Digital divide narrows

June 9, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Posted in B2C, Business Support, Economic Development, ICT, networking, Online Community | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

fibreFrance Telecom and 19 partners will invest 700 million dollars to bring high-speed Internet to 20 countries in western Africa, the company said in a statement yesterday.

The Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) fibre-optic cable will stretch 17 000 kilometres underwater from France to South Africa, and is slated to be completed in 2012.

It will connect 23 countries en route, including Spain and Portugal and countries along the western coast of Africa including Mauritania, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Landlocked Mali and Niger will be connected by an overland cable.

France Telecom will contribute $250-million of the $700-million (R5.42-billion) cost of the project, according to the agreement.

“By signing this agreement, France Telecom-Orange is reinforcing its presence on the African continent and helping to reduce the digital divide in the region,” the company said in the statement.

The above reminds me that I have read some time in the past that Google and chosen partners were launching 4 satellites to provide land locked Africans’ access to the Internet.

Can anyone advise us whether this is happening and if so whether it will improve rural access to the Internet?

Advertisements

AIN DURBAN UPDATE

April 12, 2010 at 8:05 am | Posted in AIN, Economic Development, incubation, incubator, networking, Online Community | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
This bunch of AIN delegates were the first of three visiting parties to tour SmartXchange and to get an inside track from Robynne and Rajesh as to how the incubator is so successful with their ICT clients and sponsors.

SmartXchange Visit
SmartXchange Visit AIN delegates

 

Thanks to John for sending us the photo to share with you all. 
SMARTXCHANGE APPROACH
SMARTXCHANGE APPROACH

AIN Durban has top billing in this months infoDEV news on www.idisc.net.

We also have increased our AIN subscribers [+21%], profiled members [+70%] and identified incubation locations [+18%] during the aftermath of the Conference.
AIN on YouNoodle 
pre-conf=502 subscribers 77 profiles 
post-conf= 608 [+21%]subscribers 131 profiles [+70%]

AIN on LinkedIN 
pre-conf=144 profiles, 
post-conf=157 profiles [+9%]

Mapped African Incubators
pre-conf=143 locations, 
post-conf=169 locations [+18%]
Thanks to all of you who have updated your profiles and alerted us to additional incubators and support initiatives sub Sahara!
 
PS WE HAVE GONE BACK THROUGH THE CONFERENCE eDIARY AND REFRESHED ALL THE LINKAGES TO THE SPEAKERS PRESENTATIONS. enjoy!!

AIN April Newsletter brings visitors to our Blog

March 30, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Posted in AIN, networking, Online Community | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

Guid evening fellow incubation professionals   

Tonight we celebrate achieving 600 AIN subscribers – thank you all for following our progress. Let us target 1000 before the end of June 2010? Please invite your colleagues to register on our AIN on YN portal.   

The delivery yesterday of our April Newsletter has immediately increased the number of visitors coming to read our eDiary of events in Durban. As we can see below, this is good.    

AIN blog

AIN blog visitors

 

On the other hand we can also see that the majority of people are reluctant to comment or post.    

So we have the dilemma – which is more interesting to listen to? A monologue or a dialogue?    

AIN Visitors

AIN Visitors - March 2010

What causes a person to engage and share their thoughts before they leave the room – or upon reflection come back in to add value to the conversation.  By making even one comment you can make a difference.    

Interesting and rich exchanges will also encourage our members to subscribe to this blog – keen to keep abreast of knowledge exchanges and current thinking.    

How can we continue where we all left off a week past Friday in Durban? Which topics do you feel need more insight and support?    

PS our weather warnings tonight tell of blizzards and snow 12″-15″ here by early morning. I am heading back to Durban……….

Links to eDiary of the AIN Conference sessions and events

March 29, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Posted in AgriTech, AIN, Business Support, Economic Development, ICT, incubation, incubator, networking, Online Community, startup, Tools | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
You can just keep scrolling down and go back through time – OR you can click on the links to go straight to your session or event of choice.  As expressed in our newsletter to all AIN subscribers today, please add your comments, observations, tuppence worth and photos.
 
