Have your say on iDISC – infoDEV’s support center

May 13, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Posted in AIN, Business Support, incubation, incubator, Tools | Leave a comment
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Have your say on iDISC

Take part in the survey on infoDev’s Incubator Support Center (iDISC)

May 2010

infoDev, strives to make sure that their knowledge and collaboration tools are useful to clients and colleagues in the innovation, technology entrepreneurship and international development communities.

The best way to do this is to ask users directly about how infoDEV are doing, how can infoDEV improve, and what else should infoDEV be working on going forward.

InfoDEV have just launched a survey on the usefulness and impact of infoDev’s Incubator Support Center (iDISC).

iDISC was established in 2002 to support ICT and ICT-enabled innovation and entrepreneurship in developing countries by supporting development of business incubators and by providing a knowledge platform to support technology entrepreneurs, SMEs and those involved in helping these companies and entrepreneurs to grow sustainable businesses.

Feedback is critical to help understand iDISC’s client base, broaden its impact, and find the best ways to improve its information and functionality. Please consider taking a few minutes to complete this important survey by Friday 28 May, 2010.

The initial results of this survey will be published in June, 2010 and a more extensive report and analysis later on. This is a real opportunity to have significant influence on iDISC’s future direction and priorities.

Make sure your views are heard!

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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
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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
 
 
 

DURBAN TOUR FRIDAY 19TH MARCH – AIN CONFERENCE VISIT

March 28, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Posted in AIN, Business Support, Economic Development, incubation, incubator, startup | Leave a comment
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PAUL N JOE

SMART XCHANGE DURBAN thanks Robynne n Rajesh

 

FURNTECH 1

FURNTECH 1

 

FURNTECH2

FURNTECH thanks Iegshaan, Beryl & staff

 

FURNTECH3

FURNTECH3

 

ROAD BUILDING

ROAD BUILDING

 

FRUIT STALL

FRUIT STALL

 

SIC MURAL

Seda Construction Incubator MURAL - thanks Mthunzi

 

WORLD CUP STADIUM ARCH

SKYLIFT BECKONS

 

DAVID THANKS MICHAEL
DAVID THANKS MICHAEL
DURBAN BOARDWALK
DURBAN BOARDWALK
SKYLIFT - throw oot the anchor!!
SKYLIFT – throw oot the anchor!!

DIETER N DAVID SAY FAREWELL

DIETER N DAVID SAY FAREWELL

 

 

 

PARTING COMPANY

AIN Conference Durban, PM Wednesday 17th March 2010

March 24, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Posted in AIN, Business Support, Economic Development, ICT, incubation, incubator, startup | 1 Comment
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Lunch was sprinkled with gems – meeting colleagues for the first time that I have collaborated with over the past three years only by phone, Skype and email. Amongst the notables were Phindile, Lynnette, Leone, Lalane, Charles, Ben, Iegshaan, Gordon & Quinton.    

Mark, Beryl, Lee, Alan, Goosain & Paul introduced themselves with business cards and brochures and the new bits of the AIN network jigsaw started to get filled around the edges for me.    

After lunch, we moved on to the role of Incubation in Local Economic Development.

This session was moderated by Mr. Phindile Tshabangu, who is the Business Developer for Innovus Technology Transfer, at the University of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape Province South Africa. Phindile is a cool dude when it come to cartoons!!    

Mr. Nigel Gwynne Evans, Director: Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape Provincial Government in South Africa.    

no seats left

Standing room only today

 

Coming after lunch, Nigel came into the don’t dare fall asleep or you will miss some important advice.   Clusters – A framework for Incubation 
Touring Cluster networks in Italy and France brought us to why the Western Cape seem well versed in using incubation as an economic development lever. It came across loud and clear and goes back 14 years now. With 24 established and emerging clusters  – Michael Porter must have visited here for sure?      

‘Nigels department is 250 strong and surely plays hardball in winning budget and projects for his region. Sounds like they have 7 new incubators in the pipeline too – WOW what a note to finish upon!!!! NB Must add Cape Town to my To Do list [and maybe tour the wine cluster] – sheesh I need more paper.    

