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This week's feature

Meet some of Africa's star entrepreneurs

What are the keys to success in business today? With Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015 taking place this week, we looked to Africa for inspiration on the subject. First stop: AfricaCom, which shines a spotlight on the best and brightest of the continent’s tech sector every November. But Africa’s success stories in business and innovation aren’t limited to high-tech! So, our goal this week is to focus on entrepreneurial success stories in Africa.

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The continent’s rich and inspiring range of initiatives is transforming sectors like digital technologies, transportation, and cinema. On today’s slate: business tips from Africa’s young talents, a whirlwind tour of the snazziest start-ups, a close-up look at the man dubbed “the Congolese Steve Jobs,” a sparkling project in Egypt… Perhaps you’ll be inspired to take the plunge and launch that project you’ve always dreamed of.

When you dream, dream big and shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Emelda Mwamanga, Tanzanian entrepreneur who launched her country’s first lifestyle magazine, Bang!

Top 5 most promising African start-ups

Gimme 5 - November 18, 2015

1. Sendy: Based in Kenya, Sendy offers motorcycle courier service along the same lines as Uber. A cell phone app allows you to track the delivery of your package in real time.

2. Kadi Energy: To help people in Ghana’s rural areas adapt to technological change, the start-up Kadi Energy has just developed a cell phone charger that runs on solar energy. No more hunting around for an electric socket – a little sunshine is all you need.

3. Gamsole: The city of Lagos is famous for its mammoth traffic jams. The Nigerian company Gamsole has produced a video game for cell phones called…Traffic Jam. It’s become an instant hit, with more than 9 million downloads, making Gamsole one of the country’s most promising enterprises.

4. PrepClass: After winning the TechCabal Battlefield 2014, PrepClass continues its meteoric ascent thanks to an on-line tutorial service that helps students with schoolwork. With demand far outstripping supply, PrepClass has become one of Nigeria’s success stories.

5. Mellowcabs: Cropping up all over South Africa, Mellowcabs are bicycle taxis that run on electric motors. Mellowcab operators can sell advertising space if they like, displaying ads on their vehicles. Simple and clever.

taxi-africa-future-mellowcabs-southafrica-innovation-development

The taxi of the future developed in South Africa © ventureburn.com

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Will Senegal be the next digital hub?

Stories - November 18, 2015

First, the association Ker Thiossane has been running a digital work space in the capital of Senegal for over ten years, and it has also set up a FabLab called Defko Ak Yen (“do it yourself”). This place brings together entrepreneurs, computer scientists and designers who aim to design digital projects.

The second initiative worth mentioning is Jambar Tech Lab. This startup accelerator supports African entrepreneurs who are looking to develop innovative digital products with a potential to be exported around the world. As part of this initiative, 40 digital entrepreneurs with a prototype of their project are to be put in relation with investors and mentors. They will also be invited to attend digital workshops.

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Vérone Mankou, the Congolese Steve Jobs

Who's who - November 18, 2015

California has long been the epicenter of new technologies, and while most digital moguls have migrated to the Silicon Valley, Congolese tech star Vérone Mankou chose Brazzaville to open a new plant for his brand VMK in July, manufacturing his complete product line (cell phones, tablets) in the Congo. One thing is for sure: Vérone Mankou doesn’t lack international credentials. Only 28 years old, he is already the father of Africa’s first tablet, the first African smartphone, and the Elikia Moké, a tricked-out cell phone designed specifically for African usage. Dubbed “the African Steve Jobs,” Vérone Mankou has become a symbol of African success for a lot of young people who believe the continent’s future lies in new technologies. And thanks to Mankou, they won’t need to emigrate and settle in California to see their dreams come true!

verone-mankou-steve-jobs-african-congo-africa-businessman

Vérone Mankou, just as casual as Steve Jobs © lavie.fr

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4 winners for the Orange African Social Venture Prize 2015

Stories - November 19, 2015

Every year, the Prize gives the spotlight to projects aiming to accelerate development. The 1st prize for 2015 was awarded to Bassita, an Egyptian startup behind the concept of click-funding. Take a look at our interview with its co-founder to find out how it works.