Pre Conference Journey I left home at 8am Sunday 14th to travel from Edinburgh to Durban (RSA). It was 6 deg C……..DAY 1 Welcome to all – Official opening
Session 1 Our international Perspective of incubation in Africa
Session 2
  Role of Incubation in Local Economic Development
SABTIA AGM  A look on the inside
Official Welcome Reception on the harbour front – POINT Yacht Club, Durban [I forgot to take my camera :(( – please post your photos ]DAY 2
Session 1   Women Youth and Rural Incubation 
Session 2  Good Practices and Economies of Scale 
& Session 3     Technology Incubation 
Gala Evening Dinner and entertainment  Dignitaries and Divas 
DAY 3
Touring Durban & award-winning Incubators
 
 
 

2010 AFRICAN INCUBATION CONFERENCE – GALA EVENING DINNER 18th March

March 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Posted in AIN, Economic Development, incubation, networking, Online Community | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

By 7:30pm we had all arrived and were seated in a grand setting at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Durban.       

Our Programme Director for the evening Mr Sbu Kunene stepped up to the podium, bid us welcome and warmed us up for the main acts to come.  Regaling us with his reading prowess –  reading how red wine and red meat are not good for you and stopping both the very same day. His third book told how smoking can also damage your health – so Sbu stopped reading immediately .  

Sbu should be on the telly – time after time he had us believing he was on a serious tack and then hit us with his punchline. Jings how can we be so gullible?        

Ms_Lupuwana_AIN_Gala

Ms Lupuwana welcomes delegates and dignitaries to the AIN Gala Dinner

 

 Ms. Hlonela Lupuwama, CEO Seda: topped off her ever-present conference attendance record assuredly by giving us the Welcome Address, including several dignitaries wishing to hear what we had been doing here in Durban for the last 2 days. Ms Lupuwana is clearly a champion of incubation and knows she is speaking to those of us who are in the incubator vanguard.       

Next up was a former classmate of Sbu’s. KwaZulu-Natal MEC Economic Development and Tourism the Honourable Mike Mabuyakhula. In his first sentence he promised not to try to match the humour and entertainment of Sbu and then delivered a superb riposte about  Sbu not reading the right books!       

mike_mabuyakhula _AIN_Gala

MEC Mike Mabuyakhula addresses our AIN Gala dinner

 

We were also treated to an anecdotal story, if I recall correctly, of the two business people each gifted $1M with the proviso that they returned in 5 years time to see who was the most entrepreneurial.  

The first reckoned that with a $1M he had achieved as much as he would in his lifetime and proceeded to sit back and enjoy the benefits of accumulating such wealth.  

The second was so chuffed at being a millionaire, but worried and was concerned that if he spent even $1 he would then no longer be a millionaire? 

However he also had the “triple S’s ”  in his DNA that each entreprenueur is born with.?  

S1 – the innate desire to SEEK and find commercial opportunities.
S2 – The vision to SEARCH for ways to take these opportunities to market.
S3 – The ambition to SUCCEED where others might give up.
  

Starting with the simple idea of buying and selling fruit on a market stall the second person came back to the donor at the end of 5 years a self-made billionaire, with a chain of franchised fruit stalls and stores across the country.  

The second person, despite the donors support of the$1M kick start, told how he was declared a bankrupt having squandered his money within 3 years.  

 We then heard an endorsement of incubation and the difference it is making on the ground, particularly  here in the Eastern Provinces. AIN Address – MEC, Economic Development and Tourism, Michael Mabuyakhulu 

Suffice to say we gave the MEC a standing ovation at the end of his address . Designed to encourage himself and his fellow ministers to deliver the investment promised from KwaZulu-Natal and RSA government in return for more success in KNZ. Similarly to pass on the challenge for the other Provincial and African Governments and Public and Private Partners who do look South-South wishing enviously to emulate and replicate African firsts  – Pan Africa.    

CEO’s and representatives of the SABTIA regional incubators were each called forward  to be presented with Recognition Awards my MEC Mike for the contributions each are making to economic development and recovery in Southern Africa.   

As we then sat down to our dinner entertainment for the evening was provided by local talent. Joe Nina, family and friends guested and created such a great atmosphere to celebrate our week that delegates sang and danced till the midnight hour.       

Julie, Charles and Mbarou

Julie, Charles and Mbarou

 

http://www.last.fm/listen/artist/Joe%2BNina/similarartist… 

Joe Nini and Friends   

Joe Nina jamming with friends and family
Delegates get in the mood to party

AIN Delegates get in the mood to party Hilton style

 

 
Patricia and David

Patricia and David in the mood

 

Sipho and friends are "rapped" by JN

 

Cinderella time

Mbarou, David and Julie chillout - Cinderella time approaches

 

Richard and Julie await oor coach n horses

Richard and Julie await oor coach n horses

     

SABTIA AGM @ AIN Conference 2010 17/03/2010

March 25, 2010 at 8:46 am | Posted in AIN, Business Support, Economic Development, incubation, incubator, networking, Online Community | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

SABTIA
For the first time I was able to join and meet, as an interested observer, our colleagues for the Southern African Business & Technology Incubation Association at their 2010 AGM.

