CREATING NEW VENTURES

FAILING UP SUCCESSFULLY IN AFRICA: LESSONS LEARNED ON OVERCOMING CHALLENGES FROM SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS

Entrepreneurialism with its promises of employability and economic prosperity is often looked at as the grand panacea of Africa. But entrepreneurship-led ventures are often led by bold risk embracing businessman. African business owners, like any other business owners, should learn to embrace failure. This panel ignites an honest and frank conversation about failing in Africa and the lessons learned along the road to success.

 

AFRICAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT

This panel will discuss the experience of African entrepreneurs who have returned to the continent after studying or working abroad. Covering the differences between doing business in the West vs Africa, entrepreneurs’ motivation for targeting the African market, the challenges of finding talent, idea execution, investor relationship, and building customer adoption, this panel will be particularly relevant for attendees who are considering moving to the continent to start a new venture.

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Tunde Kehinde is the Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director of Lidya (www.lidya.co), a leading Africa- focused fintech platform working to ease access to finance for SMEs across Africa. Through its digital platform, Lidya analyzes over 100 data points to build a customized credit score, assess a customer for a loan and disburse loans to qualified businesses in as little as 48 hours. Lidya currently operates in Nigeria where over 20,000 businesses have signed up for its service and is backed by Accion and Newid Capital. Tunde is a seasoned emerging markets entrepreneur who Co-Founded, Africa Courier Express, the leading last-mile eCommerce delivery company in Nigeria and Jumia Nigeria, the leading eCommerce platform in Nigeria. Tunde has prior experience as a business development executive with Diageo in London and as an Investment Banking professional with Wachovia Securities in North Carolina and New York City. Tunde holds a degree in Finance with honors from Howard University and an MBA Harvard Business School.

STARTUP LAB: INTERACTING WITH INVESTORS AS AN EARLY STAGE VENTURE

Startup Lab is a workshop created for the New Venture Competition entrepreneurs and other interested 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.

Steven Koltai, Entrepreneur & Foreign Policy Expert, Koltai & Company LLC

THE SEARCH FOR AFRICA'S UNICORNS

Many African markets are ripe for capital and population growth amongst other socio-economic factors, present an opportunity for tremendous entrepreneurial growth. This panel seeks to explore how US investors vet these African opportunities on their search for Africa’s unicorns across sectors. Panelists will discuss past and present strategies while dialing in on key learnings and indicators for success.

Jonathan Berman, J.E. Berman Associates

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Sandrine Nzeukou, Executive Director, Invest Africa US

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Sandrine Nzeukou is the Executive Director of Invest Africa US and drives the strategic vision of the non-profit organization in the US and work to grow its selective membership base, providing access through Invest Africa's global network connecting investors to opportunities on the continent. Prior to joining Invest Africa US, Sandrine was a strategic project manager and consultant serving individual and institutional investors, and financial professionals at Vanguard investment firm which operates over $4.3 trillion in global assets under management. As a business consultant, Sandrine advised clients on corporate strategy within the drone SAAS industry, behavioral healthcare, and clinical research industries. A former professional athlete, Sandrine represented her home country in the 2011 and 2015 FIBA Olympic qualifying women's basketball tournaments in both Mali and Cameroon and served as an ambassador for the Cameroon Basketball Federation.She holds an MBA and B.S. in Marketing from University of Nevada Las Vegas.