When possible, we ask members to step forward and document VC4Africa meet ups as they happen. It’s great when the community comes together to meet in person and we do what we can to share these experiences with the rest of the VC4A network. At the Accra meet up last week, we were fortunate to have Charles Mensah join the meeting. Here is his report.
Unless your excuse is that you did not know about the event that took place at Rhapsody’s 26 April 2012, you would not understand how much you missed, especially if you were in Accra. VC4Africa organised an event where entrepreneurs met potential investors, mentors and like-minded individuals.
A lot of light and insight was exchanged, and a Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich on the fringes served as a welcome interlude to the discussions that transpired there. I believe the real benefits of the meeting were:
1. Mentoring and support – an excellent opportunity to meet people who can go a long way to help you fix the financial and business side of that great idea you are working on! If it is a tech application, you may find people who can help you build a more robust system since they may have walked that road before.
2. Social Proof – so you don’t have a problem building the application but need people to run alpha and beta tests for you. You need to see if the product is exciting and its critical you get people on-board. This is an excellent place to meet such people! The quality and mix of members at such events is indispensable!
3. Connection – so you have built that app, or are building it, but you have no idea how you are going to make it mainstream. Get into such events. Build a social network of connections. Don’t wait till the last minute to start looking for funding or mentoring. You meet investors and venture capitalists like Innohub, Afrinova, VC4Africa, Ghana Angel Investor Network (GAIN), Ghana Venture Capital Trust, etc.. And you will know where the money is and how to get it. In addition, you become part of the eco-system so you are known early. It is not always about the money, never forget that. Over 95% of start ups fail not because of lack of funding – so look beyond funding.
Start with your visibility and get known!
Turning an idea into a business is a long journey, there may be many facets of it for which you are not an expert. Join either online or offline communities in your area of interest and take all the mentoring, coaching and networking you can get!
In my next blog post, ‘The top 5 startup trends in Africa’ I will be sharing with you the insights I gained through my interviews with participants and organizers of the event. You don’t want to miss that, do you?
Chances aren’t given, they’re taken!