SABTIA covers the SADC area
Angola
Botswana
DRC
Lesotho
Madagascar
Malawi
Mauritius
Mozambique
Namibia
Seychelles
South Africa
Swaziland
Tanzania
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Outgoing Chairman Jayesh Ravjee, Treasurer, Patricia Dlamini and AIN Conference Organiser Michael Reddy reported to all those in attendance how the financial and membership needs and concerns had been overcome by the core committee during the last 12 months. The changes in personnel, jobs and locations all acted as barriers from time to time but have been turned into advantages by key decision makers whom everybody recognised from the floor.

Africa FaceMichael Reddy gave an overview and vision of what lies ahead for AIN in order that AIN and SABTIA can work hand in glove to seek opportunities for growth of incubation and incubator networking Pan Africa, not just Southern Africa the SABTIA remit. Such cooperation and partnership is crucial to future success. The prospect of even stronger regional networking and the support of Governments within East, West and North Africa similar to that being achieved and delivered within the South is one of the missions and goals emerging from this conference.

To have done so in such difficult circumstance and yet delivered what is being recognised already on DAY 1,  as the best AIN conference in its 4 year history, is a credit to the efforts of everyone who have pulled and pushed together as a voluntary team effort. Everyone showed their heart-felt appreciation. Outgoing office bearers undertook and will ensure a proper handover to the new incumbents.

SADC

The election then took place and the office bearers for 2010-11 are as follows:

Chairperson Michael Reddy, FURNTECH, RSA
Vice Chairperson, Sipho Moshoane, eGlioBio, RSA,
Treasurer, Mthunzi Nyandeni Seda Construction Incubator, RSA
SABTIA secretary, Colin Mkhonta, Chemin, RSA, 
Other Committee members
Jayesh Ravjee, Seda, RSA
Tshiano Mosojane, BOTEC, Botswana

With formalities over – everyone headed to get ready for the buses taking us to the Official Welcome Reception on the harbour front – POINT Yacht Club, Durban. PYC

AIN Conference Durban, AM Wednesday 17th March 2010

March 24, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Posted in AgriTech, AIN, Business Support, Economic Development, ICT, incubation, incubator, Online Community, startup, Tools | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Up early and revised my speech. Nerves and adrenalin kick in as we move towards the commencement of first day’s proceedings. Decide to skip breakfast and to have a hearty lunch once I have spoken!! Check out my ppt works (phew safety net in place, now I can deliver it?) 

Day1Discover we will have a full conference room with 130+ delegates. There have been a number of last-minute entries and arrivals.  

As everyone registers, we get delegate bags, agendas and brochures including a superb publication “celebrating incubation in Africa 2010” packed with incubator facts, client success stories and forewords from Valerie, Michael and Jayesh. If the proceedings can match this standard of knowledge and dissemination – boy are we all going to be glad we came. 

Incubator exhibitorsThe adjacent room is for coffee and breakout networking and already the place is buzzing. Lots of smiles and handshakes as we re-aquaint or meet for the first time face to face. We are surrounded by exhibition stands revealing the breadth and depth of markets’ AIN and SEDA incubator clients are already taking to Domestic and International markets. 

exhibit2 

These range from essential oils, natural extracts and nutrients for the starving and rural many to products for thoroughbred race horses – organic & “green” cleaning and disinfectants for hospitals – Crafts and jewelry, smart software, digital media and e-commerce. 

One stand is dedicated to franchise opportunities – never thought of bog rolls as a route into your own business? 

Definitely worth spending more time here speaking to the staff and their clients – add to dac’s  TO DO list. 

Koogan Nairoo our programme director gets us all seated and gives us taste for what lies ahead. [click to view doc] Calm and unflappable – just what you need when logistics of late arriving speakers raise their heads. 

