Loise and the African Dream

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Loise and the African Dream
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Four ideas to make the tech movement sustainable. It's not a new story: Africa is changing and slowly turning into a place of tech and innovation in the public perception. The chance that the wider penetration of the Internet and mobile technology will bring about wide-scale change on the continent is really high: The barriers to starting a business and to taking part in the global economy are as low as ever before. There is a growing young, dynamic and very creative crowd with a high affinity towards tech, which is going to make use of this opportunity. But how can we make this movement a lasting one?
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conclusion of OK OK hi everyone and I'm here today to talk about Kenya and anxiously to talk about them well to do a new comparison art you just stop doing comparisons because some people laughter to do
this comparison about Kenya being the new Berlin the new The New London but I would rather focus on what is the unique thing and in Kenya that is going on right now with the text scene and I would 1st like to start with them the elephant in the room and so the elephant in the room I guess it's me because there might be a bit strange that I am the 1 the
German lady talking and about Kenya why there are so many great representatives and of Kenya at the Republican so why is that the reason is that I went to Kenya and of last year and I am I had the chance to talk to a lot of experts and and collect all their voices and their opinions and another thing is that I realize right now all the canyons all the guys from Africa you will year at the Republican they actually at the global gathering meeting where they have a board meeting with after that so yeah the unfortunately there's not even any 1 of them we can complain of what I'm saying look who can who can disagree and as the set went to Kenya um end of last year to do research trip for the vote from Institute the
Vodaphone Institute is a think tank for the global Vodafone Group and what the mission is to some analyze the potential of mobile technologies and how you can actually use digital and mobile technology to tackle societal problems and the core topic at the moment is youth empowerment and some then when you do some research about youth empowerment something that you come across definitely
is entrepreneurship and tech entrepreneurship and then when you investigate about tech entrepreneurship something that you can't get away from the moment is Kenya so I wanted to go there and understand what is going on at the moment and in the Kenyan scene and there's 1 person that I met and was really inspiring and that is lawyers and so now you already know where this strange title of my talk so this is Laurie's and
um yeah noise use 21 years
old she's from monoclonal which is northwest of Nairobi and her favorite home pages are Facebook and W 3 schools does anyone of you know W 3 schools 1 of
the so I had no idea it's that a programming page we can teach yourself how to hack how to develop how to program and noise is so much into that because he's an accurate shape and a Akira check is affirmation of women in Kenya who want to boost and want to bring more women into tax because they say there are just too few women the elements besides all the good stuff that they do they have something which I found so cool because and they have this training program for young women young girls from the poor regions around Nairobi from the slums and they pick those girls and bring them into a class for hacking develop encoding and they actually go there every day a week and afterwards they get a certificate and they're actually able to come up with their own map and
so back to noise when the noise was of what she wants to become when she's which she's done with this course she said she wants to be an entrepreneur and she wants to be the best developer in the world and I found this very striking because if you ask people a year in Europe at the moment and what they want to become a
thing most of and say well we want to have a formal job and but what you see in and Africa right now or what would you have seen there for quite a long time is that people are
very entrepreneurial and they are not feeling to start a business so this is a chart of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor arm and they ask young people To which extent they believe that the feel failure would prevent them from starting a business and there you see that as the European you can have more than 46 % actually said that they had to scare to start a business well in Sub-Saharan Africa you have more give 25 % who said that and of course this is also because of a lot of people are forced into business it's because they they're there are no formal jobs so they have to start a business but what is changing right now is that with the digitalization and with mobile technology it's a lot easier for people to come up with a good product which can be distributed easily so on and what I said
earlier I think I can has a very unique case always even Africa and the text is very unique compared to the western world and um what is a very special in Kenya is the story and how um this text seen actually rise and something that you can't take out of the story
there is definitely impair some the who of you knows and this OK great so well I'll just x-rated wearing very quickly so pairs implemented in 2007 and it allows you to to send money to someone uh either your
friends your family but also to buy a product and just send the money viable by phone so you don't need any cash anymore and today 1 3rd of the population in Kenya has and it has really changed the life of a lot of people especially in the rural areas because and before they had to travel long distances to to bring the money back home but now they could just send or by phone
