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The IBM Global Entrepreneurial Initiative has been gaining traction in Africa over the last three years.
The goal of the initiative — comprising the IBM Global Entrepreneur Programme and SmartCamps — is to build relationships with quality startups and ultimately help accelerate them to market in a quick, cost effective manner while boasting a sustainable and profitable business model.
2014 is set to be IBM’s biggest so far. The IBM Entrepreneurial week was held online and in over 40 locations around the world and was a success according to the company, including both face-to-face and virtual mentoring sessions, as well as a women entrepreneur-focused event and a LiveStream of the 2013 IBM SmartCamp Finals.
There are still plenty of IBM-related events on the calendar though, and the company encourages all qualifying startups to apply to join the IBM Global Entrepreneur Programme — a prerequisite to participate in any IBM SmartCamp and ultimately be crowned IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.
IBM is looking for entrepreneurs who are trying to change the way we live and work by building a ‘Smarter Planet.’ IBM Global Entrepreneur will provide the support and resources — particularly in the areas of software, expertise and promotion — to help entrepreneurs realise their solutions and build great businesses.
To be eligible you need to be a privately-held, early-stage tech startup less than five years old. Participating startups will get access to a variety of IBM software tools for up to three years, networking events, an IBM-mentor and exposure for their companies.
By registering to join this programme, startups can also be selected to participate in one of the many SmartCamp events running in Africa in 2014.
IBM SmartCamps are exclusive events aimed at identifying early stage entrepreneurs who are devloping business ventures that align with IBM’s strategy. SmartCamps provide startups mentoring and networking opportunities, access to thought leaders, investment firms, serial entrepreneurs, angel investors and VCs and more.
Startups will first participate in Local SmartCamps. From there the best will be selected to participate in regional events. The winners of the regional events will join together at the SmartCamp Global Finals to compete for the title of IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.
In 2014 IBM is partnering with Tech4Africa to host four SmartCamp events in Africa:
- 1st July: IBM SmartCamp — Nairobi
- 15 July: IBM SmartCamp — Lagos
- 28 August: IBM SmartCamp — Cape Town
- 8th & 9th October: IBM SmartCamp — Johannesburg
There are some events happening in MEA too:
- 10 July: IBM Global Entrepreneurial Media Day (invite only) — Johannesburg
- 8th September: IBM SmartCamp — Cairo
- 16th September: IBM SmartCamp — Casablanca
Remember startups will need to apply to join IBM Global Entrepreneur as a prerequisite to participating in an IBM SmartCamp.
For more info on the IBM Global Entrepreneur Programme and SmartCamps read this.