TANCon 2012 - May 18th-19th The Hilton Hotel San Jose CA
The African Network
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Panel Topics
Panel Summary: - Leveraging Technology to Drive Development
The continent of Africa and Technology are not synonymous in most minds, yet Africans continue to be extremely innovative in creating technology that applies to their specific environments. The world is beginning to take notice and quite a few organizations are profitably engaged in various technology fields across Africa. Investment in technology is also at an all-time high. Come hear about and discuss technology on the continent with teams that have been successful in various fields ranging from Agriculture, Bio-tech, Mobile and Payment innovations, industry and manufacturing, to software outsourcing and development. Focus will be on highlighting the varied areas of technology involvement and opportunities for growth and participation. Panelists will also highlight how their organizations got involved, challenges and things to watch out for as well as how technology is changing the face of the continent.
Panel Summary: - Innovations and Sustainability
One good definition for sustainable development is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This definition has since been expanded to include sustainable enterprises that frame global needs as opportunities for private enterprise to provide innovative and entrepreneurial solutions. The question is "Where does Africa fit in these discussions?" Focusing on the industries of agriculture, technology and energy, panelists will examine how sustainability solutions are being implemented in Africa, from creating long-term consumer and employee value by developing a "green" strategy to taking into consideration every dimension of how a business operates in the social, cultural, and economic environment. Panelist will also share examples of practical implementation of the concept of the Triple Bottom Line which proposes that business goals are inseparable from the societies and environments within which they operate. The aim of this discussion is to facilitate an understanding of the prospects and dynamics of this young movement and how it is changing and creating entrepreneurial opportunities on the continent.
Panel Summary: - Social Entrepreneurship
Social entrepreneurship has been widely bounced around as a panacea of solving a societal problem by leveraging business know-how to achieve a social change. While well intentioned many social entrepreneurs have failed to achieve real change. Let's review some of the most successful social entrepreneurs on the African continent in order to gain insights. Panelists on the Social Entrepreneurship panel will discuss and share what differentiates between a successful high impact products/services and ones that fail. They will share what are the ingredients that make social entrepreneurship successful. What were the common problems which hinders successful adoption of a business to have real social/societal impact? Specific Questions include: who (non-profits, NGO's, foundations, governments, individuals, etc) are the most successful social entrepreneurs on the African continent. What are they doing to have real social impact? What lessons can be learned to have a real multiplier effect?
Panel Summary: - Access to Financing
The African Network Entrepreneurship Conference (TANCon) theme in 2012 is "Seizing the Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Africa". This comes, without a doubt, as a result of the rapid growth in entrepreneurial endeavors (start-ups) and the continuous existence of well-established corporations on the continent. These companies (both new and existing) require some financial sustenance for growth and expansion. Panelists at the investment and funding panel at TANCon 2012 will discuss and examine how these corporations can get funded. Sources of funding can range from Venture Capitalists and Angel investors to Charitable firms. They will also discuss the obstacles that face major VC firms from the USA to invest in companies on the continent and how these obstacles can be alleviated to promote investment and opportunities. Specific questions like: how do you get a start-up funded? Who is getting funded by Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, Charitable organizations, etc? What are the alternatives to these Investor funds? TANCon 2012 panelists include venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs, will discuss these various ways of funding and investment for the entrepreneurs.
Panel Summary: - The Impact of Governmental Policies on Entrepreneurship in Africa

At TANCon 2012, the discussion on policies affecting entrepreneurship in Africa will be discussed in two folds. On one hand, though Africa remains the go-to continent for entrepreneurial opportunities, the average on-the ground entrepreneur is affected by circumstances beyond his/her control. For example, in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economic potential, the lack of constant electric power, higher taxes set by the government, un-motorable roads and other infrastructures remain predominant factors affecting entrepreneurs. The cost of electricity and other maintenance costs can deplete the seed capital of start- up entrepreneurs or affect his/her profits, substantially. Apart from the countries in the Northern and Southern part of the continent, a typical African country has these perennial problems which affect start-ups and existing entrepreneurs.

On the other hand, the emergence of China as an economic heavyweight and other Asian countries like India, with great interest in Africa, has some companies in the western part of the world re-considering their Africa strategies and policies. The Chinese presence has been highly discussed and debated in roundtable entrepreneurial endeavors with respect to its sustainability and deep interest in Africa.

Thus, at TANCon 2012, panelists will examine and discuss the following questions:

  • What are some of the policies that can be put in place to motivate the average African entrepreneur?
  • Are there established policies or strategies that are functioning well in certain other African countries that can be used as role models?
  • What are some of the key points that African countries can take from the western countries regarding helping the average entrepreneur?
  • Are Chinese and other Asian countries' interests in Africa sustainable?
  • Are there lessons to be learned by African entrepreneurs from their Chinese or Asia counterparts?

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