MIT Sloan School of Management’s Africa Business Club is hosting their annual African business conference this weekend at the MIT Media Lab. Central to the discussions at the conference will be how innovative and promising ideas from the continent can take root and transform into sustainable and impactful businesses. The agenda at the conference will explore the origins of sound business ideas to an in-depth discussion of the launching and eventually scaling of African businesses. Here are four things to look out for at the conference:
1. Amazing Speakers
Some of the leading thought leaders and industry experts will be at the conference, speaking at the keynotes and panel sessions. Some of these speakers include the President of Mauritius, Her Excellency Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Mr. Ola Oresanya, Managing Director of Globatech Remedial and Ken Entete, CEO of the Century Group. The leaders are some of the leading policy makers and business experts in the continent and are sure to ignite conversations around the theme of innovation.
2. Pitching Competition
Six startups from around the continent will be competing for prize money at the sidelines of the event. The startups are working on a wide range of issues and include:
i. Safi Sarvi, a startup that aims to use locally available resources to create a carbon-negative fertilizer that will improve yield by 30% and reduce CapEx costs to 1/1000 of current costs.
ii. Flock Tracker, a company working to map informal public transportation networks in Lagos, Nigeria to democratize field data collection.
iii. Blood Coagulation Testing Device, a team working to provide a low-resource, cell phone powered diagnostic tool for assessing coagulation status. This team has done clinical trials at MGH and will perform a trial in Kenya this summer.
iv. The Mozambique School Lunch Initiative which is creating a marketplace between farmers and school lunch programs in Mozambique.
v. Jiko Electric, a Rwandan start-up distributing high efficiency ovens which use significantly less fuel and produce less toxic emissions than current stoves.
vi. Bloomer Tech, which create a wearable product (shirt) to track cardiovascular health in Sub-Saharan African populations given the high prevalence of heart disease in these countries.
Ten cool startups will be at the Harvard Africa Business Conference, gaining mentorship through Harvard’s Startup Lab and competing for up to $15,000 …
3. Panels about real issues
Over the course of the conference, there will be multiple panel discussions revolving around ideation, the conditions necessary for success, financing for businesses, and highlighting some of the entrepreneurship stories. The panel discussions will include venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, academics and policy maker.
4. Vision Talks
These talks 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. The two leaders speaking at the conerence are Abayomi Awobukun, a business leader from Nigeria, committed to developing and building successful teams to optimize stakeholder value and Sbusiso Leope, a media personality and businessman; and the co-founder of the first 100% black owned energy drink brand, MoFaya.
Whatever brings you to the conference this weekend, you will surely have a great time. Click here for more information
Image Credit: Ayiba Magazine