AFRICA BUSINESS CONFERENCE NEW VENTURE COMPETITION 2018 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL
The Africa Business Club at Harvard Business School will be hosting the Africa Business Conference New Venture Competition on March 2, 2018 in Boston, MA. Applications open online on November 20th and close December 15th, 2017.
The 20th Africa Business Conference will be held in Boston, MA from March 2nd to March 3rd, 2018 under the theme “Values And Value-Chains: Africa In A New Global Era". As part of the conference, the New Venture Competition will showcase the diversity of entrepreneurs making a difference on the continent today.
From the pool of applications, 10 finalists will be invited to pitch their business in front of approximately 700 attendees and receive feedback from a panel of experienced judges. The competition winner and runner-up will be awarded cash prizes of $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.
The finalists will have the opportunity to participate in the Startup Lab, a workshop for early-stage entrepreneurs to solicit advice from conference participants. Conference participants and Harvard Business School faculty and students with experience in strategy, operations, finance, and other relevant business fields will be recruited to engage with the entrepreneurs and help them ideate and solve their problems.
20 ventures will also have the opportunity to showcase their companies in the Startup Fair networking and recruiting event and attend networking lunches with distinguished panelists.
The application form will be open from November 20th 2017 – Dec 15th 2017. All applications must be received by December 15th, at 5pm EST. Please apply via one of the below options:
- To submit your application via pdf, please download the form here and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org .
- To submit your application via Google Forms, please click the "APPLY HERE" button below or visit here
Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com for any questions or clarifications.
The competition is open to all entrepreneurs with businesses that resonate with the theme of innovation and disruption. Entrepreneurs who offer unique and homegrown solutions to local problems and who meet the following eligibility criteria are highly encouraged to apply:
· Early Stage Startups (for profit or not-for-profit)
· Africa-focused with a majority or all of its operations in Africa
· Less than 50 employees
· Less than 5 years of operations
· Raised less than $250,000 in funding to date
The Competition is about assessing the commercial merit and potential viability of each proposed new venture. The judges will evaluate its potential for economic success and the likelihood of achieving that success based upon the team's plan, experience, and the validation of key assumptions and a clear and convincing presentation of the following:
Naturally, the more concrete the plan - all else being equal - the better. Teams that have a proven technology, recruited partners, or even attracted "beta" customers may raise their chances of success. On the other hand, strong early stage ideas that have yet to be launched but have been thought through and tested will be well received and considered based on their potential and the team's ability to execute. The learning experience and process of defining a strong idea and business model, testing one's assumptions, and making a compelling pitch about the viability of a new venture will be invaluable for everyone, no matter what the outcome.
SheaMoisture Sponsorship of new venture competition
The Africa Business Conference is happy to announce SheaMoisture as the sponsor of this year’s New Venture Competition. SheaMoisture’s sponsorship is tied to its Community Commerce purpose-driven business model. The model, with a focus on women empowerment, creates opportunities for sustainable social and economic empowerment throughout its supply chain within communities in the United States, Africa and beyond. Community Commerce goes further than corporate social responsibility and fair trade by challenging businesses to use commerce as a means to transform local and global communities, in the process creating a fairer, more equitable world. Community Commerce is about truly looking at how businesses can impact the broader community they operates in and ensure that value is created across the board. It’s about making conscious decisions regarding the partners and suppliers you select, and who you choose to engage with. This means adding value, not only to consumers and customers, but to every player in the value chain.
