|Description||Connecting entrepreneurs and investors|
|Seed, 9/2013 ||$2M|
VC4Africa.com believes that entrepreneurship should be the main driver in Africa’s economic growth, in particular the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that provide much of Africa’s employment, income and hope for a better future. SMEs contribute around two thirds of national income and provide the foundation for a stable middle class in many African countries. They help form strong communities and are a powerful force for poverty reduction. SMEs play a significant role in building economic stability and sustainability for the future. As Africa enters the new millennium it faces a challenge to provide better economic opportunities for citizens through sustained growth and alleviating the poverty that has long plagued the continent. The NEPAD (New Economic Platform for African Development) and the United Nations Millennium Goals for 2015, to which the EU-countries have all subscribed, have set out ambitious aims in this respect. The World Economic Forum in Davos and the G8 have also made the commitment to stimulate private and public investments in Africa. However, it’s our belief that the most meaningful impact will still come from grassroots entrepreneurship and local efforts. It is important to support this bottom-up approach of citizens working to tackle local challenges and build on the idea that any person anywhere in the world might have the skills, knowledge and resources needed to make a difference.
Millions of entrepreneurs building innovative companies across the continent that serve to redefine Africa and lead it into the 21st century. To lead the charge in establishing the continent as a dynamic and creative hotbed for innovation and social development tapping into limitless potential.
VC4Africa aims to connect innovative entrepreneurs (and their ideas) with access to knowledge, markets and capital i.e. mentors, business partners and investors. The focus is on entrepreneurs with innovative projects that apply new technology, new media, the web, mobile and green energy. Extra emphasis is placed on social entrepreneurs, otherwise individuals that make use of these tools in ways that betters the environment and society while making a profit.
How are we doing this?
Leveraging the power of new media technologies, VC4Africa aims to lower existing barriers to entry i.e. lack of information, viable networks and capital to name a few. The VC4Africa platform is free for anyone to join and the entire network (and its content) is open and accessible to anyone (registered or not*). At the same time, any member is able to contribute to VC4Africas own development. A core vision behind the project is that VC4Africa is only a platform within a larger social movement. Open communication and collaboration is encouraged and all members are invited to become active participants in both growing and developing the VC4Africa community. This means members are encouraged to invite new members, post content, start discussions, initiate networking events and join the VC4Africa management team in a more concerted effort to grow, develop and evolve the concept.
*Anyone can access VC4Africa content. The system and network is open to anyone who is interested. That said, direct participation or engagement with the network requires registration and an obligation to abide by the community established rules. See our Disclaimer & Terms of Service.
Building a viable community of entrepreneurs and investors it is important to let members engage the VC4Africa community (+/- 7000 members) via the social networking platforms that feel most comfortable and are the most useful to them. Currently the community can be found on social networking platforms like Linkedin (+/- 4500 members), Ning (+/- 2000 members), Facebook (+/- 200 members) and Twitter (+/- 3700 members). Members of the VC4Africa community use these social platforms to connect with other members and to exchange knowledge, information and contacts.
Member initiated networking events:
Second to networking online, VC4Africa makes use of the Barcamp model for events and organizes its own VC4Africa Meetups, otherwise informal networking events initiated by any member in the network interested in bringing together members in their own area. Events have already been hosted in Johannesburg, Kampala, Nairobi, Abuja, San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C. and London. The power of these events is that any member can set up their own event giving them a sense of ownership. It brings in new members and makes the network accessible locally. It also establishes future points of contact. Want to initiate your very own VC4Africa Meetup?
We engage members:
The VC4Africa community also initiated an as Officers Programe used to engage active members in running and building the network. Officers take on different tasks in managing the community and are responsible for specific functions i.e. someone that manages the blog, someone that invites new members on Linked in or responsible for growing the network on Facebook. These individuals are instrumental to the vitality of the project and help spread the word virally through their own networks. Moreover, they bring in new ideas and make valuable contributions that help define the scope and focus of the project. Interested in joining the VC4Africa Officers Program?
Given the current structure members are well empowered to interact, find and share information within a network dedicated to building innovative businesses in Africa.
Ben White Founder VC4Africa.com firstname.lastname@example.org