REPORT – What happened at the first VC4Africa meetup in Accra?

Joshua-Derek Bossman tweeted Friday night, ‘Just leaving the #VC4Africa meetup. All I can say is WOW! A real pleasure meeting up with @Abocco, Ethel, Makafui, Pious and Orji. Great event.’  Check out some of the the pictures made by Nehemiah Attigah (@Attigs) and now up on the VC4Africa Flickr account. 

The first VC4Africa Accra Meetup took place at the plush Rhapsodys Pub & Restaurant (located at the Accra Mall) on Friday the 6th of January, 2012. The event was a great success for those who attended. In all, about 65 old and young entrepreneurs (most from a technology background), individuals from the business community and angel investors attended the meetup to share ideas on ventures being developed and created in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

The meet-up started with an informal introduction by event host and VC4A member Makafui Ayimey, who was instrumental in organizing the event. He explained the main ideas behind the VC4Africa Meetup concept and stressed three points as the objective for the evening:

– Networking and sharing ideas on viable ventures from Ghana and Africa
– Creating platforms for Entrepreneurs, Investors and Start-ups and also
– Building Africa through networking

It was the first time entrepreneurs and investors were meeting unofficially to dialogue, meet-up in person and network in this way. A lot of the discussions were focused on the various projects each of the young entrepreneurs was working on and getting the invaluable feedback/advice from the older entrepreneurs present.

The format of the event was splendid as everybody who came was very pleased with the unofficial setup which took the unconference form just like Barcamps. Even though there were seats by the bar, most people were busily connecting with names and projects they had seen online and were happily chatting the night away.

Herman Chinery-Hesse, popularly known as “African Bill Gates” was at the event to meet up with entrepreneurs, offer his advice to the upcoming generation and just ‘hang-out’ with the crowd. He’s got a remarkable story indeed. He is one of those people that makes you feel like you can do anything with nothing. That’s because Herman believes in African style solutions for uniquely African problems.

Having a chance to speak to him, Chinery-Hesse lauded the idea of this type of unofficial meetups. He also suggested fellow VC4A members keep up with the effort and organize follow up events once a month. He encouraged the young entrepreneurs attending to develop solutions to African problems by saying, ‘Europeans and Americans don’t have power failures and bandwidth problems, so Africans can’t copy first world solutions and expect them to work here.’

Attendee Donald Diaba found the meetup ‘very resourceful’: “I have the possibility to discuss the challenges I have with my project. These meetups expose us to other people in our industry and we can meet associates and even clients here. Let’s not make this the last one, I wish we could regularize these meetups to every month if not every week!”

Spotted at the meet-up were the following; Eric Osiakwan – Director (Internet Research), Herman Chinery-Hesse – Chairman (SOFTtribe Ltd), Foster Ofosu – Founder (Africa Works), Tim Akinbo – Founder (TimbaObjects Company), Derrydean Dadzie – Co-founder (DreamOval Ltd), Ato Ulzen-Appiah – co-founder (Museke) and Edward Amartey-Tagoe – co-founder (NandiMobile Ltd). A couple of Ghanaian bloggers were also there to listen and share their ideas with others, their views on the entrepreneurial and technology scene currently making the news in the country.

Around 9pm, the event came to a close but a few people stayed behind for a while. Most of the conversations right after was manly on how soon the next meet-up will be organized and if there were any special requirements. Many of the attendees are already looking forward to the next VC4Africa meetup in Accra!