infoDev, a team within FPD, is committed to supporting promising entrepreneurs.
At infoDev, we’re fortunate to work with exciting technology startups in emerging and frontier markets every day. One of the questions we ask ourselves frequently is whether a startup team could achieve high-growth if it weren’t for the barriers they face that are specific to their local environments. These could include anything from a lack of experienced role-models and mentors, to inadequate early-stage financing, to challenging regulatory environments and the lack of an interconnected innovation ecosystem.
Despite difficult challenges on the ground, we are increasingly finding fantastic teams that are developing globally-relevant products in all of the markets we serve. From Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe, we are spotting talent and identifying companies that may have what it takes to become global businesses.
The goal of infoDev’s Mobile Innovation Program is to support mobile technology startups with high-growth potential to take their products to market.
In consultation with entrepreneurs and managers of infoDev’s mobile startup incubators (mLabs) and innovation communities (mHubs), and through our evaluation and research efforts, we have identified a number of unmet needs of promising entrepreneurs. In particular, entrepreneurs have expressed a strong interest in:
- Sharpening their business models in order to grow their businesses beyond their current customer base;
- Working with mentors more effectively; and
- Improving their ability to raise early-stage and growth financing, by refining their investor relations and pitching skills.
To help with the first goal, we have supported a number of initiatives, including the ongoing mAgri Challenge, which which this blog  covered previously.
The winners of the mAgri Challenge, along with ten other of the best startups from infoDev’s network, will be given the chance to participate in Mobile Startup Camp. This week-long program of practical workshops will provide talented entrepreneurs from emerging markets with tools and methods to develop their products, engage with mentors and early-stage financiers, and scale their businesses across their countries, regions and the globe.
The Camp will consist of a five-day program of lectures, hands-on workshops, pitch practice runs and a demo day - a pitching competition before a panel of industry experts and investors. It is intended to give participants the opportunity to learn methods for launching their businesses and products (such as the Lean Startup method), work with angel investors, start defining their customer base and their business model, and sharpen their negotiation skills. The sessions are designed to give would-be entrepreneurs the knowledge they need to overcome the challenges they face, and grow their business so that they can make an impact--locally, and even globally.
If you are a mobile industry entrepreneur with a business focused on agriculture, enter the mAgri Challenge for a chance to win a seat at Mobile Startup Camp. And if you would like to nominate other talented mobile industry entrepreneurs from emerging markets to participate in the startup camp, leave us a comment below. Applications from women entrepreneurs are encouraged!