Summer's almost sang its last song, but for a startup there's no rest for the weary! That's why on Tuesday 26 September from 6:30pm, I'm hosting, along with my co-organizer Dama, an exciting line up of speakers who are working in or with startups in sub-Saharan Africa. We'll have private and public sector perspectives, along with a female co-founder of a fast-moving startup in Ethiopia. Spread the word and click here to register!
Our first speaker will be Sam Ajadi of the GSMA's Ecosystem Accelerator team. Sam's talk will focus on the privaate sector and its role in supporting and collaborating with startups in sub-Saharan Africa. He will also touch on the Innovation Fund, which is used to "equity-free funding, technical assistance, and the opportunity to partner with mobile operators in their markets to help scale their products and services into sustainable businesses with positive socio-economic impact."
Sam is an Insights Manager for the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator programme. His role involves providing mobile operators and start-ups across emerging markets with innovation intelligence. He also assists with Innovation Fund-related activities within the Ecosystem Accelerator team. Prior to joining GSMA, Sam was an Analyst at research and consulting firm IHS Markit, covering Africa and the Middle East telecoms market. His key roles involved producing reports on operator performance and strategies, M&A trends, and regulatory developments. Prior to that role, he was a Research Analyst at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.
Our second confirmed speaker is Tizzita Tefera, co-founder of mTena (a maternal health SMS service) and NisreTena (a drone service being developed to provide drone based blood deliveries in remote rural parts of Ethiopia, utilizing the 24 regional blood banks around the country). Tizzita will join us from Addis Ababa via video link, and her talk will traverse her experience as a co-founder of a startup in Ethiopia, the drive to use digital solutions to support women in her country, and the collaborations began with the government.
Tizzita holds an MSc in Social Entrepreneurship from Roskilde University in Denmark. She has been engaged in the third sector for as long as she can remember: From working in the slums of Nairobi with teenage mothers during her undergraduate studies, to volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens while a student in Copenhagen. She also worked for UNICEF Denmark and different local NGOs in Ethiopia before pursuing her startup full-time. Previously, she was part of a team that created an innovation kit for the Copenhagen School of Design & Technology (also known as KEA). As an academic, Tizzita has done research in the field of social entrepreneurship and social innovation in parts of Europe and Africa. Her last significant study examiend how social tech innovation can be used to create impact in Kenya. Tizzita is a Young African Leader Institute (YALI) Fellow, an Ashoka young emerging innovator, and recently represented her startups in Silicon Valley as a Youth Champion, a Rise Up, and Packard Foundation Program. Most recently, she took part in the Collective Global Accelerator in London, which was an amazing month-long experience.
Our third speaker is Stav Bar-Shany of Africa Technology Business Network (ATBN). Stav is a Technology in Emerging Markets specialist and a strategist for organizations looking to use innovation to drive sustainable growth. Prior to ATBN, she co-founded IsraelDev Network- an entrepreneurial community of over 3000 professionals working to harness Israeli innovation for solving challenges in developing markets.
Stav will speak about ATBN's work supporting women-led startups in Africa through their accelerator HerFutureAfrica as well as their upcoming book Founding Womenwhich spotlights leading African female tech founders as role models and help break down barriers preventing young African women from entering the tech space.
Our fourth speaker Christopher Csíkszentmihályi is a technologist whose work draws from the humanities, design, and art. His sociotechnical systems are synthesized to drive political change, and to assist communities in mitigating the negative aspects of globalism. He is currently Scientific Head of the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, where he is also a professor and head of the Critical Technical Practice Lab. Prior to that, he cofounded and directed the MIT Center for Civic Media, dedicated to developing technologies that strengthen communities; he also founded the MIT Media Lab's Computing Culture group, which worked to create unique media technologies for sociocultural and personal political applications. This work imbricated millions of people and led directly to many still-thriving non- and for- profit enterprises. He is on the steering committee of the Digital Civics centre at Newcastle, and DATACTIVE at U. Amsterdam. Csíkszentmihályi also directs the RootIO project, a radio-as-a-service platform with a growing network of highly networked community FM radio stations, which is expanding to around 20 stations in rural areas of Uganda and Cabo Verde by the end of 2018.
Csikszentmihalyi will introduce his background in civic media platforms, and the results of a recent study of the social tech ecosystem in sub-Saharan Africa, conducted by a joint African/European/North American team, which gathered over 110 interviews with professionals in over 20 countries.
Register today and we look forward to seeing you there!