Innovation in Africa: “What it really takes to build startups”

NOD Shared Space February 17, 2016 12:15 - 13:00

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Ifeanyi Oteh
Fabian Carlos-Guhl

Africa has no shortage of aspiring entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas for digital solutions actively seek opportunities to start their own businesses, and contribute to the development of the continent’s economy and society. But there are significant barriers to developing and launching startup businesses in Africa:

  1. Disjointed ecosystems (distance & language barriers);
  2. Lack of sophistication of local investors;
  3. Lack of effective capacity skills & training programs;
  4. Over reliance on governments and large corporations or informal markets for economic growth;
  5. Exposure to foreign investors.


To this end, the co-founders of AMPION, a pan-African organization that helps support and develop entrepreneurial talent and tech startups across the continent are hosting the roundtable Q&A, “Innovation in Africa: “What it really takes to build startups.” AMPION’s co-founders will facilitate the Q&A and also discuss their experiences organizing and leading programs on the ground in Africa to give further context to the challenges faced in developing innovative and sustainable ecosystems for entrepreneurs and tech startups in Africa.

The purpose of the roundtable is to discuss with stakeholders these challenges and what it takes to effectively facilitate the establishment and growth of young African entrepreneurs and their startups, particularly those focused on ICT that hope to address the development challenges their communities face.


The workshop will enable participants to actively engage on issues and potential solutions through roundtable discussion, and to explore innovative ideas and tools emanating from across backgrounds and experiences. It will focus on the following objectives:

  • Identify training, tools, and support needs of local social innovators
  • Connect stakeholders and help build ecosystems enabling social innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Connect social innovators and entrepreneurs in the region and help build a network, linking them to international counterparts
  • Identify potential ICT tools and applications that could be developed as potential solutions to local needs, and support the development of start-ups

The knowledge gathered during the round_table by addressing these questions will clearly identify the tangible obstacles faced when creating startups in developing regions, and will provide the basis for how to better support social innovators and tech startups across Africa and beyond.