African Startups in Nairobi for 1776 Challenge 2016

This article was originally posted here.

photo credit: infodev

photo credit : infodev

The iHub is excited to be part of the 1776 Challenge for the second year in a row. The iHub’s mission is to catalyse the tech community and we do this by surfacing information, connecting people and supporting startups. We continuously spur a vibrant community of innovators and entrepreneurs to build ‘best in the world’ companies while solving the myriad of problems present in Africa and across the developing world.

The iHub and Nairobi Garage will co-host the Challenge Cup Regional Nairobi. The competing startups are winners of Challenge Cup local round events in Accra, Addis Ababa, Casablanca, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, Pretoria and represent a global reach even more extensive than that.

Several Kenyan startups will also be represented including Lipacard Kenya, LishaBora Hydroponics Ltd, Angaza Boma, Boresha Limited, Moringa School Limited, Illuminum Greenhouses Kenya,, Valuraha Group and Ma3Route. Read more about the Challenge Cup startups here.

All the startups will have access to a pool of expert mentors including Duncan Onyango, Limo Taboi, Nivi Sharma, Dr. Zipporah Ali, Paul Achar and the iHub UX Team.

After two days of pitching coaching, mentor meetings, and rehearsing at the iHub and at Nairobi Garage, the competitors will have the opportunity to showcase their innovations and businesses to the judges and audience at the Kenya National Theatre on Thursday 18th February, 2016 from 6pm.

Join us for the pitching session at the Kenya National Theatre which is a public event. Come hear pitches from these high-potential companies from across Africa. Find out which world-changing startups will advance to the Global Finals of the Challenge Cup in Washington, D.C. in June 2016. This is also a great opportunity for other startups and entrepreneurs out there to learn how to attract interest and investment. It is an opportunity to meet local investors who will be in the audience looking for new deals to invest in. Register here to attend..

June Entrepreneurs Forum with Prof. Ndemo: Building your startup

Prof. Ndemo. Photo credit: iHub

Prof. Ndemo. Photo credit: iHub

This article was originally posted here.

For over one year now, Prof. Ndemo has been hosting monthly entrepreneurs forums at the iHub to share ideas and skills around building businesses. Following the forums, many of you have tracked him down during the week to chat more about your ideas. But there has been no measure of how successful you were after that. We want to change that.

We have learnt several key lessons from the monthly forums:

Identify opportunities. There are several opportunities around us. The challenge is in knowing an opportunity when you see it. Entrepreneurial education is key as it helps one to think critically and to identify opportunities either by improving existing products or by creating new ones.

Determine your revenue streams. What product will make you the most money when you consider everything including the amount of time it takes you to market and deliver the product or service?

Customer development. You need to know your customers inside out. To be successful, your product and your customers need to align.

Build a dream team. Building a team is an art. It’s important to get HR processes in place early on.

Do your market research and develop your business model. Understanding people’s behaviour allows one to identify opportunities and market. Just because there are other players in the space does not mean that your idea will not gain traction and succeed. Take time to determine your value proposition.

Use numbers to make decisions. It’s not enough to rely on intuition or personal preference. Do your homework.

Define your culture. A clear culture will give your team a framework within which to work. It will influence how and who you recruit and it will influence team dynamics.

Find partners. Strategic partnerships are critical for startup success. Who should you align yourself to? How can the relationships be mutually beneficial? How do you know when to say no to a partnership?

Iterate, iterate, iterate. Ideas are great but they will need space for iteration in order to be developed into viable profit making products. You will not always get it right on the first try and patience is critical. Keep going until you have a good product to sell. Even then, to be innovative, once your product is in market you will need to constantly improve it to appeal to your market.

Prof. Ndemo would now like to go a step further and explore these lessons with those of you who have found value in the forums. He is currently taking applications for start-ups to receive mentorship. Successful start-ups will be informed at the end of the month. Apply here. There are limited spaces available.

Read more here.