but and what is even more fascinating or for me which was crazy to go to Nairobi and see that is that you just have and his at everywhere like wherever you go I got on the plane impasse and um you want to buy a drink you see in person and you go to rural area and you see in pairs
as this as kind of the speedy uh in in Africa it's in Kenya I said that you have it everywhere not just in the capital and of what was even more important about that all y and empiricist such a fascinating and case because it actually convinced the people themselves that they can be a great innovation coming from this country so in the mind-set of Kenyans they are very proud of this innovation and also when you look at the media reaction so this
is just some quotes that are found on Kenya related to in Pisa and then I said Ken has beaten the world can have a pioneer and can you the world leader and there were even the world's unlikely leader so all of the sudden people started to believe that they could be an innovation coming out of this country and I think this was a really crucial for the further and imagine enough of this ecosystem what then happened um was of course in 2008 to show he against people here
they all notion should he which is now um used worldwide and was founded and then in 2009 there was the undersea cable brought the 1st undersea cable brought to Kenya which brought faster Internet and which make Internet far more accessible and then in 2 thousand and 10 of course the iHOP I hope some of you remember the recursion speak from last year whose X and the founder of the I have in them this I have really became the center of innovation can in Kenya so um the whole it consists of a ecosystem is them was somehow a boosted by a by a founding this place so if you go to kenya you can go
to the i happen you just see everyone you need to see to understand the text and then this is an article from last year in November and and uh I guess I don't know how many germs are here but
I guess that most of you know the speaker and I think what's important to notice that now people are getting and I get in there interested in the in the text in that is happening there they interested in the current developments and and as as soon as something in the speed I would say this is definitely mainstream so on people again in crazy about this great story but at the same time and or 4 or fall for on the 1 hand I think this is important and it helps people like noise the girl who wants to become an entrepreneur to to get better support to get that are funding in them to to have the government to do some better legislation to support but at the same time well I think we should also ask ourselves why are they there always these comparisons with silicon Savannah and you always have this must sigh with a mobile phone don't go to the i have sigh with a mobile phone I can swear that and there's also some I I think it is important to start question why do we always need to compare it to those other places because what from my perspective or what I've seen that I think it's very unique as such and that it doesn't need to be a copy of Silicon Valley it can
just be Nairobi or whichever other tech companies Africa in uh rise right now and it doesn't need to be um like Silicon Valley because what was also on different to maybe Silicon Valley and then and Tel-Aviv if you look at those places people come up with very commercial apps they come up with some with entertainment at gaming and so on but if you look at innovation which is coming right now from from Africa and those are some examples of from Kenya as well it's an
and copper for example where you can get to the energy on demand so you have the solar panel and you have uh again pairs a generator your house and you can just get energy on-demand yes and farm which sends the information to farmers I am and you have the niece so that brings education on your basic phone so what you see here is that all those innovation what they have in common i is that they really solve a problem and that they really address in need and I don't
want to romanticize that because I'm very aware of the fact that there are more problems and necessity is the mother of invention somehow so that people probably therefore have to come up with new solutions while here may be other things are better and place but I think it is very notable because they come up with new ways of solving problems and um some of those problems are also exists in here but we can't we somehow we can come up with new ways because infrastructures so much in place so this is why I think it is interesting to look at Africa and to look at how they are solving problems and what we can learn from them and there are even academics put that informal concepts like reverse innovation frugal innovation all these terms which now I understand that we we somehow it can learn from Africa of course the and and that this is possible has been proven 2 months ago because now Vodaphone actually launched in Paris in Romania and it
will be launched in other countries in in Europe as well so this is the proof that this is working but then the other thing am I now talked again about implicit and what I want to do is to stop talking
about in Pisa because and talking to the
guys in Kenya you realize that somehow everybody is that in a bit annoyed by this whole in Pisa story because it's sort of hunting them because the everybody analysis 0 while there was this great invention where's the next but to understand the specific ecosystem over there you have to understand that impairs there was a very special case in a very unique case because of his it was implemented by a very big player in the market so Safaricom back then had a market share of 85 % which is it could be credible it was the big the biggest company in Kenya and it enjoyed trust among the population and only a company like this was in the position to to and take this risk that they took back then and to do this huge massive investment because
