By Kealeboga Mokolobate
Events like Demo Africa shed light on the continents view and progress on entrepreneurship in Africa. Demo Africa is an organisation that endeavours connect African start-ups to the global ecosystem. Demo Africa invites start-ups to compete in order to showcase their innovations at the annual event where top investors would be interested to possible invest in them. Demo Africa had its annual conference in Johannesburg in August earlier this year . African events such as these expose interesting revelations: most important of these is that ideas born in Africa are just as big and impactful as those from other continents.These events attract businesses and investments valued at approximately 14mil USD.
Entrepreneurial thinking is a very important aspect in the African context especially since predications on the African population is that in the coming years, atleast 3 African countries will be top 10 emerging markets of the world. This study, reported by Forbes, asserts that South Africa, Morocco and Ghana are on the rise. The other international markets (have been cognizant of this fact and thus have quite a few multinationals have commenced with entry strategies into Africa. African companies such as MTN, being cognisant of this fact have expanded their footprint into Africa.
However, the need for entrepreneurial thinking in Africa is important because Africans are familiar with their own situations and thus, their own markets. Consequently Africans are able to create innovations that empower their communities. Africans are uniquely placed to innovate and find solutions for their own problems, as they live them everyday.
The products on display were enthralling to behold due to the sheer diversity and paradoxically in the air of unity they portrayed. Delegates came from all quadrants of Africa – as far North as Egypt, as far East as Ethiopia, from the West we had Nigeria and as far South as South Africa. What was noteworthy of the companies showcased by Demo-Africa, was the degree of social innovation on display as well as the highly scaleable nature of many of the enterprises featured. Entrepreneurs demonstrated innovations that not only delivered great and far reaching impact but those that would compete on a global scale.
Uber-like business models in which technology was used to connect customers and service providers also were showcased at the expo. A great example of this was a delivery company that connected cycle delivery, courier and shipment customers to other customers so that they could share the space and the costs. If, for example, a company had space to share on its shipment container, it would input all the information and if another company or customer needed space on a container headed in the same direction; these two companies were linked and would be able to share the costs.
Global Warming and the tracking and reduction of our carbon footprint is a reality in all our lives. One of the innovations in the energy space made use of cutting edge technology to assist lower income households to track and monitor their energy usage and thus make informed decisions on paying for their energy usage.
Strauss Energy is one of the companies that generated much attention for their innovative energy solution. This solution involved selling electricity at 75% cheaper than what the national government in Kenya. It uses innovative solar roofing tiles. Strauss Energy’s innovation has already been installed in 1000 households countrywide.
An application to address daily management of tasks in an ever busy world,piqued interest at the Demo-Africa Expo: this pioneering application allowed for user-friendly integration of email, skype and WhatsApp into a task list and an all in one communication and teamwork platform.
Demo Africa serves as proof that Africans are collaborating and are able to formulate solutions that are able to transform their communities. The top 5 companies at Demo Africa won a trip to Silicon Valley.