This week I had the opportunity to moderate and MC Pivot East Africa 2014. The yearly event seeks to receive amd award pitches from app developers, both Web and mobile.
What an incredible event it was, a first for me. It was inspiring to see about 20 start ups across categories such as utilities, enterprise, finance, social and entertainment share their ideas on how they want to make a difference given the opportunity they have seen in the market.
In between the pitches we had 'fireside chats' that Focused on issues facing the industry that's still in its infancy stage compared to other developed tech cities across the world with a comparative look at Telaviv, Berlin and of course Silicon Valley.
One of the fireside chats I moderated focused on the hype vs substance debate across the tech start up ecosystem in Kenya, with topics ranging from sources of funding and the almost controversial role of NGO funding in the start up ecosystem and it was interesting to see experts attempt to draw the fine line between fluff and the benefits, if any, of hype.
The other fireside chat I moderated was focused on trying to unravel the link between innovation, entrepreneurship and the economy in which former ICT permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo was a key panelist. His passion shone through as he spoke with pride about how 'opportunity entrepreneurs' are the ones that will disrupt the markets, create apps that will be world beaters, create jobs and as a trickle down, lift the economy. I asked about the role of 'replicative entrepreneurs,': that's me and you and everyone whose done Dubai, Turkey imports and quails, yes, Quails. FYI, We have little impact on real economic growth.
My take home this week was that we need to pay more attention to the tech ecosystem. There's some young people doing amazing things and all they require is a little encouragement, incubation, acceleration and investment whuch will give them the not only the confidence but the capacity to create world beaters.thing.
I must say it was a proud moment for me as I was listening to the seasoned voices of tech guru's like Mathew Papakipos of Facebook and Jonathan Levi, a serial entrepreneur and Angel investor from Silicon Valley listen to and praise the contenders, aggreably surprised that the start up entrepreneurs were a lot better than expected.
I will tomorrow share some stories about specific apps that really got me goose bumpy!