implementing Ampe're's a was really expensive so that's the 1st the 1st thing we have to realize that um it might not be possible for a small start up in Kenya sitting at the idea and to come up with the new and Pisa but they don't have to but we we just need to understand that right now it's a very very small ecosystem it's very fragile so I talked a lot about the I have and honesty so the I
have this here on the 4th floor and you have all the other big incubators that you do that you read about in this occur for example all the great things they talk about in in Kenya where most of them are in this building all the innovation I just mentioned like and core by there and farm they all sit in this building so this is not a bad thing it's actually really practical because you can just go there to the cafeteria need them all but I think 1 thing that we have to understand is that it's very very small there are already other places around that we have to be patient we and we can't expect that um the the this can be the new the next Silicon Valley in the next a year or 2 years but
instead we should and go beyond the bus and we should say rather support this ecosystem we should support people like noise who want to become entrepreneurs will have great potential and and to do that I think it is crucial to understand the uniqueness of this ecosystem and to also understand the requirements that those entrepreneurs have so because it's always really difficult to come up with a start up entrepreneurship is hot wherever you go no matter if you're in in Berlin in New York or in Silicon Valley but I think it's even harder if you go to Kenya so this is uh what 1 of the guys told me who I talk to John was actually the manager of 1 of the accelerators he said well it's just struggling place so people have a lot of issues to really establish a start up and you have
this typical on needs of an entrepreneur uh which is always fun skills mentoring
support network and collaboration and I think all the entrepreneurs that you ask they'll say well those are the key issues of the main problems and then definitely whoever you ask what's the main problem especially as for example in Berlin they would always say well it's funding we don't have enough money we need more money what was really interesting for me to learn in Kenya the difference is that they need a very
different sort of funding I'm not saying that not at 1 point in time they needs a huge amount to really do marketing staff to scale up we but right now what they need is um actually small amounts and uh might proceed funding so here that we see the percentage this is a study by the G the
main and here we see the percentage of people have of money in Kenya and um venture capital in Silicon Valley and I know I acetyl don't want to compare it to the just to show you this figure that there are just and most of the people in Kenya have to actually find themselves so 60 . 3 % of the Kenyans step start a business by by itself by the using this their own money all 20 . 3 % by using their families money and his next shot shows you
what they actually need because they need money at a very very early stage so this chart is and the the black boxes shows you how much uh or where capital is going to so and seed and growth stage and there are most of them uh capital um there's most capital but then you have this 40 % of demand actually in the ideation phase but there is no 1 giving the money in in this phase and um what they told me is that they don't even need to 10 thousand 20 thousand 30 thousand uh dollars what they needed sometimes just 500 what they need is a thousand all they need is a is a proper smartphone or uh a proper computer so this is actually what they need to start a business because otherwise would vary depending on his having several site businesses and then having several jobs so I think and this is
important to note that this there's a huge difference in finding those start ups than finding a start up in the in Berlin another thing um is the long-term orientation because what you see right now is that there are a lot of companies I'm going to Kenya doing competitions and um arranging all these competitions and competitions great to the extent extend that they on
provide funding and early stage and edges set that they need that but at the same time and they have a kind of any made people to just go to competitions so what you now see is that some people they're they're just serial competition participants so they just go from 1 competition to another because it's an easier way to get money but it doesn't really support you in coming up with a good business model and coming up with a sustainable solutions but they actually support your other and having a good pitch deck or doing a good presentation and so on some and that that should change they all which would be really helpful that instead of getting a huge price them around all the money for the price he should that I give them and and a monthly salary or work in hardware or a room where they could work and we got in this room where they could work this is 1 of the accelerators which is not in the I hope
building not and the Bishop Margolis and it's uh 88 MPH and done places like this act extremely helpful for any entrepreneur they're extremely helpful for an entrepreneur here in Berlin so people like to go to the bitter house because this helps them to get in that word and that helps them while to meet the right people but in Africa it's even more important because and what it does provide people with is with the fast infrastructure faster Internet infrastructure it provides them with the place where they could just have a drink and to meet someone without an being worried about OK who's going to to pay for the bill and