As such, the New Venture Competition will use SheaMoisture’s sponsorship to help highlight women led ventures and reward ventures which use their business models to create opportunities for women or other financially excluded persons, or that are helping to improve the ecosystem for female entrepreneurship in Africa. Aspects of the sponsorship include:
- Prize for new venture which most closely reflects the mission of Sundial’s Community Commerce Business Model
- Travel subsidies for select finalists traveling to Boston to compete in this year’s competition
About SheaMoisture and Sundial Brands
Sundial Brands is a leading haircare and skincare company recognized for its innovative use of high-quality and culturally authentic ingredients. Sundial’s brands include SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and nyakio™. Since its founding in 1991, Sundial through its robust innovation pipeline, product offerings and purpose-driven business model has championed inclusive beauty to address the needs of underserved consumers, with black women leading the way. Sundial now operates as a standalone company in Unilever. Through its Community Commerce business model, B Corp and Fair for Life certifications, Sundial’s approach complements the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) to accelerate growth while increasing positive social impact. As part of their partnership, the companies announced the establishment of $100 million fund to support women of color entrepreneurs. Appropriately titled the New Voices Fund, monies from the fund will be invested with companies owned by women and started in the very communities that have underpinned the notable success of Sundial Brands and SheaMoisture over the years.
Releaf is making B2B trade in Nigerian agriculture safer, more efficient and profitable by *financing suppliers* and creating reliable supply chains.
Finnager is Intelligent, accurate and secure software-as-a-service technology providing verification and management of African online identity and personal data.
WeFly Agri is a company offering a software to enable farmers and land owners to monitor and manage the activities on their plantations.
Closed-Loop System Ventures transforms organic plant and animal waste into organic fertilizer as a means of promoting sustainable carbon farming practices.
OZE is a mobile app that empowers small business owners across the continent to make data-driven decisions & access capital to drive growth.
Nokware Skincare is a beauty and skincare brand from Ghana, featuring skincare products that are natural, sourced locally and packaged sustainably
FINT is Nigeria’s first loan marketplace that is financially empowering Nigerians by make credit more accessible and affordable; and investing more rewarding
Saint Michelles and Joey is involved in the manufacturing of Eco-Friendly Paper Products such as toilet rolls, serviettes and kitchen paper
Do it Now Now helps individuals that are passionate about Africa build businesses that make a profit and save lives.
National Beekeepers Association - The association is made up of peasant farmers all over Ghana. We produce honey, beeswax., propolis and others. We offer continuous training.
Umwenge Green Electricity Supply Corporation - UGESC Limited is a Zambian owned, female-led, entrepreneurial waste to energy company
Publiseer is a free digital publishing platform for independent Nigerian authors and artists
Africa Energy Solutions (AES) - is a power generation (Energy) company that provides professional services in power generation.
Nourishing Steaks Limited - We are Livestock Fattening; Meat processing, packaging and distribution.
Mr. Samuel Z. Alemayehu, Head of Africa & Managing Director, Cambridge Industries Ltd.
Mr. Steven Koltai, Entrepreneur & Foreign Policy Expert, Koltai & Company LLC
Josh Sandler, CEO & Founder, Lori Systems
AFRICA BUSINESS CONFERENCE STARTUP showcase
The Startup Fair is a recruiting, marketing, and networking opportunity for the top 20 businesses that applied for the New Venture Competition. Selected start-ups will be given a booth to showcase their business in Batten Hall, adjacent to the broader career fair at the Africa Business Conference.
The Startup Showcase will be on Saturday, March 3 from 6:00 - 7:30pm at Batten Hall
AFRICA BUSINESS CONFERENCE STARTUP LAb: facilitator - Steven koltai
Startup Lab: Interacting with Investors as an Early Stage Venture
Startup Lab is a workshop for the New Venture Competition entrepreneurs to solicit advice from conference participants. This year, Steven Koltai (Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow, Brookings Institution Visiting Scholar, and World Bank XL Africa’s former Lead Mentor) will lead an interactive session entitled “Interacting with Investors as an Early Stage Venture.” Steven will 1) discuss best practices for early stage ventures that are beginning to interact with investors, 2) explore emerging models for funding entrepreneurship ecosystem development in Africa, and 3) help our New Venture Competition finalists navigate their funding questions through interactive role-plays.
This workshop will take place between 10:00 and 11:15am on Saturday March 3rd right after the morning keynote.