Invest in African start ups – Ghanaian techprenuers

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Photo from 2017 Africa Summit.    Source: Africa Summit

Ghanaian technology entrepreneurs have called on African investors to look within the continent and channel much needed support to the local businesses that are solving the continent’s problems.

According to them, local investors need to see the vision and impact that start ups have and must invest at the early stage.

These revelations were made at the sidelines of the Africa 2018 Summit which took place in in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The forum saw the launch of the Next 100 Startup initiative by President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, which aims to select up to 100 promising entrepreneurs based in Africa and connect them with business leaders, international investors, financial institutions, and policymakers.

Ghana’s contingent consisted of 11 companies among which were Kudigo, Nokofio Ghana, Bloom impact, Agro innova LLC and more with facilitation from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group’s arm in charge of private sector development.

25158986398_7dcd3936c8_kSpeaking to Citi Trends, CEO of Kudigo said, “most tech startups die prematurely and it is only with the right collaboration and deliberate effort that the situation can be salvaged. An africa-wide ecosystem approach is key for the growth of the continent where cross country connections will help spur growth. “

Kelvin Ashie of Agro Innova LLC however insisted, ”it is important that there needs to be shared understand of the investor language because though the trajectory we are travelling on is good in ghana with a good outlook for start ups, none of it will mean anything if we do not understand the language the investor is speaking.”

On his part, the CTO of Bloom impact, David Hutchful, held the opinion that there were not enough African investors who could “meet the demand of start ups and the ones that do exist are assessing the risk. What happens is that the investment levels offered do not match with the level of the need of the startups.”

Start-ups in Africa raised just $556 million from investors in 2017 (compared to $7 billion raised in India). The number of incubators and accelerators of start-ups has grown to more than 440 in 2018, compared to 314 two years ago, according to a just-released study by IFC. The study also found that five African cities — Accra, Cairo, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi – attract 84 percent of the funds, even though they account for 22 percent of the continent’s startups. Start-ups in other cities are simply missing out in financing opportunities, according to the report.

25158994548_a1ad4e85c1_kDavid is thus off the option that, “more angel investors and more big ticket investors must be willing to meet the market where it is and where they can give smaller amounts without having to take over the start ups.”

“The summit was important for all parties to understand where their needs were and to understand how to tweak their companies to meet the needs of the investors without losing the core of their startups.”

One other startup at the summit was Wear Ghana and its cofounder, Ewurabena Agyeman, insisted that, “ it is not surprising (that African investors do not invest heavily in African startups) because underlying it is the same reason that African entrepreneurs have been trying to prove themselves for all these years.”

“We need to start believing in Africa and start believing that African entrepreneurs can build great companies. We need to prove that although we exist on a continent where the basic infrastructure that has been built in other economies do not exist, we can do better. We are forced to build the ecosystem that companies need to thrive but we must learn to tell our stories right. We must build the supply chain that other people do not have to spend their time doing.

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The SnooCODE Debacle: Preliminary Thoughts

DSC_0447-2.jpgA lot has been said about SnooCODE’s failure to land a government contract for a digital property addressing system.

The debate has raged on various platforms.

Having interviewed snooCODE on a number of occasions, I have questioned the process myself. I have engaged in Facebook and WhatsApp debates.

Here are some preliminary thoughts as we continue to chase the truth and empower Ghana’s technology entrepreneurs for the future.

FACTS

– SnooCODE submitted a bid that was in excess of 3 pages. The executive Summary alone was more than three pages.

– SnooCODE was offering its platform to Ghana for FREE

– Till date, SnooCODE has not been officially communicated to as to why they were kicked out.

– I have not been employed, paid, coerced, hypnotized or influenced in any way by SnooCODE.
I do this for the tech community in Ghana who I believe have something incredible to offer this country.

– I fully support a national digital property addressing system which is done right and with the right people.

 

THE THEORIES

The word on the street is that Snoocode:

– Submitted a three paged ‘wrong’, ‘faulty’ and ‘incomplete’ document

– Was charging above and beyond what government was willing to pay for

 

THE QUESTIONS

Consider the following, if you care to think critically about how your nation is treating its technology entrepreneurs:

– How does an ordinary citizen or employee of Vokakom have access to the details of a closed bid? Are they members of the panel that reviewed the bids? If they are, is that not a far more serious case to worry about; that a member of the panel will use social media and online news portals to distribute confidential details of a bidding process?