AIN2010_Official_opening

Welcome and Official opening By Hlonela, Logie, Valerie, Jayesh & Michael

 

Firstly the CEO of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA): Ms. Hlonela Lupuwana performed the official opening declaring not only how wedded South Africa is to incubation for economic growth but showing her personal committment to AIN and SABTIA by remaining with us throughout the 2 days proceedings – a first in my experience of previous conferences. Thank you. 

Opening addressMr. Deputy Mayor, Councillor Logie Naidoo avoiding the jokes about the gridlock and Durban traffic welcomed us all to Durban, He regaled us with why come to Durban? It has the World Cup venue closest to the beach and with the most sunshine – we must all decide to be here in June. The best stadium, the city with the most fibre connectivity, the best incubators recognised by the World bank and infoDEV, the best conference venue in Africa AND the best Local and Provincial governments. 

Valerie

Valerie da Costa, Head of infoDEV

 

Now we were all spellbound and glad to be here. We listened as Ms Valerie da Costa Head of infoDEV presented their new investment strategy to the Conference. [click to view ppt] Lots of opportunities for partnership, collaboration and action – just the food to give the troops, sitting on the stage I could see the cogs ticking and the pens writing furiously hanging on her every word. 

THEN Jayesh whispers I am up second before and NOT after him. Before I realise I am in full swing – trying not to get too excited  – speak slowly David as with your dialect no one will understand a word………. 

growing Africa through incubationGrowing the African Incubation Network [click to view ppt] Solvebrand is based in Scotland 1 hour north of Edinburgh but in real-time it is “only an arm’s length away” [between head & keyboard] from everybody in AIN and our virtual business incubator clients within North America, Europe, Africa and New Zealand!
We started using Skype in 2002 as no. 70,000 and 70,001  to support and collaborate with our network. 

David

David, AIN webmaster

 

Now when we go online over 20M people are talking at the same time. VOIP has saved our incubator $10000 in telephone costs alone. Two examples of our most successful clients are Dr Phil Harrington, YouBloom, based in LA/Ireland and Jessica Fulmer Mo-DV Inc, HQ in San Francisco. 

Nobody looks like they are falling asleep from jet lag – good – proof will come in the question time.  

I then showed the audience that;
* From the 50+ incubators on our AIN Bing map 6 months ago, we have now located over 150 incubation centres and hotspots in 25 countries.
* From the 300+ AIN membership, we now have accumulated 500 subscribers including diaspora and expats seeking to support African Incubators and entrepreneurs.
* I also took the opportunity to explain the recent membership experiments with AIN on LinkedIN [click to join  – sourcing fellow incubator professionals, supporters and mentors] and AIN on YouNoodle [click to join – tools for AIN newsletters, networking, competitions and forecasting ventures’ success]. 

Jayesh

Jayesh, Seda STP International perspective

 

Jayesh completed our International Perspective by showing us the impact incubation is making within Southern Africa.   “Turning 8 in 10 failures into 8 in 10 successes”  STP Incubators in Comparison Internationally [click to view ppt] 

AIN RSAI noted there are 29  STP-supported incubators across South Africa serving 17 industry sectors and sub-sectors. 
  1 x Private Sector Incubator  
  4 x Incubators that have Local and Provincial Govt support
  Approx another 5 that do Incubation related services  

Incubation in RSA has been around for approx 10 years  
Almost all Incubators are not University based.  
All STP Incubators models have been adopted internationally but adapted to South African needs creating – Growth, Equity and Employment. 

We now all sat down bang on time and opened the floor to questions – they came thick and fast from the floor, many probed, some enhanced others thirsty for more examples. A lively and rewarding exchange of professional and succinct responses. …………..and so downstairs to lunch

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
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

AIN online community

February 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Posted in Business Support, Economic Development, incubation, Online Community | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

You can join, contribute and benefit from AIN online community activities by registering your interest at these three initiatives. Approval is normally granted within 24 hours.

1] – sharing incubation knowledge, resources and discussions on a secure portal www.ainportal.org

2] – sharing your professional bio, contacts , experience and expertise on AIN on LinkedIN .

3] – Profiling and sharing your startups and incubatees as well as prediciting their future growth and success using AIN on YouNoodle analytical tools

AIN on WordPress!

February 15, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Posted in AIN, ICT, incubation, Online Community, Tools | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Welcome to the blog page for the African Incubator Network. Our webmaster and editor for this blog is David Cromar.

Looking forward to meeting everyone in Durban for the 2010 Conference. Registrations are still open until the 27th February.

BTW our knowledge sharing portal can be accessed via www.ainportal.org .

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.