Rolling Out

Tiphub provides revolutionary approach to fund startups in Africa and the African diaspora

Tiphub Executive Director and Founder Chinedu Enekwe
Tiphub Executive Director and Founder Chinedu Enekwe

“I don’t believe Africa needs to be saved,” declares Amanda Spann, one of the founders of tipbhub, the business accelerator and consultancy that supports seed stage tech and social impact ventures in Africa and the African Diaspora, in affiliation with She Leads Africa and the African Technology Foundation.

As Johannesburg-based tech writer Toby Shapshak points out, innovation in Africa, he says, is real innovation. “People are solving real problems in Africa because we have to, because we have them. And when we solve real problems, we solve them for the rest of the world.”

This ideology is shared among the founders, including Chinedu Enekwe, executive director and founder of tiphub, who is also a seasoned investment banker and avid supporter of entrepreneur edification over giving handouts.

On Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, tiphub is holding its inaugural Diaspora Demo Day at the World Bank. DDD is a social innovation startup showcase and the largest gathering of African start-ups, entrepreneurs and angel investors outside of the continent of Africa. The event will present 25 emerging tech companies and social enterprises focused on Africa and the African Diaspora.

“African Diaspora Demo Day, organized by tiphub, is a startup showcase that brings together a number of high-growth tech entities and social enterprises that focus on the continent of Africa and the African Diaspora. We are presenting them to innovation stakeholders, investors, civic and social advocates, and technologists from D.C. metro and beyond,” explains Spann, who serves as tiphub’s marketing director.

Tiphub Co-Founder and Marketing Director Amanda Spann
Tiphub co-founder and marketing director Amanda Spann

“The purpose of the event is to connect the startups and social enterprises with investors and with the stakeholders that can help them groom their business and get from point A to point B. Essentially, tiphub is acting as as a conduit between investors and the start-ups they are seeking to connect with. We have done our due diligence and vetting process with the start-ups and they are investment ready. They have been provided with business and legal counseling. DDD is a platform for them to garner press, exposure and meet the investor who can possibly help them further their business.”

Diaspora Demo Day was founded by tiphub in affiliation with She Leads Africa and the African Technology Foundation. The 25 startup participants will make five minute pitches to an audience of impact and angel investors, policy makers, fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts and an esteemed panel of judges.

“Tiphub supports funders and supporting founders … high growth and high impact entrepreneurs ” Enekwe enlightens. “Entrepreneurship benefits all especially where you have people in Africa who are being very innovative and using technology to effect large swaths of people. A lot of people, when applied in developed markets, revolutionize some elements. By attending Diaspora Demo Day, you will be at the forefront of change in Africa, inspired by the innovation, be a part of an ecosystem and join a team of entrepreneurs effecting change. You can be the change you want to see.”

Enekwe shares an example. “Hello Tractor is one such startup. It’s a mobile pay technology combined with Uber for handheld tractors. Essentially, it allows people to use handheld tractors on demand and pay for it with mobile money.”

Hello Tractor provides two-wheel tractors to small farmers in Nigeria to increase crop yield and combat against income and food insecurity. Farmers text message into the Hello Tractor’s virtual cloud when they need tractor service. Service providers are pinged and the machine is delivered in less than two weeks.

All participating startups have been provided with free pre-event legal and business consulting courtesy of Bingham McCutchen. Diaspora Demo Day is also slated to include a networking reception and series of keynotes and demonstrations by thought leaders including Navarrow Wright, CEO of Max Leverage Solutions, Former CTO of Interactive One, Anari Sengbe, founder & CEO of Gamerholic and Romi Bhatia, Diaspora Partnerships for US Global Dev. Labs USAID.The event is supported by several sponsors including AppsTech, D’USSE, Thoughtworks, Gamerholics, Bingham McCutchen, and Evernote. Participating media partners include, Ventures Africa, Applause Africa, Innov8tiv, The Africa Channel, and Africa 2.0, and are complemented by a host of community partners such as Ghana International Chamber of Commerce, The World Bank’s Young African Society, Diaspora African Women’s Network, Toniic, Young African MBA’s, Impact Hub, Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs, and The African Impact Group.

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