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iHub By Jessica Colaço / September 14, 2010

Call for Techpreneurs to participate in a focus group

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Excelsior Firm, is performing a consulting engagement on behalf of World Bank/infoDev, Hivos, and UKaid to develop interventions and capabilities for ICT SMEs. This is a call to the local techpreneurs to participate in this focus group. The focus group will held on the 14th of September 2010 at the iHub and will be divided into two sessions:

  • Morning – 10am – 12pm
  • Afternoon – 2pm – 4pm
PROJECT BACKGROUND
The arrival of sub-marine fiber optic cables in East Africa presents a significant development opportunity in East Africa. The emerging ICT sector is poised to be a major pillar in the development of the EAC. Policy makers and multi-laterals have both invested significant capital to enable the growth of this sector. Key to the success of this nascent market will be the emergence of a critical mass of successful SMEs to act as a nucleus for growth.
Research has shown, however, that these entrepreneurs face several challenges including: limited business skills, lack of access to financial resources, difficulty in accessing markets, and relevant business networks, a small number of skilled workers and finally, a weak regulatory framework that stifles innovation, entrepreneurship and SME development. In order for SMEs – and by extension, the ICT sector – to successfully overcome these challenges, appropriate interventions must be identified and implemented.
OBJECTIVES
This project aims to understand the environment and challenges facing SMEs in the East Africa ICT sector through robust analyses and fieldwork, and intends to identify specific strategies and implementation plans to address these challenges. The project has three major objectives:
  • Understand the East Africa ICT market dynamics including the internal and external environment
  • Develop perspectives on the major challenges facing SMEs in this market as well as the critical success factors required to overcome these challenges
  • Recommend solutions and an implementation for areas where DFID, Hivos and infoDev can best intervene to support local entrepreneurship and enhance the near term growth of SMEs

Author : Jessica Colaço

Jessica Colaço is currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She is passionate about Innovation, Research, Mobile and Robotics Technology, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in Kenya as she uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. As an upcoming angel investor, she courts local and international investors to invest in great tech ideas and companies at idea and concept stage. She is also a Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenya's business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her endeavour is to put Kenya and Africa on the map for technology achievements and spur innovation within the country and continent! She blogs at: www.jessicacolaco.wordpress.com


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