Promising entrepreneurs in Africa seek to be Unreasonable

The photo is of Mark Yeboah-Agyepong – he is the Aquaculture Operations Manager for Waste Enterprisers Ltd

Entrepreneurs from 60 countries vied for the 25 slots available to attend the 2012 Unreasonable Institute. A third of the candidates are working on African ventures and look to attend this years camp.

After conducting 125 interviews, the Unreasonable Institute has narrowed it down to 46 exceptional Finalists. More exciting than ever, over a third of the selected candidates are working on promising ventures in and from Africa. Tyler Hartung, the founder of the Unreasonable Institute, says, ‘African entrepreneurs are essential to have at the Unreasonable Institute. First and foremost, our mentors, partners, and Unreasonable supporters have a deep desire to work with and support these brilliant entrepreneurs working in Africa and on issues that these entrepreneurs are tackling!’

The institute also seeks to learn from the new and innovative approaches the entrepreneurs apply in an African context. Tyler explains, ‘But maybe more importantly, entrepreneurs from Africa are critical to creating an extremely valuable, robust community and network at the Unreasonable Institute. We have seen both African entrepreneurs, as well entrepreneurs from abroad working in Africa, bring an immense amount of on the ground knowledge, innovative approaches to solving problems, and experience in effectively dealing with things that some entrepreneurs from other countries have not seen before. The thriftiness of these entrepreneurs, their ability to get a lot down in tough areas without a lot of resources, makes them some of the most valuable assets to our Unreasonable community.’

In the Unreasonable Institute’s last Marketplace, Ugandan entrepreneur Moses Sanga attended on behalf of his company Eco-Fuel Africa. The venture is working to enable villagers in their efforts to turn agricultural waste into a clean burning fuel source. Moses makes this possible for only $500. Moses not only succeeded in raising the money to attend last year’s camp, he went on to raise $60,000 for his venture and scored a spot as a TED Fellow. Suzana Moreira, founder of moWoza is thrilled to be amongst this year’s Unreasonable Institute Marketplace finalists. She says, ‘This gives us the opportunity to showcase our start-up to a worldwide audience. The challenge can be viewed as an exercise to promote social good & the commitment to delivering impact through innovative solutions that are sustainable. We look forward to starting new partnerships through this exciting fundraising challenge.’

At VC4Africa we are pleased to support the Unreasonable Institute as a pipeline partner. We look to support entrepreneurs before, during and after the camps. This is in our shared interest to see more African ventures make progress and succeed.

Tyler expands on the partnership between the organizations, ‘The value of being an Unreasonable Fellow, or even in applying for this Unreasonable Institute, goes far beyond what we can offer while someone is physically at the Institute. Partners like VC4Africa are there to help provide what these entrepreneurs need both before, during, and after the Institute. Who better to help us find leading African entrepreneurs to apply for the Institute than a company that interacts with them on a daily basis? Who better to provide ongoing support and connections to these entrepreneurs when they return home? This is why partners like VC4Africa are essential. It is not the Unreasonable Institute launching these ventures. It is dozens of organizations, hundreds of people, and thousands of customers that will do it.’

Now, in a true test of their entrepreneurial mettle, each of this year’s finalists face one final challenge before becoming Unreasonable Fellows: galvanizing the globe to raise the $10,000 it costs to attend the Unreasonable Institute. The first 25 Finalists to raise $10,000 will be chosen to attend. Its going to take an ‘Unreasonable effort,’ and the decision lies in your hands.

Head to the Unreasonable Marketplace and join hundreds of thousands of people across the globe to vote with your dollars for an entrepreneur you believe might change the course of history.

Here is an overview of this year’s candidates: 

Our Ladies Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Limited – Nigeria

Paper Wastes Collection and Recycling – Cameroon

Agriculture Marketing Information Services – Cameroon/Sweden (AMIS)

Mobile Agribusiness Platform – Congo

Edom Nutritional Solutions – Kenya

Desert Trading Inc. – Liberia

EcoPost Limited – Kenya

M-Farm – Kenya

moWoza – South Africa / Mozambique

The Dynamic Lavatory & Digester – South Africa

Waste Enterprises – Ghana

Musoni – Kenya / Netherlands

Tilapiana – Ghana / US

Solar Nexus International – Tanzania / US

Own Your Own Boda – Uganda