With DEMO Africa 2016 just two days away, 27 of Africa’s top tech entrepreneurs are putting the finishing touches on their presentations to investors from around the world at Africa’s biggest investment showcase of African talent.
DEMO Africa, a pan-African platform, serves to connect Africa’s top tech entrepreneurs to the global market. This year saw 723 entrepreneurs from across 27 African countries apply to take part in DEMO Africa. Of these, 30 finalists, stemming from nine countries, were chosen to present their businesses to investors and buyers at the two-day conference.
As a platform, DEMO Africa is committed to the sustainability and continued growth of its finalists; as such the DEMO Africa Boot Camp was launched to help these entrepreneurs reach their full potential. Harry Hare, Executive Director of DEMO Africa, explained: “The DEMO Africa Boot Camp is a continuation of an online mentoring and coaching process we have in place for the finalists.” The online programme runs for four weeks, and is concluded with the two-day Boot Camp taking place in Johannesburg in the run-up to DEMO Africa 2016.
The process of mentoring and coaching is vital for many of these entrepreneurs, says Hare. “Our experience has shown us that the DEMO Africa finalists are at different development and maturity levels within their businesses. A lot of them are also technically-minded rather than business-minded, so we refine them to think more about their business and what they are offering to investors,” he explains.
The online course and Boot Camp prepares the DEMO Africa finalists to not only have a clear strategy for their six-minute presentation to a room full of investors, but also enables them to talk confidently to anyone who approaches them during the conference: investors, buyers and even the media.
“The Boot Camp is designed to help the entrepreneurs present to people who want to put money in their businesses,” says Hare. “Our finalists are technical people, but they are going to be talking to people who are not as technical, and they need to learn how to do that.” Hare also says it is important for entrepreneurs to have all the necessary information at their fingertips including metrics, financial figures and short- to medium-term projections for their businesses.
In addition to giving its 27 finalists the best support possible, DEMO Africa has also taken a keen interest in developing all of Africa’s entrepreneurs. So, although the online course and Boot Camp are exclusively offered to the DEMO Africa finalists, the DEMO Africa conference will be hosting a series of Master Classes which will cover a range of business topics for the benefit of all DEMO Africa attendees.
It is for this reason, and with the intention of making as big an impact on Africa’s start-up sector as possible, that Hare also calls on all mentors and coaches to register for the event. “We are always looking for coaches and mentors to help develop African entrepreneurs,” he says, inviting them to liaise with DEMO Africa if they wish to be involved with the initiative in the future.
DEMO Africa 2016 is proudly hosted by the City of Johannesburg and sponsored by the South African Department of Science and Technology, LIONS@frica, Microsoft, Intel and Google. The conference will take place from 25 to 26 August 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre. For details of how to register visit http://www.demo-africa.com/