Nigel’s demand that  Sector Focused Incubators should not be considered unless framed within a cluster context! ensured that we ended his presentation on the edge of our seats with questions in mind.    

in conferenceMr. Phillip Sithole, the Head of Business Support and Markets Unit in the Ethekwini Municipality (of which this beautiful city of Durban is a part), gave us the Eastern Coast experience.  { NB Presentation to be uploaded when available} Philip also whetted our appetite for Fridays tour of Durban’s good and great incubators with SMART XCHANGE top of our list.     

Mr. Caiphus Chauke, the Executive Director is responsible for Local Economic Development in the Tshwane Metro, in Gauteng South Africa.   ENTERPRISE INCUBATION Development Strategy, Twashane LED. RSA 
With a staff of 11 (jings maybe small but performing miracles) he made sure we became aware of the way incubation and technology demonstration centres have mitigated the downturn in manufacturing while strengthening the supply chains and recently  attracting Foreign Direct Investment from the likes of BMW and Ford to his province and elsewhere in South Africa. RSA is definitely punching above its weight in the 21st C.    

With strong support and training programmes for University graduates and entrepreneurs,  Caiphus’s team and their Public and Private Partners have another 9 incubators are in the planning pipeline. Do they get any sleep I wonder.    

Densely populated [90% increase in Southern region and +22% overall ] and with many educational challenges – Caiphus explained the strategic sectoral programmes being implemented with alacrity and focus.  
—Automotives and Related products —Tourism and Related Services —Agriculture and Agro-processing —Aerospace and Defence Technologies —Mixed Manufacturing —Business Process Outsourcing & Off-shoring —Research and Development —Alternative and Renewable Energies ØInvestment Target = R400 million p/a    

Questions were masterfully delegated and speedily despatched by our moderator and even after this session finished many delegates  stayed back and button holed their speaker of choice. No hiding place could be found……….    

 

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
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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
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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.

iHub shows the way for African Incubation

March 8, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Posted in Business Support, Economic Development, ICT, incubation, incubator, startup | Leave a comment
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Application developers, web designers and other techies in Nairobi now have a place to meet, network and get connected to the right people to further their causes.

The iHub nairobi opened on Wednesday evening promising to be the launching pad for great technology ideas from the grassroots. Short, for Innovation Hub, the facility on Nairobi?s Ngong Road is open to anybody with an interest in technology and seeks to build partnerships with industry and mentoring.

Are we witnessing here the start of a trend in continent, which will allow local techies to have a platform to develop share their inventions and ideas on a national level?

AIN online community

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

Addis Ababa, Feb 2010 –

February 23, 2010 at 9:52 am | Posted in AIN, Business Support, incubation | Leave a comment
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The meeting in Addis last week was a very successful.
The highlights of the meeting was the unanimous agreement that:

  1. AIN was the future of incubation in Africa and was therefore very necessary;
  2. A formal structure was essential to our sustainability;
  3. A workable action plan was necessary.

    Based on the above the representatives present elected Michael  as Chairperson and Julie Momah as Vice-Chairperson of AIN.
    Following this, they developed and committed themselves to a 12 month action plan.

Michael announced at the conclusion of the sessions – “We have set ourselves some challenging but very exciting goals and I am sure that the commitment shown by the team at the meeting will be the driving force in achieving our goals.
While the team came together and developed a plan going forward, I must express our gratitude to all those that have been involved in setting up and working with AIN since its inception. The foundation for the action plan that we developed in based on the sterling work that these pioneers put in and that we hope that they will continue to contribute to AIN.

In this respect special mention must be made of the efforts of Steve, Leon and David. On behalf of the new team I thank you and I know that we can count on your continued support.
My apologies if I missed anyone but we thank everyone for their contributions.”

Note:
The AIN Team includes Michael, Julie, Jayesh Ravjee [Past Chair], Chris Vermeulen, Tessema Geda, Rajeev Aggraval, & Mbarou Gassama Mbaye.

InfoDev – Ellen Olafson & Steve Giddings
SEDA – Jayesh Ravjee
AIN Webmaster – David Cromar

AIN on WordPress!

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

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