MIT Africa Innovate 2017

MIT Sloan Presents Africa Innovate Conference 2017

How can innovative and promising ideas take root and transform into sustainable and impactful businesses in Africa? This is the central question of the 2017 Africa Innovate Conference held by MIT Sloan Africa Business Club on April 8th 2017.
This year’s panels will follow the African entrepreneurship process: starting with an exploration of the origins of sound business ideas to an in-depth discussion of the launching and eventually scaling or failing of African businesses. Along the way, they will investigate the conditions necessary for success as well as financing mechanisms available on the continent. They hope that participants will ultimately be inspired to take their own ideas and those that would have surfaced during the day through to impact in all corners of Africa.
Keynote speakers include Mr. Ola Oresanya (Managing Director, Globetech Remedial), Oke Maduewesi (CEO, Zaron Group), and Zim Ugochukwu (CEO, Travel Noire). Their closing keynote speaker this year will be Her Excellency Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius.
Vision Talks, a segment in the conference, will feature Africa-centric entrepreneurs or business leaders who have become successful in the face of many entrepreneurial and operational roadblocks. They share stories on their entrepreneurial journey, successes, reflect on challenging moments and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. This year’s speakers will be Abayomi Awobokun and Sbusiso Leope (DJ Sbu). Abayomi Awobokun is a business leader from Nigeria, committed to developing and building successful teams to optimize stakeholder value. He is a 2016 recipient of the Young Global Leader award conferred on him by the World Economic Forum (WEF); for the most outstanding next generation leaders under 40. He was also nominated by the Choiseul Institute in Paris as 1 of the top 100 under 40 business leaders in Africa. He joins an enviable list of global honorees for both awards. Sbusiso Leope, popularly known as DJ Sbu, is a media personality and businessman; he is the co-founder of the first 100% black owned energy drink brand, MoFaya. Sbu is also a philanthropist who thrives on giving back to the youth of South Africa.
The Conference will host keynote speakers and panels discussing a number of themes, including:
  • Conditions for Success Even the most heroic entrepreneur or bureaucrat can fail if they are launching an initiative in hostile conditions. How many businesses have failed because they cannot support the high cost and fluctuation of energy prices? How many government initiatives have failed because education systems are broken? You will learn from experts, people who have made significant change in preparing Africa to lead, as they discuss what can be done to improve infrastructure and education.
  • Ideation Where do good ideas come from? This panel will posit that they come from the people, the individuals who will use and benefit from new systems. In lieu of a traditional panel, the Ideation theme will follow a workshop model. You will hear from experts in the field of ideation and practice what you learn with an African startup tackling a specific problem.
  • Financing From grants to venture capital, there are many ways to finance an idea. What are the opportunities and risks inherent in these different funding mechanisms? How can we democratize access to them so that revolutionary businesses and social movements can access the capital they need to realize change?
  • Entrepreneurship Until your idea hits the market, it’s just talk, and at the MIT Africa Innovate Conference they have pledged to move beyond talk and encourage action. In this panel, you will hear from entrepreneurs who have successfully brought an idea to market to create impact.
The After Party will be hosted in conjunction with Afrotown Music at Cure Lounge, one of Boston’s Premiere Nightclubs. Live performances by Suki Yaki and Muffius.
Movemeback will be present at the conference, so please stop by to have a chat about some of the most exciting African opportunities out there.

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