The African Network

PANEL 1: Entrepreneurial Innovations in Technology and Information Systems

Information and communications technology (ICT) is the foundation of modern growth economies, the backbone for information sharing (medical, social services, educational), and the catalyst that breaks the often self-defeating relationship between geography and destiny.  Second only to the basic necessities of electricity and clean water, technology is the next critical investment required for sustained economic development.  Technology can reduce urban-rural disparities, giving all citizens, regardless of income, access to more economic opportunities, improved education, and better healthcare.  New infrastructure also encourages IT-focused industries to spread to more remote locations, bringing jobs to people in rural areas while helping to relieve the pressure on urban infrastructure. 

The panel entitled: “Entrepreneurial Innovations in Technology and Information Systems” will be the platform where experts in ICT (Information Communication Technology) in the context of Africa will unravel the multiple entrepreneurial opportunities that exist in this continent, more specifically how access to ICT is changing the way people live, learn, and work in Africa. It is enabling their social and economic development, unleashing a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, and positioning them to compete in a global economy that increasingly depends on information.



PANEL 2: Deep Dive Into the Angel Investment World

Angel capital fills the gap in start-up financing between "friends and family" who provide seed funds and venture capital. Although it is usually difficult to raise more than few hundred thousand dollars from friends and family, most traditional venture capital funds are usually not able to consider investments under few million US Dollars. Thus, angel investment is appropriate for aspiring entrepreneurs as well as high-growth start-ups looking for finances for their second round.

Of the US companies that received angel funding in 2007, the average capital raised was about 450,000USD. However, there is no “set amount” for angel investors, and the range can go anywhere from a few thousand to a few million dollars.

This panel will take you through a deep dive of how Angel investment work compared to Venture Capital investment, while showcasing and connecting you with some of the most seasoned Angel investors in Silicon Valley.



PANEL 3: Social Entrepreneurship: a Fad or a Reality for Africa?

According to Wikipedia, Social entrepreneurship is the work of a social entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change. Whereas a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur assesses success in terms of the impact he/she has on society. While social entrepreneurs often work through nonprofits and citizen groups, many work in the private and governmental sectors.

The panel on “Social Entrepreneurship: a Fad or a Reality for Africa?” will showcase five entrepreneurs working in variety of enterprises including training next generation of capable African leaders, women empowerment, clean water, economic development through grassroots initiatives and microfinance for socially responsible investments in Africa. Expect to be challenged on issues concerning building socially viable companies in Africa while still holding profitable profits and shares in business.



PANEL 4: Protecting Your Intellectual Property: Letting your Ideas Make Money and Attract Investors

For the entrepreneur, strategic management of intellectual property (IP) is vitally important to the success of a business. Intellectual property rights (IPR), whether domestic or foreign, can be valuable assets capable of attracting investment, generating revenue, and supporting further innovation. Failure to take IPR seriously, however, can result in loss of property rights, or worse, infringement lawsuits. African entrepreneurs face a range of challenges relating to IP, including structural and financial challenges. This panel will discuss general issues of IP management as well as the issues that apply specifically to African entrepreneurs.



PANEL 5: Insights from Current Entrepreneurs:  The Trivial Secrets That Are Not Often Talked About

Successful entrepreneurs often talk about how exciting it is to start a business, be your own boss, and see your vision and passion come to life.  They admit that there are ups and downs, many long days & nights, and of course bumps along the road.  But is that the entire story?  What aren't they talking about? Many entrepreneurs don't tell you the reality of a ‘less than thrilling’ personal income, paying their staff more than they pay themselves – and working longer and harder than they ever imagined. But the reward of doing something that one really enjoys is all worth the pains. “Insights from Current Entrepreneurs: The Trivial Secrets That Are Not Often Talked About” will discuss exactly how you can avoid the common bungles entrepreneurs face to keep your company and create more wealth, freedom and fun in your life!