In the drive to enhance the growth of start-up and innovation ecosystems of African economies, DEMO has unleashed the names of 40 start-ups that have qualified to launch their products on the DEMO Africa platform this September 2014, with Nigeria topping the list.
Nigeria with its 14 start-ups qualified followed by Kenya, Ghana and Egypt. Tunisia, Benin, Cameroon, Uganda and Zimbabwe each received a slot at the DEMO Africa platform, notes the Ministry of Communication Technology. Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa and Ethiopia would each have two representatives.
“Africa may have missed out on the industrial revolution, but we surely will not in the ICT revolution. Through innovation, we will put Nigeria and Africa in general on the ICT map,” Minister for Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson commended the African entrepreneurs, noting that with the huge potential of the software industry, DEMO Africa has put in place a set of initiatives that would assist the tech startups to create successful businesses, which will create jobs and wealth.
Were it not for Stewart Alsop II, DEMO Africa would have never been in the spotlight. After Alsop did his very first DEMO Conference in 1991 proving to be a success, the conference eventually emerged to accommodate a series of technology-focused business conferences worldwide. Now in Africa, pre-selected companies and entrepreneurs have an opportunity to launch new products and services through DEMO backed with the motivation to identify and promote new technology that has the potential to solve problems through selection and coaching.
DEMO Africa an initiative of the Liberating Innovation in Opportunity Nations organization designed to enhance and help build start-ups in Africa, in conjunction with the US State Department, Microsoft, Nokia, InfoDEV and the US Agency for International development.
DEMO Africa 2014 received at least 400 applications mostly from Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, with only 242 qualifying, in which 40 start-ups were finally selected.
Communication as one of the 12 categories, attracted a high number of applications of at least 70. Finance and banking also had eight out of 18 entries received. Other categories that will have high representation on the DEMO Africa stage include retail, health and education said a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Communication Technology on Media, Efem Nkanga,
However, there were no entries received for water and sanitation and waste management and recycling of which showed that stakeholders had to work on entrepreneurs to encourage homemade solutions across all sectors, noted Nkanga.
Inspired by the high number of entries, DEMO Africa Executive Producer, Harry Hare, acknowledged the efforts by all the participating start-ups and called upon the investors to support the work of the young entrepreneurs. “We had really amazing entries this year, but unfortunately the DEMO Africa team can only accommodate 40 for now,” he said.
The two day event would take place from 25 September 2014 at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos Nigeria. Each demonstrator has only six minutes to showcase a product.