is clear that fintech is one of the fastest growing sectors on the continent. The African Tech Startups Funding Report, released in January by Disrupt Africa found that in 2016, 29.6% of startup investment in the region went to fintech companies. Read more: Report: African tech startups receive funding boost in 2016 This $55-million sum is a clear indication that there is energy and ambition among entrepreneurs and innovators for fintech -- and significant appetite from investors. However, fintech is only part of the picture. The entrepreneurial base has rapidly grown...

  • ‘Nigeria’s high cost of doing business is holding back acquisition of startups’

    Nigeria's recession should have made the acquisitions of startups more affordable for foreign firms -- but instead the creation companies and building of new products has slowed because of the high cost of operating there, says Nigerian tech expert Emeka Okoye. "Unfortunately most startups are centred in Lagos which is one of the most expensive cities in the world," said Okoye in an interview with Ventureburn. The city is ranked at number 13 out of 209 cities by Mercer in its 2016 Cost of Living rankings. Much of the high cost of doing business is down to expensive internet and firms having to pay for diesel...

  • Tackle infrastructure, skills challenges to boost tech sector, say Nigerian experts

    Nigeria must overcome its infrastructure challenges and shortage of skills if it is to help the country's nascent tech scene to grow, say analysts and entrepreneurs. The country boasts such successful tech companies such as fintech company Interswitch, edtech firm Andela and e-commerce site Jumia, which last year raised $326-million in funding. In addition, investments from overseas programmes such as Y Combinator, Village Capital and 500 Startups continue afoot, despite the country having slipped into a recession last year. Nigeria's burgeoning startup scene and its large market and entrepreneurial population with over 180 million people is what lured Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to Lagos's Yaba startup...

  • What is the future of the African Startup?

    What is the future of the African startup? This question was posed to me a couple of days ago and I have battled with the answer. The easy answer is somewhere between tech and agriculture, that’s what surface me would say. I truly believe in the power of technology to change people’s lives. Also, let’s face it if we fix some of the basic infrastructural issues that plague the African agricultural space, I think we would be aces. This is too easy, tech is broad enough to be a non-answer. Agriculture?!? This is a no brainer. So I started thinking...

  • Eduardo Saverin in $25m funding for insurance and wellness marketplace

    Rosaline Koo made a huge bet with CXA. Not long after she started up the healthcare products marketplace, it acquired Singapore’s third-largest homegrown insurance brokerage, Pan Group. Rosaline injected all her life savings and took out a loan to finance the purchase and build the venture. It’s now paying off. CXA today announced it has become a US$100 million company following a US$25 million series B investment, co-led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group and Singapore-based EDBI. Global life and health reinsurance company RGA, Philips Healthcare, maker of data-driven medical devices and disease management programs, and existing investors NSI...

  • Startup which helps owners find lost pets going global by 2017

    When Ivan Loh's two Labrador retrievers ran away from home two years ago, he "couldn't eat and sleep." While he found his dogs after two weeks, Ivan wanted to prevent a repeat of this "traumatic" episode. He started developing a NFC (Near-field communication) and QR code-enabled pet badge that was launched in March this year. By scanning a QR code shown on the badge, one can obtain the owner's contact details, the pet's allergies and medication needs. Alternatively, the badge shows an alphanumeric code that can be entered on Pet Widget's website. Next steps in expansion With about 1,000 badges sold in Singapore,...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [03/10/2016]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or scratch up on some of your skills? Well, you’ve come to the right place. There are loads of competitions, networking sessions and workshops happening around South Africa and the rest of the continent (namely Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana) that we’ve rounded up to make your life a bit easier. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences around South Africa, and the greater region. If you have any event recommendations for us to add to the list, or...

  • Seedstars World crowns health startup winner in Dar Es Salaam

    Micro health insurance company, Jamii has won the Seedstars World Dar Es Salaam event. The startups will go on to represent Tanzania at in the Seedstars World finals next year. The event, which took place on Saturday at the Buni Hub, saw many startups pitch for their ticket to the finals. Jamii pitched its health insurance scheme for low-income families, which costs US$1 a mont. The event was carried out with support from the Swiss Embassy, TANZICT as well as Buni Hub, VC4Africa and Lionesses of Africa. Jamii offers health insurance for low-income familes for US$1 a month. "Winning a competition alone has never been a guarantee to...