– If the person or persons speaking ‘on authority’ about the details in SnooCODE’s bid is not on the review panel, then who is feeding them the information on the content of a SEALED bid?

– Where did the rest of the documents in SnooCODE’s bid disappear to? More than two copies of the bid were submitted; did all three copies have only three pages? Who stole the rest of the pages?

Uber launches in Kumasi

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L-R: Fredrick Frimpong; Greenlight and Operations Manager, Uber Ghana, Jackie Omotalade; Policy Lead West Africa, Uber, Alon Lits; General Manager Sub-Saharan Africa, Uber and Kofi Agyare; Country Manager, Ghana at the launch of Uber in Kumasi.

The technology company, credited with disrupting the transportation space in across the world, has extended its services into Kumasi, making it the second city in Ghana and the 616th globally.

In a ceremony to mark the event, Alon Lits, General Manager Sub-Saharan Africa, Uber said: “We are immensely pleased to bring a technologically enabled transport system to the people of Kumasi. With it, Uber will provide them with an alternative way to get from point A to B, and ensure that they’re able to achieve their basic, everyday goals – whether they be business people, students or corporate workers – Uber is here to help support their socio-economic objectives.

The Kumasi launch was preceded by the launch of Accra, Ghana’s capital city in 2016. The company insists its operations in Ghana have seen marked improvement over the period.

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Cross-section of Uber Greenlight Hub experts at the launch of Uber in Kumasi

Despite its successes, the company has come under pressure in recent weeks following agitation from various taxi unions and groups who contend the company is breaching Ghana’s tax laws.

According to Elon however: “Uber is an innovative, pro smart regulation company; we intend to collaborate with government and work with necessary stakeholders to ensure that we create world-class, affordable systems that create economic opportunities, improve efficiencies and reduce emissions.”

On his part, Country Manager Ghana at Uber, Kofi Agyare added: “Since Uber launched in Accra in 2016, key members of the Uber Policy and Operations teams have been constantly engaging with relevant policy makers, regulators and stakeholders to showcase the benefits that technology can bring to public transport. We are convinced that if we continue to work together with the government, we can achieve our goal of continued creation of economic opportunities.”

 

The Uber network is now available in over 600 cities in over 80 countries spanning 6 continents.

Counting our Losses – The day after Accra floods

Source: Kofimusings

Source: Kofimusings

I will be emotionally scared for life.

I know that.

I never doubted that.

However, i needed to tell this story. It is my duty. My responsibility to chronicle these events.

I did it with pride.

Watch this video and let it cause you to act. Let us stand today against this irrational posturing from our leaders.

#ThisMustStop

#DUMSORMUSTSTOP: The Day Ghana Marched

Edits-3Saturday May 16, 2015.

A day etched in the history books of Ghana forever.

Why?

Simple. Ghanaians stood up, walked and spoke out.

After three years of living with a power crisis which has seen the Ghana Tourism Authority announce the potential shutdown of some 20 hotels within the country. Telecoms operator, MTN; UK charity for education, culture and development services, British Council; textile manufacturer, Juapong textiles have all either laid off workers or preparing to lay off workers due to the power crisis.

The government’s response has been varied, albeit dreadful.

Here are a few headlines to illustrate my point:

NPP demo has encouraged me to end ‘Dumsor’ – Mahama

I will ‘banish dumsor forever’ – Mahama

My ‘dumsor banishment’ promise was just a prayer- Mahama

Gov’t resolute to end ‘Dumsor’ – Mahama

‘Dumsor’ will erode government’s good initiatives – Mahama 

Edits-6The commentary and public outcry has been immense across social media with dozens of memes and every trolling effort in the book being tried out. Government officials also weighed into the conversation from time to time and did what all employees do; defend their employer.

Then Yvonne Nelson, award winning actress, philanthropist and all-round nice person spoke out on the power crisis with a simple tweet: #dumsormuststop.

The aftermath of that tweet has been a complex mix of support, insults, emotional outbursts and career defining decisions. It has gotten politicians such as Alhaji Halidu Haruna to learn the grave effects of taking social media for granted and shot others such as Yvonne Nelson into legendary status.

Edits-1The #dumsormuststop vigil which took place on Saturday showed just how much can be done when citizens of a country decide on their own free will and with the guidance of one purpose, to speak out about something.

I am terribly proud of my country men and women who showed up and to them i dedicate this video below.