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DEMO Africa has released the names of the forty start-ups that have qualified to launch their product on the DEMO Africa stage in September 2014.Topping the list is Nigeria with a total of 14 start-ups qualifying followed by Kenya, Ghana and Egypt. Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa and Ethiopia will each have two representatives while Tunisia, Benin, Cameroon, Uganda and Zimbabwe have earned their space at the DEMO Africa platform.
More than 400 hundred applications were received but only 242 had met the threshold for the adjudication. Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana recorded the highest number of entries.
Out of 12 categories for application, Communication attracted the highest number of applications with a total of 76 applications received, and it’s no wonder that this category will have the highest number of representation with 14 projects of the final forty being in this category. Finance and banking will also have a good representation of 8 out of 18 entries received. Other categories that will have high representation on the DEMO Africa stage include retail, health and education. Start-ups, however, shied away from Water & Sanitation, and Waste Management & Recycling. No entries were recorded for these two categories, an indication that stakeholder still have to work on entrepreneurs’ confidence to encourage homemade solutions across all sectors.
Commending the African entrepreneurs, the Nigeria Minister for Communication Technology, Honourable Mrs Omobola Johnson, stressed that; “This presents another opportunity for African tech startups. Africa may have missed out on the industrial revolution, but we surely will not in the ICT revolution. Through innovation, we will put Nigeria and Africa in general on the ICT map. Realizing the huge potential of the software industry, we have put in place a set of initiatives that will assist the tech startups to create successful businesses, which will directly create jobs and wealth.”
The DEMO Africa Executive Producer Harry Hare, acknowledged the efforts by all the participating start-ups and called upon the investors to support the work of these young entrepreneurs. ”We had really amazing entries this year, but unfortunately the DEMO Africa team can only accommodate forty for now. The high number of entries is inspiring. It only shows that entrepreneurs have risen above the fear of venturing into new waters to create new products. This in itself shows that confidence levels in Africa made solutions are steadily rising. I am confident that we will get to levels where we can generate solutions that can be applied globally.”
VC4Africa Founder, Ben White, observed that the standard of applications continues to rise each year with Victor Okigbo one of the DEMO Africa’s jurists supporting him by commenting that the judges task to shortlist the final forty was not easy.
The application for this year’s DEMO Africa opened in March 2014 closing in June. The applications were then fine combed by a panel comprising top minds in business and tech leaders from across Africa. The criterion for adjudication was the ability to link creativity, innovation, effectiveness and scalability.
The selected forty start-ups will have a chance to launch their products to an ecosystem of VCs, investors, tech acquisition specialists, IT buyers and media from across the region and around the globe. They will also benefit from one and a half month coaching and mentorship program to be spearheaded by DEMO Africa and the US State Department. The Mentorship program will be coordinated by Dr. Susan Amat, CEO, VentureHive and will include both local and international mentors and coaches.
As has been witnessed in the previous events, the September event is expected to attract top notch African investors. Participants registration is already open on https://www.eventbrite.com/e/demo-africa-2014-tickets-10936486325. The secretariat has put together a special package for investor delegates which comprises: 15% discount on a DEMO Africa ticket, 15% discount on a VC4A Pro Account, Access to the companies’ financials, Ticket to the Investor Cocktail on DEMO Africa’s opening evening, Ticket to a special Investor Boomcamp as well as access to a special Investor Lounge and Deal Room at DEMO Africa. More information on this package can be found at http://vc4afri.ca/h6j8u
DEMO Africa 2014 is scheduled to take place between 22nd and 26th of September at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. This year’s event is being organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners (Microsoft, Nokia, US State Department, DEMO, USAID, African Development Bank, VC4Africa among others) and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.
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The 40 Startups are:
MobileJobs (mjobs) powered by SOMTEC
The Pearl Dream Inc
For more information please contact:
Evelyne Wangui | Project and Communication Manager
Office:+254 20 404 1646
Mobile:+254 726 087 451
Mr. Yele Okeremi | Chairman, Nigerian Local Organising Committee
Mobile: +234 803 304 1049
Mbugua Njihia| DEMO Africa Event Director:Email:firstname.lastname@example.org