The second prize was given to upOwa, a startup from Cameroon that develops a solution to provide electricity to rural areas in West Africa and Central Africa. The Malian company for agricultural development myAgro / N’Ga Sene won the 3rd prize. Finally, the Internet voters’ prize went to the Moroccan e-learning platform Kezakoo. Social entrepreneurship definitely has a bright future!

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Which African countries receive the most investment?

The infographic - November 18, 2015

1. South Africa & Kenya tied for first: $250,000 – 2. Uganda: $152,00 – 3. Tanzania: $ 66,000 – 4. Ghana: *65,000

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How to mount a successful business in Africa (and elsewhere)

How to - November 18, 2015

– Be fearless and take the plunge: It’s really important for African entrepreneurs to stay focused on their goals and that they take the first step. After that, everything will fall into place,” explains Nteff Alain, a young entrepreneur from Cameroon who came up with the app GiftedMom, which helps women with the challenges of pregnancy.

– Keep friendship and work separate: When they created Repurpose Schoolbags, an outfit that recycles plastic bags to make school bags with solar-powered lights, two childhood friends, Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane, had to learn to keep friendship and business separate to succeed.

– Hire the right people:Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg may not necessarily be crack businessmen (…) but they know how to pick collaborators who have the right skills to turn their innovations into blue-chip companies.Sam Kodo, founder of Infinite Loop, maker of low-cost computers in Togo, followed their example.

– Ignore the critics: Developing a product can be long and painstaking work, and it’s important not to get discouraged in the process. Young Ghanaian entrepreneur Winifred Selby, who came up with the concept of  the bamboo bicycle points out: “I had a lot of friends who laughed at me when they heard my idea of making bamboo bikes. There will always be nay-sayers trying to discourage you, but I am convinced that in life, you have to stay focused.

africa-innovation-business-bags-repurpose-schoolbags

Their bags are innovative and made from recycling © thebetterawards.com

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And the female entrepreneurs of the year in Africa are…

Stories - November 20, 2015

Kasope Ladipo-Ajai, founder of the food production start-up Omo Alata Foods, won the first prize of the She Leads Africa Entrepreneur Showcase 2015 in Lagos. This annual event promotes the talent of female entrepreneurs in Africa. Ladipo-Ajai was one of 6 finalists, and nearly 400 applications were received for the competition.

The other five finalists are Imoteda Aladekomo (Heels in the Kitchen), Louisa Kinoshi (Beauty Rev NG), Kambili Ngozi Ofili (Kamokini), Ngozi Opara (Heat Free Hair Movement) and Brenda Katswesigye (InstaHealth). “She Leads Africa” also highlights talented female entrepreneurs in Africa more in general by posting inspiring quotes and profiles on their Instagram account.

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A young Ghanaian CEO could shake up the health sector

Stories - November 23, 2015

The startup mPharma, which was founded by Gregory Rockson, aims to become the first network of electronic prescriptions in emerging markets. One of its goals is to connect pharmacies and provide data to doctors in real time. Big data is one of the important issues of this initiative.

The Ghanaian entrepreneur Gregory Rockson is living a true success story – his clients include some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry. Tech magazine startupbrics.com recently published an interview of Gregory Rockson. His words will probably inspire other entrepreneurs!

#Ghana #Africa #EmergingMartkets

Here is the english version of our latest story from the #SiliconValley. Gregory…

Posted by StartupBRICS on Friday, 6 November 2015

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When Nigeria conquered the business world

Back to the future - November 18, 2015

The 1980’s: Nigeria experiences a surprising economic renaissance thanks to Nollywood, its film industry, which employs over a million.

2011: Launch of the CC Hub, a tech cluster that’s become the heart of the social tech venture sector.

2013: Notching impressive GDP of 503 billion dollars, Nigeria unseats South Africa to become the continent’s largest economy.

2015: Nigeria attracts a large number of Internet entrepreneurs, thanks to a national web market of over 93.4 million users.

2050: With a population of over 440 million and a white-hot economy, Nigeria counts more citizens than the United States and becomes a global economic powerhouse.

africa-business-innovation-nollywood-cinema-nigeria-industry

Nollywood, when cinema becomes a giant industry © Getty Images

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Gossy Ukanwoke disrupts education

Stories - November 24, 2015

Gossy Ukanwoke founded Beni American University in 2012. With BAU, students can attend classes at any time of the day with an internet connection. Back in 2010, the young entrepreneur already had in mind set on all things digital with his education-focused social network Students Circle!

