Great photos were taken by Edward Echwalu
Last night we were pleased to see members come together for the 2nd VC4Africa meetup to be hosted in Kampala, Uganda. The first meetup ever organized was also in Kampala in the Spring of 2008, so it was really nice to see local members take up the organization of a follow up event. A special thanks goes out to members Yvonne Munabi, of the Uganda Investment Authority, and Reinier Battenberg, the Founder of Mountbatten Ltd. We had a chance to catch up with Reinier today and chat about last night’s event.
Did you attend the first meetup in 2008?
“Yes, Yvonne and I both attended the first meetup. The group was smaller, but we still had interesting conversations so it was a model we liked.”
Why did you decide to organize one?
“It was about time! The last event was in 2008. I organise a lot of different events and I am always interested in bringing new people together. Organising a VC4Africa event did not seem like a very difficult thing to do, but still could still be a rewarding experience. I approached Yvonne and together we pulled it off.”
Who in the Kampala crowd helped out and what did they do?
“Yvonne has a great network with a lot of SME’s that she contacted for the event. It was a very new concept for a lot of people, but everyone who showed up had a great evening. And Yvonne also brought the tape & markers we used for the name tags:) !”
How did the event go?
“All who came had a great time. Everybody was very pleased with the setup. Compared to your standard Ugandan event, this was really a liberating format for lots of people. No sitting on a plastic chair listening to a boring speech, but real networking with people you had never expected to ever meet.”
Can you tell us about the most interesting person you met?
“One gentleman I talked to explained the whole history of his company. How his uncle used to make a cough-syrup, how he saw a need for that in Uganda, how he designed the bottle, produced the syrup and then how he gets it into the shops and works to market the product. Very thoughtful, very dedicated. And he is expanding! I think we will see many more local products like this hit the shelves. A story like this is very VC4Africa as most business opportunities have this kind of local and/or regional focus.”
What are your conclusions, final thoughts and message to the community?
“With a few people who lingered around after the event we had the chance to sit down and evaluate the model. We concluded there is a real demand for events like this and I am sure we will see more VC4Africa meetups being organized in Kampala. If you were thinking of organising one in your local town please don’t hesitate. It is so much easier than you can imagine and you will get a lot out of it. We had great support from Ben & Bill when we told them we wanted to organise something. They gave us great feedback on how to go about organizing the meetup, which was a big encouragement for the both of us.”
Thanks Yvonne and Reinier for a great job. We see an increasing number of exciting ventures coming from Uganda and it’s great to see the local community come together like this. And for other members interested in hosting a VC4Africa meetup please register the event. You can also see pictures of previous meetups or visit the Q&A for tips and tricks.