11 November 2016


Rwanda to host Seedstars Africa Summit next month

Seedstars World, a global competition targeting start-ups in emerging markets, will host the second edition of the annual Seedstars Africa Summit in Kigali next month, organisers have said. The event connects African entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship ecosystems with the outside world and between each other.

“We have so far hosted preliminary competitions in 20 African countries this year, where we identified the most promising start-ups, as well as analysed the local ecosystems. So, the Seedstars World summit in Kigali will bring together the best and most promising entrepreneurs to network with ecosystem players, mentors, investors, corporates and other entrepreneurs across the continent,” Marcello Schermer, regional manager for Africa at Seedstars World, said in a statement. “After four years of hosting competitions across the world and across the African continent, we are more excited than ever about the potential for African entrepreneurs to build global businesses.”

“We also know that bringing start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem players together will help increase connections across the continent and accelerate the growth of Africa-born global businesses. This is why we are running Seedstars Africa for the second year in a row,” he added. The event is supported by Microsoft, Intel, the Ministry of ICT and Youth, kLab, the Private Sector Federation’s ICT Chamber, Africa 2.0 and Brussels Airlines.

The summit will feature prominent speakers, such as Hitendra Naik, the director for innovation at Intel Africa and the Middle East; Rwanda’s Youth and ICT Minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana; Clement Uwajeneza, the Rwanda Online chief executive; Djiba Diallo, the start-up engagement head at Microsoft 4Afrika, as well as Seedstars ambassadors and start-ups from over 15 African countries, according to the organisers

The event, scheduled for December 7-9 is expected to bring together more than 300 start-up founders, successful entrepreneurs, investors, decision makers and ecosystem leaders from across Africa and around the world to share insights, and explore investment and collaboration opportunities and discuss how African start-ups can scale beyond their home markets and become global businesses.

This year’s programme also gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to be selected for the Seedstars Growth programme, a seed investment that comes together with a four-month acceleration programme for early stage start-ups.

Source: The Exchange 9 November 2016

TEDGlobal Fellowship coming to back to Africa after 10 years, hosted in Tanzania

TEDGlobal is set to return to Africa next year with the highly anticipated annual TEDGlobal conference taking place in Arusha, Tanzania, from August 27 – August 30, 2017.

TEDGlobal is an annual conference that celebrates human ingenuity by exploring ideas, innovation and creativity from all around the world. Ten years on, the conference is coming back to Africa through the TED Fellows program

Twice a year, the TED Fellows program (a program under TEDGlobal) opens applications to find a new class of extraordinary thinkers and doers, encouraging anyone over 18 years old to apply.

The application process for the 2017 TEDGlobal Fellowship program will soon becoming to a close, As they seekout emerging talent committed to making positive change around the world and innovators who show both outstanding achievement and exemplary character. Applications are due to close on November 13, 2016 at 11:59pm UTC (7:59pm ET).

All successful applicants to the Fellowship program will attend the conference and be plugged into a cross-disciplinary network of activists, researchers, entrepreneurs and artists. They will also be given the opportunity to deliver a TED talk, marking an unparalleled opportunity to spread their work as well as inspire, empower and impact others across the globe.

Speaking at the application launch event in Nairobi, the TED Fellow Deputy Director, Shoham Arad commented, “We are truly excited to be returning back to the continent on our 10 year anniversary and just take stock of the history has been made over the past decade. In 2007, we were focused on ‘Planting Seeds’, and the ideas and connections forged then have had a huge impact. This year we will be mapping and imagining new directions, showcasing the brave and the bold, the makers and creators, pioneers and builders, the advocates and activists.”

Speaking on how the TED team selects their Fellows and what it means to join this community, she went on to say, “TED is a non-profit with a mission to be a platform of ideas worth spreading. The TED Fellows program is for the idea makers and story tellers. Through a careful curated process, we review thousands of applications every year and only take 20 people. These 20 Fellows are truly remarkable people doing remarkable things. We’re there to support them and make sure that their work gets the amplification it deserves and that is out into the world as soon as possible.”

She went on to sum up what makes TED so special, “The best thing about being a part of TED, is that you are exposed to truth tellers. There are a lot of ideas that are worth spreading and there are also other ideas worth debunking and TED is a great platform to see that happen. If you are passionate about the future of Africa, and the future of the world, apply to the TED Fellowship program and come be part of something special.”

About the TED Fellows program

The TED Fellows program brings together young innovators from around the world and across disciplines, who display both outstanding achievement and exemplary character, to ignite their careers.The program offers Fellows full participation in the TED or TEDGlobal Conference, a two-day pre-conference of workshops and activities, a biannual Fellows Retreat, ongoing professional coaching and mentoring through the SupporTED program, dedicated PR coaching and active participation in the TED community, including the global TED Fellows network. Founded in 2009, the TED Fellows program now includes 397 Fellows from 87 countries. Anyone interested should visit the TED Fellows program site for more information about the Fellowship and to access the online application: 

Innovation challenge: Johnson & Johnson opens entries

Healthcare brand, Johnson & Johnson has recently opened up entries to their new Africa Innovation Challenge.

The challenge will aim to support and develop the continent’s entrepreneurs as well as continue to develop consumer health solutions. It will also serve as the company’s latest approach to advancing healthcare and global innovation.

“Through the Africa Innovation Challenge, we have the opportunity to support the continent’s top entrepreneurs through mentorship and other resources, and by working together with local talent, to bring forward new solutions to local healthcare challenges,” said MD of Johnson & Johnson, Paul Stoffels in a press release to Ventureburn.

“With its focus on consumer healthcare, the Africa Innovation Challenge will help to surface important issues impacting local communities,” said CTO of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc, Josh Ghaim.

“We look forward to engaging with the continent’s top entrepreneurs and scientists, and through collaboration, helping advance their ideas and bringing meaningful solutions across three very important health care areas,” continued Ghaim.

The areas the challenge wishes to address are: promotion of early child development and mental health, the empowerment of women and improving family well-being.

   Johnson & Johnson’s will announce the Africa Innovation Challenge winner(s) in February 2017

Participants with the most innovative solutions could receive up to US$100 000 in funding. They could also receive mentorship from the company’s scientists, engineers and researchers. The winner(s) would also be eligible for a dedicated space at a lab facility in Africa throughout their product development phase, dependent on the needs of the solution or product.

To be eligible to apply, entrants from all over Africa need to meet the following criteria:

   Your solution needs to address at least one of the three challenges

   The submission needs to be innovative and creative

   The entrant needs to outline a commercialisation plan and how the award would benefit the applicant reach a critical milestone in a single year.

The challenge allows for one or more individual, teams or companies to apply as long as they fall within the challenge’s terms and conditions.

“The Africa Innovation Challenge is an exciting initiative for our entrepreneurial and scientific communities,” said Thomas Maina Kariuki from the African Academy of Sciences.

“The challenge provides the kind of mentorship and resources that can really advance an entrepreneur’s vision, and it showcases the terrific young talent across Africa. AAS is proud to support this initiative and we look forward to collaborating throughout the challenge,” he concluded.

To apply to the challenge and review the applicable terms and conditions, please visit the Africa Innovation Challenge website . The deadline to submit applications is January 17, 2017. Neither Johnson & Johnson nor any of its companies is granted any rights to applicant ideas as a result of their participation in the challenge. Applicants and winners remain free to continue the further development of their ideas on their own.