so I think we just need to understand that places like this are actually even more important um over there and need to be established further and then the other really the interesting thing is hot so um there'd Eric Hirschman
last year he presented the break at the at the Republican governor who remembers that we want yeah who who had it further break is uh the Garuda which um they constructed in Kenya and they said OK the problem is right now we get all this hardware from the western world which is produced for needs in uh New York or in San Francisco but this doesn't really um refer to our demand and doesn't refer to our need instead what we need is a Ruger that really fits with our environment so uh of course for example with the dominant energy shortcuts which is in 1 of the main problems but then I they had all these problems of coming up with the technical solution because it was so difficult to to come and produce hardware in Kenya and this is 1st of all because it's really expensive to import the material so you pay tax you pay a double of taxes on the price that you just pay for the product and M. which is also a problem is that most of the people don't really have the skills and obviously there is so
much untapped potential when it comes to hardware so um they could come up with great solutions but they need the good good surrounding to do so and a Gnostic monotonous and have a thing you there business skills so here you see on uh under the
nose well ask where their their educational backgrounds and you see that the 46 per cent of them they have a background in 19 and M. only 11 % have a background in business management and I don't want to leave the impression that business management as the only skill that you need to really boost uh a start up and in Kenya because I think it takes much more to really navigate in that market because it is a difficult market but still business skills like marketing like uh yeah you well this is the stuff that you need to put that on I really crucial to support and those start ups because right now a lot of them come up with good apps because they are now able to do those apps uh and to build those apps just like noise told me she's going to this
w 3 schools um home page and their teachers self how to how to code but at the same time she then usually um can't find the right people to support a really come up with a good business ideas so in right now there are a lot of experts in Nairobi you um are involved in those teams and they come from schools in them in in the US for example or in Europe and they bring their skills and those arms that usually I very um successful but I think on the long run of course that shouldn't be the option it's a good nice thing to have that you have to multicultural teams and I think that's nice but it doesn't it shouldn't be like it's it's a must that you have someone on like this on a team so to have a successful venture and another thing is that um where there's a real lack is in terms of
supporting and the talent and here take an example of a lot of American because I think this is interesting for any sort of start up a environment what they do is that they take some people who just come out of high school and they put them into a start up for 2 years and then of course they hope that after so come up with a set up themselves and programs like this for people in Kenya or in these um fragile ecosystems would be really helpful to to provide them with the relevant knowledge that they need to but it's not only problems like this itself also just internships so that it's easier for
them to do an internship abroad I just talked to the guys who are you now for the global gathering and it's still so hard for them to get a visa so things like this have to be made easier because they bring a lot of great skills and them they did what they do can be really inspiring also for start up here and in but then of course so this is what I'm saying it it also needs to more exchange programmes so this is an exchange program between us and Germany Tunisia and
Egypt and where people actually come together and and and work on the start ups and together and things like this could be also implemented some for 4 African countries and and then of
course the future of virtual collaboration because when I realize talk to and guys innocent it was of these problems that we can't find designers and that there is a place in the world where there are a lot of designers but they have like and some analysis so more and sort of collaboration exchange would be really helpful here to support those teams but also to support other teams here so I'm not I want to stress that I don't think it's all about supporting helping uh the Kenyan taxiing but this is
also a a definitely added value for our ecosystem and then of course conferences like this 1 like um Republic out where they bring a lot of them people together but where and there is a lot of exchange but for all this kind of stuff people need uh and traveling funds because there are mines and conferences around Africa as well but it's it's really expensive for them to travel so here it would be really earn ng oes development organizations who should support this by giving travel funds it and um yes coming back to know
noise so she's actually looking for an internship and so if any 1 of you have the start of something and the wants to get in touch with him and I want to learn from her and I want to move also in in new business and please feel free to contact me and I'm really excited to see what is going on in the next years and what will happen to noise and what with what kind of ideas come up and um this was just a brief overview of of uh um for some some impressions of what I've seen in Kenya but
um there is a report and you can download it here and there's also some further reading and there's
more detailed information and also more detailed recommendations and on uh the canon taxis the great thank you
thank you
reason yeah