AIN Conference Durban, Tuesday 16th March 2010

March 23, 2010 at 10:03 am | Posted in AgriTech, AIN, Business Support, Economic Development, ICT, incubation, incubator, Online Community, startup, Tools | Leave a comment
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AIN  

I left home at 8am Sunday 14th to travel from Edinburgh to Durban (RSA). It was 6 deg C. 

It was my first ever flights with Emirates and I will definitely use them again if the opportunity arises. Dubai is a stunning airport terminal with every facility you could wish for to pamper your needs. 

Touched down safely and smoothly but somewhat tired at in Durban 6pm local time on Monday evening after international transfers at Manchester and Dubai. Local temperature was a magical 26 deg C!! 

The Airport was busy. This is clearly a World Cup venue as I read all the advertising on display. Pity I am 82 days early and Scotland did not qualify. I am not allowed to say “Anyone but England” as that is deemed to be racist here in UK!! Well we can but hope – “”Come oan South Africa“” we will be watching every move? 

BTW What is this Fitba’ Friday thingie I hear people speaking aboot? (Sorry I do lapse into my Scots vernacular when I start to get excited.) 

Wow – the AIN conference is up on the adverts too – well done Pat & Zama @ ProactivePR. 

AIN conference 2010 

Don’t ya just luv that logo………growing Africa through incubation – yup that works for me. 

At breakfast on Tuesday I met Dr Mbarou Mbaye from Senegal one of the AIN committee members. I had previously talked with Mbarou via Skype so I already knew she is on the infoDEV global research Study team – incubator support for women into business. More on that topic later. 

Delegates continued to appear at our beautiful new venue Coastlands upon the Ridge during Tuesday – early for the conference which was due to start on the Wednesday. I find lasting and effective relationships often start with chance meetings during the times before during and after these collaborative events and today was no exception. 

In no particular order I met Dr. Julie Momah from the Technology Incubation Centres, Nigeria, Ms. Valerie da Costa, head of infoDEV, Steve Giddings, Regional Facilitator, Jill Sawers, InfoDEV Consultant and Ellen Olafsen, Operations Officer from infoDEV. 

InfoDEV support has been crucial and a catalyst and attractor for leveraging government and regional funding much of what has happened to grow AIN to this point – our third Annual Conference in Southern Africa. 

Chris

Chris

 

Another AIN committee member from Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town, CEO , Chris Vermuelen, arrived and we shared experiences on running competitions to select entrepreneurs suitable for incubation support and facilitation. I know he burned the the midnight oil Tuesday/Wednesday to make sure all the entries for the Cape competition were compliant as the 17th was the closing day for entries. Who says men can’t multi-task? 

The BWB Cisco online Entrepreneurial programme has just launched and sounds really good. It is a new exciting initiative for sub Saharan Africa! Good on you Chris. 

Jayesh Ravjee from STP / SABTIA and Michael Reddy FURNTECH /AIN hosted an informal evening meeting to welcome the infoDEV and AIN team members to Durban and to share progress on all fronts – Sub Sahara in advance of the Conference. 

Compared to other regional business incubation networks we are coming from behind. We have just reached 500+ subscribers for our Newsletter, while infoDEV have 5000 subscribers world-wide. Pulling our socks up with this conference is a timely and welcome shot in the arm for everyone interested in making a difference within Africa. 

infoDEV Nokia

infoDEV & Nokia partners

 

For their part Valerie gave us a good heads up, prior to her leading presentation in the morning. The “ink is still wet” on infoDEV’s recently agreed 2 year €11.9 million programme “Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy” with support from Nokia and the Government of Finland. This will target Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe with particular support for countries including Cambodia (initiatives to support women), Nepal, Mozambique, Tanzania and Vietnam (initiatives to support women). 

With 4.6 billion mobile users around the world today we have the world’s biggest platform for economic development. It can clearly be utilised to transform the ability of the illiterate and computer-less population within developing world giving unfettered access to support within rural and urban communities. 

The recent Mobile Monday rollouts are a core part of raising awareness and the impact of mobile technology can have within Africa 

MobileMonday to launch chapters in Africa
09 Feb 2010 MobileMonday has announced the opening of chapters in Kampala, Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya. The Kampala chapter opens its doors on March 8, and the Nairobi chapter launches on March 11. A new South African chapter will also open in Capetown. After over a year of background work, the global organization formed a partnership with the World Bank to take the community’s concepts to several African countries. … 

and so to bed, my head reeling with new opportunities for sub Saharan Africa……….tomorrows conference launch awaited us.

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