“We also have courses targeted at people who want to start their own business” Ukanwoke told CNN who branded him “The African Mark Zuckerberg”. A true entrepreneur inspiring others!

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3 questions to Bassita, start-up pioneer of clickfunding

The 3 questions - November 18, 2015

With its idea of clickfunding, the Egyptian start-up Bassita enables internauts to view videos by NGOs and social militants, and become drivers of change. Interview with this promising innovator in the world of social business.

Orange Pop: Would you please tell us about Bassita and how it works?

Alban de Ménonville (co-founder of Bassita): Bassita is a magical start-up. Magicians pull rabbits from a hat – we create eye-glasses, bikes, works of art, running water, shipboard cruises for disadvantaged children… all that by the click of a mouse! With a simple click, you can create anything. Bassita means “simple” in Arabic, and indeed, the principle of clickfunding is very simple. These days, brands pay Google or Facebook for web advertising and visibility. We promote Internet ad campaigns that plug for worthy social causes. Internet users disseminate them world-wide. The sponsor requires a given level of visibility, say 100,000 views, 10,000 likes or 3,000 shares. If the campaign video reaches the designated targets, the sponsor funds the initiative. It’s easy for the cybernaut – by clicking on an appealing project, she’s helping to fund change that is good for her community or society. This is the future of advertising! Nowadays, advertisements are annoying at best; at worst, they are demeaning kind of visual pollution. With clickfunding, it’s the internaut who adopts the social initiative and decides that she wants to support it and help get it funded.

O Pop: Do you think clickfunding can work on an international scale?

AM: Clickfunding originated in the South, and the goal is to conquer the North. It will rapidly become an industry like crowdfunding or microfinance. The model is replicable everywhere there is Internet access and activists who want to change the world. In Egypt, people need access to health care, potable water. In Europe, the needs are different but just as vital, for example, environmental protection and sustainable development… The socially responsible initiatives will vary but the clickfunding principle remains the same: a simple click to change the world. In January, a new chapter in Bassita’s story will begin: new technologies, improved cybernaut experience, expanded content, campaigns rolled out on a much larger scale… A new model is taking shape in Egypt, and this model will spur a lot of change world-wide.

O Pop: From your point of view, what are Africa’s strengths in the domain of entrepreneurship?

AM: Africa has so much to offer: a young population that is hungry for social change, sky-high economic potential, enthusiasm and an entrepreneurial streak that contrasts favorably to a Europe that is sometimes too rigid, old-fashioned, and set in its ways. What we’ve managed to do in Egypt in one year is unthinkable in France, for example. Our team comes from diverse backgrounds, and that is our strength. In Africa, Internet will soon outstrip television as the media of choice. In most domains, the web will be the most relevant and effective means of tackling Africa’s challenges.

alban-de-menonville-bassita-fondator-startup-egypte-clickfunding-clic-business-africa

Alban de Ménonville, co-founder de Bassita © wproject.fr

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10 musical talents from Africa

Music - November 18, 2015

Africa’s success stories are not limited to the arena of business and entrepreneurship. Just look at this group of musical virtuosos. Umeme Afrorave is part of the ensemble Mawimbi, which fuses electronic vibe with traditional music. The Tunisian star Dorsaf Hamdani has won a worldwide fan base with covers of French legend Barbara, and the P-Square twins, winners of “Best Group” award at the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards, know how to get a crowd rocking.

  1. Umeme Afrorave – Agama feat. Koko Lawson
  2. Dorsaf Hamdani chante Barbara
  3. P-Square – Personally
  4. Fally Ipupa – Kitoko ft. Youssoupha
  5. D’Banj – Oliver Twist
  6. Davido ft Mafikizolo – Goodlife
  7. Yemi Alade – Na Gode ft. Selebobo
  8. Tiwa Savage – My Darlin’
  9. Omawumi – Megbele
  10. Cairokee Marboot – Be Astek


If you have a Deezer account, click here to access the playlist on our account!

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