Last night was one of the most exciting meet ups we have hosted so far. What made it so interesting was the mix of entrepreneurs. As everyone comes together in Nairobi today and tomorrow for DEMO Africa, we have teams from across the continent meeting for the first time. These interactions are invaluable and start to connect innovators from across the ecosystem. Entrepreneurs meet their counterparts working to tackle similar challenges in other parts of Africa and there is a lot to learn from one another.
DEMO Africa is new to the continent and sets itself apart with its pan African focus. VC4Africa joined the effort to make sure we had 40 great startups from across the continent. In the past few months we have worked through some 500 applications from Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe. From these applications we worked to produce a shortlist of 150 ventures. We built an adjudication tool that was used by the DEMO Africa jury and it was their input that resulted in the selected 40 ventures who will present today and tomorrow.
DEMO Africa builds on our collaborations with USAID, US State Department, Kauffman Foundation, GIST, Startup Weekend, IDG, Nokia and Microsoft BizSpark. These partnerships are part of LIONS Africa, a public private partnership working to support tech innovation in Africa.