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Support Entrepreneurs

The MBTN Accelerating Ideas Conference held 28th March 2019 at Rise, London and provided a forum to support entrepreneurs. There was inspiration, education and practical advice to startups, professionals and corporations on methods to scale businesses, evaluate funding options and engage with the investor community.

Africa focused startups that pitched were from the 1st cohort, Accelerator programmme. The event was compered by Joy Moroge and introduction from Adabara Abdullahi Partner, MBTN Connect

Advice to kick-start in Africa:

  1. Have an open mind?
  2. Validate with customer payments and market.
  3. Prepare to pivot and beware assumptions.
  4. Be solution focused, have a good management team.
  5. Understand Regulatory risk and policy direction.
  6. Resolve the risks that come with cross border expansion.
  7. Can you defend? Work on your product & innovate and protect this.
  8. VC Funding: Ensure this aligns with issue of ROI & long-term view.
  9. Domain Expertise: This needs IP protection and developed ecosystem.

MBTN entrepreneurs get to meet funders

The panels gave MBTN entrepreneurs opportunities for VC firms, Angel Investor Networks and other business funders to talk about their organisations, and how they support entrepreneurs.

Panel: How to innovate in Africa and build partnerships to take ideas to reality
Franklin Amoo Founding Partner, Bayliss Emerging Markets
Bryan Mezue Co-Founder, Lifestore Pharmacies
Chris Kanwei Managing Director, RealCorp Capital

KEY Discussion Points:
Opportunity to leapfrog Legacy issues and move to 4th Industrial revolution for MBTN entrepreneurs.
There is need for production and manufacturing sector, with impact in Solar & Renewables sector, and Governments need to support with policy and governance issues.
Look for innovation and digital healthcare. Case study given of Angel investment in solar energy to impact 30 hospitals in Edo State, Nigeria.
There has been an increase in funding from ECA, UK Export Finance, OPIC

Panel: Recent trends in Blockchain, AI and Fintech in the African market
Dayo Akinrinade Founder, Africlick
Monique Baars Co-Founder Fineazy
Nzube Ufodike Director, Aurora Equity Partners

KEY Discussion Points
Finance is an essential enabler to unlock the potential and accelerate development in region.
Critical to resolve KYC issues.
Talent pool and skillset needed to build solutions on the local infrastructure.
Needed emphasis on training tech skills and financial inclusion.
Issues around ethical AI will need diversity and datasets, while data analytics stage is hamered due to legacy issues.

Panel: Fundraising Strategies for Entrepreneurs
Dele Akinyemi Venture Capital Investor, MMC Ventures
Fope Adelowo Senior Vice President, Helios Investment Partners
Matthew Rowell Head of Partnerships, SeedLegals

KEY Discussion Points
Investor looks for validation and needs legal due diligence.
Need to have a good estimate of timing for how long the deal will take.
The potential to scale and product/market fit is important. Essential to have a process to acquire customers and repeat procedure for this.
VC Rounds set your Agenda hence the need to raise on Angel rounds and know your goals before VC rounds.

Panel: Investing in Female and Minority Founded Businesses
Hephzi Pemberton CEO, Equality Group
Justin Onuekwusi Fund Manager, Legal & General Investment Management
Dama Sathianathan Communications Manager, Bethnal Green Ventures

KEY Discussion Points:
Issues are Network effects in fundraising . Female businesses are not appealing in tech space & innovation. i.e. Womens health.
It’s important to refresh your business forecast annually. The core value of the team is important and need to measure impact.
Bethnal Green Ventures supports “Tech for Good” and a focus to help early stage with capacity for those who bootstrap. Accelerators give added value and attending open office hours can be helpful.

Panel: Building at Scale – Taking an idea and delivering cross border success
Omosuyi Fred-Omojole Head of Legal and Chief of Staff, Anergi Holding Company
Alix Landais Development Impact Executive, CDC Group plc
Andy Ayim Managing Director, Backstage Capital
Oyin Solebo Co-Founder, Movemeback

KEY Discussion Points:
Africa focused startups need to understand the lack of infrastructure and emphatize with customers.
CDC has portfolio of debt, direct equity with min $10m plus so they work on building the VC to be investible. Infrastructure in Africa. Important to prepare companies to be investible.
Hindrance to growth@@ capital and Access to market, Cultural awareness.
USP for African companies – trends like Andela building talents and selling to the west.Fintech companies and mobile mooney.