ICT has generated a real boom on the African continent over the last few years. Today African countries have set up multiple startup incubators focusing on technology development and also playing as platforms for idea growth and nurture. Various individuals and partners behind brilliant ideas all have similar targets of spreading their products and services beyond boundaries of creation which in this case is the international market.
10th October 2014 saw the first ever German African ICT start-up fair held at the Malzfabrik venue in Berlin bringing together African and German startups. For the German start-up scene, the African continent now offers immense business potential this was therefore a platform for two different continents to connect on an idea level.
In attendance was Kenya’s cladlight a wearable tech startup seeking to reduce motorbike accidents more likely on our roads today using a smart jacket www.cladlight.com. On an one on one with Michael Gathogo, Project manager Cladlight, who was one the selected panelist at the convention discussing challenges & opportunities of ICT startups and also exploring the potential of German-African joint ventures, he describes the experience as incredible on both the business line and social interaction. Mr Gathogo however put emphasis on need for more exposition of startups in the country as well as technology development which still lags behind compared to many countries in the same competition bracket.
Also in attendance was startup bus first African hackathon on wheels consisting of innovators from Africa and beyond with participants conceiving, building and eventually launching their startups during the duration of the ride which in most cases is a five-day ride or more. Having the first startup bus hit the road in America 2010, Africa gained its first intense startup boot camp where “buspreneurs” compete to create the hottest new tech companies over a bus ride in November last year.
The platform makes it possible for more people to access the hackathon without having to travel far distances at the same time easy to find potential entrepreneurs who have no means of finding like minded people. The ride includes hours of team-building and pitching where individuals walk to the front of the bus and present themselves. StartupBus also gives innovators a chance to stop by local innovation hubs to get feedback from local entrepreneurs on their ideas.
German- African Startup fair brought together a tangible capacity of people willing to collaborate and partner in various startups of interest. Ten German-African start-ups from the automotive, cooling technology, resource planning, irrigation technology, engineering, solar and wind power technology, as well as sanitary and electro technology areas were presenting their business ideas at the event where they also had discussions about the opportunities and potential for German-African cooperative work.
The event was organized by the Partnership with Africa Foundation e.V. in the context of its COMENGA Programme with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).