The Apple of Africa ?
The President Obama now Mandela Washington Fellowship has been a great life enabling event, I spent 6 weeks in Yale University learning management and leadership, in one week met President Obama, Michelle Obama and US Permanent Secretary to UN Samantha Power .I was interviewed on BBC and my article on Women in Tech Africa was published in CNN. Lastly to top it all I met and developed strong friendships with 500 of Africa best and brightest.
As part of being selected to join the Washington Fellowship, We were encouraged to think about One project that would implement after my time in the United States.
Along with other Washington Fellows David Chakombera (Senior Advisor-Advisory Services at Ernst and Young EY) and Amadou Cissoko (Founder MACI – Making Africa a Continent of Innovators) we decided to work on an Accelerator called AfricaTwenty10.This is a an accelerator that will be focused on startups in Africa that do not just want to be big in thier individual country but want to dominate and become the giants of thier industries .
We aim to balance the companies that we accept to include a fair balance of female led startups, social enterprises along with other profitable, impactful startups.
Why an Accelerator?
In January 2010, I returned to Ghana after a number of years in the UK. I studied for a Msc. in Distributed System under an International Student Scholarship after which I worked in various roles predominately as a Business Analyst for a consultancy firm.
Upon my return to Ghana in 2010, I worked with various organizations such as the Grameen Foundation/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Mobile Technology for Health-Motech and the Ford Foundation/Community Life Project on its Reclaim Naija Project.
In Early 2011 I decided to pursue my long ambition of becoming an entrepreneur, and Iike the doer that I am I jumped to start a consultancy that would focus on providing excellent service support and customer service on behalf of clients to their customers on the one hand and formulating and implementing strategic directions to improve business performance indicators from visibility to finance by using simple and available technologies on the other.
After a year without any meaningful revenue I begun to realize my startup had failed. I was passionate and hardworking but I still failed.
I went back to climbing the corporate ladder which leads me to exciting projects In Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. All the while I kept asking myself the questions Why did I fail and how can I ensure that others like me do not take an entrepreneurial nose dive, and how could others learn from my experience. My last corporate role was a Head Commercial Solutions of Vodafone before I returned to the entrepreneurial life as Founder of Edel Technology.
With my new experiences in product innovation, business strategy and networking especially from my role as business development manager in Sierra Leone and in Vodafone as a head of commercial solutions I partnered with iSpace Foundation Ghana (a new technology innovation hub in Accra, Ghana funded by Indigo trust) to run a series on how to create a strategy, how to form strategic partnerships and how to build products that sells.
Additionally I worked with iSpace to mentor its hub residents including Games Nerd (Game Nerd’s mission is to provide the conditions necessary for the gaming culture)
I was judge at the Accra Start-Up weekend 2013. The team that won the event, Chillax, invited me to be on their board of advisors, Egotickets a ticketing system set to become the event brite of Africa
Soon a large number of startups begun inviting me to advise on their boards however it has become physically impossible to work with them in an effective manner given the fact I myself restarted my business Edel Technologies and doing quite well.
How will it work?
Accelerator Twenty by 10 is a 3 month acceleration program for startups that will create enable startups launch in more than 1 African country, support business development and mentorship opportunities and provide funding
The Startups Accelerator Twenty by 10 are interested in are startups that want to become the giants of Africa, they will be assigned dedicated Mentors.
These Mentors are individuals who have started a company, raised funds and might have had a successful exit or IPO. They are able to help entrepreneurs through the process with direction, perspective and even emotional support.
Our very First Mentor to sign up was Jessyca Joyekurun
Jessyca Joyekurun a YALI Washington fellow is CEO of Expand Human Resources in Mauritius. She specializes in providing human resource outsourcing for small and medium enterprises.
She has also recently opened two branches in Uganda and Tanzania. She holds a Bachelor of Law from the University of Kent and is currently reading an MBA in Human Resource Management from the University of Wales. She has been awarded a ‘Special Mention by Jury’ by the HR Excellence awards by the human resource council of development in Mauritius in 2013
Our Second Mentor and Advisor to sign up was Jon Gosier
Jon Gosier is an investor, serial entrepreneur, and data scientist working primarily in areas of big data.
Jon is partner at two investment funds, The Appfrica Fund and Third Cohort Capital. He has been listed among the ‘Most Influential Blacks in Technology’ by Business Insider 2013 and again in 2014. He’s also been listed among the ’20 Angel Investors Worth Knowing’ and among the ‘Innovators of the Year 2013’ by Black Enterprise Magazine.
He is a Senior Fellow at TED where he’s given several TED talks. He is a graduate of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program as well as the THNK the School of Creative Leadership in Amsterdam. He is a two-time winner of the News Challenge run by the Knight Foundation.
There will also be industry Mentors with industry specific experience, and networks and they are able to help when the entrepreneur needs an appraisal of technology or to make industry connections for the entrepreneur.
The mentors will work with the startups virtually however based on the collaboration with co working spaces across the continent. The Startups will be physically housed in different co working spaces across the continent from Ghana to Zimbabwe.
When will it start?
Applications will open on the 30th of October 2014, however if you want to join our waiting list to be contacted when application open please go to our website (www.AfricaTwenty10.com) and leave us a message
How can you help?
If you’re an organization that want to support entrepreneurial ecosystems and help create the next Facebook, Proctor and Gamble or even the next Louis Vuitton giant of Africa please contact us on email@example.com .We will in turn support your organization by putting your logo and company name on all marketing materials, posted on the web, and in event materials, Invitation to all AfricaTwenty10 sponsored program events* (C-executive events, workshops) and access to present startups and alumni of the accelerator