Open Collaboration for African Techies
Infrastructure Is Imperative
As a startup entrepreneur, perhaps you’ve not given it much thought, but infrastructure is vital to your organization’s proper coordination and stable growth. It’s never too early to start planning and implementing the tools and documents necessary to ensure professional performance at an operational level. We’re encouraging local startup entrepreneurs to develop infrastructure that not only serves their organizations, but collaborative utilities that bolster the entire startup ecosystem. This is the knowledge we want to share at the Business Infrastructure Workshop.
Introducing Tim Pubben
Tim Pubben is our most recent visiting fellow who came to us through the Netherlands-based organization, LiveBuild. A business consultant by profession, he’s spent the past month working head-to-head with ActivSpaces entrepreneurs as a business development and strategy advisor. This month, he’s taking point on the Business Infrastructure Workshop to share some new ideas and insights he’s gained during his time in Cameroon.
Venue: ActivSpaces Buea
Day 1: November 27th | 10:00am – 1:00pm
Day 2: November 28th | 10:00am – 1:00pm
The Business Infrastructure Workshop is open for only up to ten startup teams (2 team members per team) so make sure you get your Innovator’s Pass early enough at our Eventbrite page if you would like to participate.
On Day 1, half of the teams will be working on Infrastructural Tools while the other half will be working on Infrastructural Planning. On Day 2, the groups will switch topics and close with presentations.
Participants will leave the workshop with an in-depth understanding of business infrastructure and a business infrastructure toolkit (including their own business model canvas). Tim will also schedule follow-up consulting sessions with interested teams.
The Business Infrastructure Workshop is open to Cameroon-based startups who will be available in Buea for the duration of the program. We’re looking forward to having you join us at ActivSpaces in our continuous journey to foster African innovation.
After taking the 1st runner-up prize at the CSC2012 awards in Douala just over a month ago, King Maker, an innovative cyber cafe ad platform, is preparing itself for market entry in the first half of November 2012. Mohamed Felata, founder of King Maker, has been experimenting with online advertising models since his first web application, KmerBlagues. If you want to understand the simplicity and potential impact of this project, visit King Maker’s page on VC4Africa and go through the material that put this venture in the top three of the Cameroon Startup Challenge.
Third Time’s The Charm
This weekend volunteers from the community are coming together at ActivSpaces to support Mohamed in completing the final tasks necessary to launch his business. While this will mark the third edition in our subCMR series, it also marks Mohamed’s third attempt at penetrating the Cameroonian online ads market. We’ve rallied behind him because every startup understands the utility of a platform that can efficiently point users to their apps and websites.
Join us here at the hub or connect with us online this weekend as we liveblog using CoverItLive (the panel below). The support of the community means everything in making subCMR work.
As Quick As A Tick In An ActivSpaces Minute
Sometimes activities come in whirlwinds and it’s hard to keep you updated about the latest and greatest going on at the hub and beyond. For this reason, I’ve put together this picture story for our supporters to stay abreast of the times at ActivSpaces.
With Hilda Moraa from iHub Research
Hilda flew in from Kenya in September to spend a week with ActivSpaces and carry out a collaborative study on our tech hub and its operational model. We thoroughly enjoyed Hilda’s company, our insightful discussions with her and look forward to connecting with her soon again. The study’s report is available for download here.
1%Event 2012: Our 3rd co-creation event with 1%Club
1%Event 2012 was held in mid-September this year and we were thrilled to be able to participate for our 3rd time. You can check out more pictures on our photostream and you must watch the 1%Event 2012 promo video — gear up for next year!
This year we were fortunate to work with Sanaga Ventures and VC4Africa in challenging Cameroon’s startup community to come forth with innovative business projects. This culminated in a gala awards event at September’s end in Douala where the team behind Djoss.tv, a social TV platform, took the grand prize of $5,000. You can find more information about the competition including 1st and 2nd runners up on Sanaga Ventures’ blog. This program made possible with the strong support and sponsorship of AppsTech.
