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DEMO Africa 2014 in Lagos, Nigeria! [Read the full announcement]

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DEMO Africa has released the dates for the third annual DEMO Africa to be held between 22nd and 26th September 2014 in Lagos, Nigeria.

DEMO Africa is the place where the most innovative companies from African countries come to launch their products and announce to Africa and the world what they have developed. The series of events will be hosted in collaboration with the Nigeria Federal Ministry of ICT, the LIONS@FRICA Partnership – with partners such as Microsoft, VC4Africa, InfoDEV, African Development Bank and other organisations – and Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). Since the first event in 2012 VC4Africa has been one of the DEMO Africa partners. Also last year VC4Africa powered DEMO Africa’s application process and more.

The five day DEMO Africa event in September 2014 will be spearheaded by a local organizing committee unveiled today by the Honorable Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson. It will be kick started by the DEMO Africa BootCamp for the invited start-ups and a strategic meeting of the LIONS@FRICA partners, including VC4Africa, and will culminate with a two-day DEMO Africa stage event.

This year will present yet another chance for the best technology startups in Africa to be recognized and exposed to the world. In this connection, DEMO Africa is inviting start-ups who are ready to launch to submit their applications between 15th March and 15th June 2014.The applications will be subjected to a panel of judges comprising of key players in the ICT sector in July, 2014 who are expected to settle on the best forty based on their ability to link creativity, innovation and effectiveness. The teams with the most compelling products and business models will then be given a chance to launch their products to an ecosystem of investors, IT buyers and the global IT press.

While making the announcement today in Lagos, Nigeria, the Honorable Minister of Communication Technology  expressed optimism in Africa’s journey towards being a fully  ICT enabled continent. “We are excited to host DEMO Africa 2014 in Nigeria. This presents a great opportunity to cross-fertilize ideas across African startups, as well as showcase our talents and skills in the innovation ecosystem” she said.

Staying in line with the Honorable Minister’s sentiments, The DEMO Africa Executive Producer, Harry Hare, stressed the importance of supporting technology startups and promised to equip the winning teams with all the necessary tools to promote their businesses. “The teams will receive professional training and mentoring on demonstration and presentation, as well as support on their technical set-up from our production team. These start-ups also stand to benefit from PR support and the promotion of the launch video during the event and beyond.” Hare maintained that such training has in the past proved to be fruitful in selling noble ideas by the startups during the previous annual conventions. He confirmed that last year alone, more than 600 start-ups applied to launch at DEMO Africa but only 40 out of these were selected to launch at the DEMO Africa platform. Several of these are said to be already engaging with investors while others are in the final stages of closing their initial round of funding.

This year, the entry categories have been revised to include Health, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Leisure and Hospitality and Manufacturing. This was found to be more inclusive and is expected to provide better fit and competitiveness among the participants. “Technology is used in different verticals so we thought we should make align the technology being launched with the verticals,” Hare continued. Further information and terms and conditions for application is available on http://www.demo-africa.com.

The DEMO Africa 2014 outreach program will include the DEMO innovation Tours which will take place between April and May 2014 and DEMO Africa Investor Roundtable which will take place in the months of July and August.

DEMO Africa is the flagship initiative of the Liberating Innovation in Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA) partnership, an innovative new partnership aimed at enhancing and deepening startup and innovation ecosystems of fast-growing African economies. Founding partners of the partnership include the U.S. State Department, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Microsoft, Venture Capital for Africa (VC4Africa), Nokia, InfoDEV, African Development Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development, DEMO, Startup Weekend, Appfrica, Business Action for Africa, Business Fights Poverty, and Venture Hive. VC4Africa represents the largest community of entrepreneurs building innovative early stage companies in Africa.

For more info see the DEMO Africa website. And of course we’ll also keep you posted with updates on the VC4Africa blog!

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