Startup54 by Foundervine brought together young professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs to form teams, build prototypes and create innovative tech businesses to solve some of Africa’s problems. It was held (54 hours!) over the weekend of 9-11 November and hosted by Pivotal Software.
Day 1 started Friday evening with Keynote address on “Starting up in Africa” by Charles Sekwalor, who highlighted that “Africas own challenges actually represent its largest opportunities”. This was followed by eight teams being formed based on the idea generation to build prototypes.
Day 2 – Saturday, started off with Ade Awokoya delivering a Business Masterclass on Business Modelling, based on the lean canvas model. and market validation.
Ade explained the lean canvas building blocks, the aspect of ‘unfair advantage’ and the role of early stage investment. Investors look at the capacity and skillsets of the founding team which is essential to build on this. His take was that diaspora should build a ‘proof of concept’ by founding a UK business and then create products for Africa based on market validation.
David Fisayo then delivered a Masterclass on “Market validation’, with an emphasis on creating products based on market research to suit the customer, using the appropriate customer channels. Too often business can focus on innovation and end up creating products that nobody wants.
The sessions were followed by the teams conducting Market Research with Group Work, using Skype interviews with Innovation workspaces in Ghana and Kenya to give feedback to the entrepreneurs and help them market test products that work for Africa.
Day 3 – Sunday, started off with Anisah Osman-Britton, CEO 23 Code Street giving a Masterclass on “Pitching” then Rodney Appiah, Director Foresight Group presenting on “Funding & Finance”. This was followed by Group work and preparation for the Final pitches.
Mentors were brought in to coach participants on key aspects of starting a business, and worked with the teams to deliver specialist support and provide practical advice to the aspiring entrepreneurs ahead of their pitches.
The weekend culminated in the business solutions being pitched to 4 judges, who critiqued the final pitches with extreme diligence.
Catherine Wines, co-Founder of WorldRemit
Matteo Scarabelli, Head of Investment at L Marks
Kirsty Trafford- Owen, MD of Druthers Search
Andrew Sekandi, Partner at Sofala Partners
The winning team, Tabchain, came up with an industry changing solution to end counterfeit drugs by verification using blockchain.
David Fisayo has done an incredible job in leading the Foundervine Executive team inc. Izzy Obeng and Cecil Adjalo to deliver a very successful Startup54.
Startup54 is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.