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Africa is finally getting its own StartupBus experience. StartupBus is a voluntarily run program by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. A group of entrepreneurs get on a bus and drive across a specific region, let the ideas flow and hopefully someone will come up with a viable business.
Already a well established event in the United States and Europe, the event usually partners with big tech events to give the entrepreneurs an end point. The first StartupBus for the African continent will begin its tour on the 17 November in Zimbabwe and end its tour on 21 November in Cape Town, South Africa in line with Global Entrepreneurship Week.
According to Startup Africa, 40 participants will get on a bus with the single goal of connecting international entrepreneurs with their African counterparts. Participants include international and African innovators in equal parts. When the bus arrives in Cape Town the pitch will take part in the framework of the Global Entrepreneurship Week event “Get in the Ring”.
“A prominent jury consisting of business and media representatives will judge the presentations and developed prototypes. By creating ties between entrepreneurs, investors, and business representatives, the final day of StartupBus Africa will ideally deliver measurable results, providing business models with the financing required to become reality,” says StartupBus.
The Africa tour wants to make use of the local resources to give the entrepreneurs as much exposure and knowledge as possible.
On their way from Harare to Cape Town, the “Buspreneurs” will visit local Tech- and StartUp-Hubs to exchange experiences with successful entrepreneurs in the area. The “Buspreneurs” will learn about the obstacles one encounters upon founding a Startup in Africa and how to overcome them. Networking with the local ecosystem will happen at several stops: On the bus, business developers, software engineers and designers will organize themselves in working groups suiting their respective business idea. This way practical experiences and the exchange with successful entrepreneurs will translate into tangible business models.
“Tours in the US and Europe have shown that valuable contacts established on the StartupBus are maintained by entrepreneurs in the long run and make for continued knowledge transfer and lasting business ties. Facilitating cooperation and networking of African entrepreneurs especially in the domain of tech media is absolutely vital considering the rapid growth of the market,” says Fabian Guhl, co-founder of StartupBus Africa.
The first StartupBus toured 2009 in the USA. Since then more than a dozen buses a year have visited a variety of cities all over the world. In the aftermath of StartupBus tours participants not only founded successful companies but also find new employers, employees, co-founders and business partners every year.
Interested entrepreneurs can apply at StartupBus Africa until October 15th. The program is financed by sponsoring and crowd funding. Interested supporters can aid the cause on the campaign platform Indiegogo starting at only €5. Sponsors who would like to participate at the final event in Cape Town may purchase an advanced sponsorship package covering travel and lodging expenses for the Buspreneurs.