Collaborative Seminar at l’Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie
In early October ActivSpaces had the opportunity to share some of its experiences in the ICT sector with several organizations around sub-Saharan Africa at a collaborative seminar in Paris organized by l’Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, l’Agence Française de Développement, Orange and the World Wide Web Foundation. We were looking into the kinds of public-private partnerships that can be formed to boost access to education and vocational training using ICT. Materials covering our discussions are available (in French) here.
Coming up in November…
We’ve got a subCMR session with ActivSpaces startup King Maker, a mapping event supported by Google, an outreach program for our WakaWaka Light initiative, and much more. So stay tuned, connect with us and let’s keep building!
The ActivSpaces community has seen strong growth over the last year and we continue to attract many of Cameroon’s best and brightest young techpreneurs. During this period we’ve hosted guests including Loren Treisman of Indigo Trust and Hilda Moraa on behalf of iHub Research, and had our first cross-border collaboration with the Co-Creation Hub Nigeria on a project coordinated by the Goethe Institute. Recently, ActivSpaces co-organized the 2012 Cameroon Startup Challenge, the first competition of its kind for Cameroon, which brought together the country’s top startup teams at a gala awards event. Meanwhile, exciting new corporate partnerships are coming online as we extend our support to the tech community in Douala.
To support this growth and the tech ventures that are emerging in both Buea and Douala, we are pleased to announce an open position for a full-time salaried Director of Business Development. This individual will work closely with our Community Manager to draft strategies with startups, implement business venture workplans and generally support the success of our entrepreneurs. The ideal candidate is an expert in coaching, mentoring and matchmaking, with experience in successfully bringing ideas to market. The Business Development Advisor has the following responsibilities:
Interested parties may apply by sending a CV and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. This new hire is made possible by continued support from Indigo Trust.
Note: This is the second guest post in a series on entrepreneurship by ActivSpaces member Otto Paul Akama.
I am a student and I love entrepreneurship. It is risky, but it is worth it. I very much love the idea of start-ups among students and I think it is a culture to be encouraged. The culture of start-ups has many advantages for the economy and the future of our country, Cameroon. Today I wish to talk on how a start-up culture can help reduce unemployment.
Students give a loud outcry of unemployment and the government replies with a dull statement demanding that the students get self-employed. Whereas, these young people do not have the spirit and culture of independence and of being self-employed. They do not have the Start-Up Culture.
The Start-Up Culture gives many nice things; it helps to make youths stronger and independent. It makes them to create jobs for themselves and helps them to improve their portfolio. It helps to reduce unemployment.
How does it cut down unemployment? I will not say that Start-Ups are a replacement for established companies that have elderly managers with many years of experience. Yes, young people will always need to polish up their academic life with the guidance of older and more experienced teachers and mentors. But the present condition of our country might not give some people that opportunity.
The Start-Up Culture helps students to create small innovative businesses with minimal funds and little or no organisational structure. However, they are expected to survive in business. After some attempts, start-up founders polish their skills, blend their academic knowledge with practicalities, understand what their parents go through to make a living and acquire humility. Some succeed to create sustainable businesses even bigger ones than existed before.
…you might have an opportunity to do the most beautiful things, which are; change lives, create jobs and make the world a better place.
There is hope for success with a start-up culture. However, I am not writing because of this hope. I am writing because of the small ways that this culture can help create new jobs and provide a buffer against unemployment. Suppose you have a start-up or belong to a start-up as a student. Let’s have a look at the worst case scenario: If your venture fails or you exit out of it in any way to get a job, you will be very much preferred by employers than someone who perhaps has never had any work experience. If your venture tries to survive and after you graduate you do not have any job, you still have a your business to hold onto— which is far better than unemployment.
The good part is clear; you become stronger, you might get funded, your business might survive and you might have an opportunity to do the most beautiful things, which are; change lives, create jobs and make the world a better place.
The bottom line is we need a start-up culture in the university campuses in Cameroon. I take myself to be a Start-Up Culture Evangelist in my city, Buea.
This blog is a resource for news, project updates, member profiles and community events at ActivSpaces, an open collaboration space, innovation hub and startup incubator for African techies. Based in Buea, Cameroon.