IAEF: Connecting Indian and African Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

India-Africa Entrepreneurship Forum

A Not-for-Profit Entity and Go-To Platform that is Bridging the Gaps, Exploring Opportunities, and Promoting Entrepreneurial Collaboration Announces the Launch of its HQ in Mauritius.

“It is increasingly clear … that entrepreneurship is the surest way for a nation to meet … goals and to develop prosperity for the greatest number of people.” – Paul Kagame (President of Rwanda)

A strong and vibrant startup/entrepreneurial ecosystem is an essential requirement for developing economies desirous of rapid growth and progress. India, home to the second-largest startup ecosystem in the world, is predicted to witness a year-on-year growth of 10–12%.

The African startup ecosystem, on the other hand, has recently caught the attention of tech-entrepreneurs, such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, who are gradually shifting their focus from “aiding” to “investing’ on the continent; and, in the process, creating and sustaining numerous opportunities for startups.

In 2018 alone Africa received over US$700m of early stage investment which is a four-fold increase from the previous year.

The India-Africa Entrepreneurship Forum (IAEF)—a first-of-its-kind, not-for-profit entity that seeks to connect the entrepreneurial ecosystems of India and Africa—announces the launch of its hub and headquarters in Mauritius.

[bctt tweet=”The India-Africa Entrepreneurship Forum (IAEF)—a first-of-its-kind, not-for-profit entity that seeks to connect the entrepreneurial ecosystems of India and Africa—announces the launch of its hub and headquarters in Mauritius. #entrepreneur #startup ” username=”bizztor_IN”]

Envisioned as a go-to platform for entrepreneurs and investors actively involved in the startup space, the Forum will work towards harnessing the creative potential of entrepreneurs and the power of collaboration.

IAEF will promote mutual learning to enable startups to succeed amidst adversity and immature markets.

The IAEF has three objectives:

1. Build bridges between Indian and African entrepreneurs

2. Organize meetings and focus groups to encourage entrepreneurs in both regions to explore opportunities

3. Help forge joint ventures and business partnerships for both capital and market access.

Why is this Forum Relevant and Necessary?

Although, India and Africa share deep historical, commercial, and cultural ties, but their startup and entrepreneurial ecosystems are yet to be connected in a meaningful way.

This is despite the fact that both the regions have much in common, in terms of their economic and social conditions, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and subsystems.

If Indian and African entrepreneurs, investors, angels, and mentors were to collaborate, they can help strengthen the startup community ties, stimulate innovation, collaboratively solve common and pressing problems, gain access to wider markets, and reinforce existing efforts (in startup, business, and international trade) across the regions.

Overall, both economies will benefit from accelerated growth and development.

The IAEF Story

The India-Africa Entrepreneurship Forum is the result of more than 18 months of hard work undertaken by Baljinder Sharma, Zachariah George, and Satya Narayanan R.

The Mauritius-based serial entrepreneur and tech fund manager, Baljinder Sharma had set up the first TiE Chapter in Africa (TiE is a global platform aimed at fostering entrepreneurship through mentoring, networking, education, funding and incubation).

Zachariah George, Stanford alum and former Wall St investment banker, has been based in Cape Town since 2010, and is the co-founder of Startupbootcamp AfriTech – the #1 global accelerator program outside the U.S. for early stage tech startups. Zach is also an active Angel investor with an investment portfolio of more than 30 of Africa’s top tech startups.

Satya Narayanan R, an active angel investor in India, is the founder of CL Educate, whose flagship event is MeltingPot that brings together the entire innovation ecosystem for collaboration, dialog, and knowledge share. He is also an investor in Startupbootcamp AfriTech alongside Baljinder Sharma

In 2017, Baljinder and Zachariah helped organize an interactive session for African entrepreneurs/startups and a set of Indian-origin angel investors (part of a Members Retreat for TiE Global) at Cape Town.

The runaway success of the session prompted them to convert this single event into a sustainable platform to aid entrepreneurs, startups and investors in both regions.

At this point, they were joined by Satya Narayanan and the trio worked towards formalizing the initiative.

The idea caught up with entrepreneur evangelist like Vuyisa Qabaka, who is based in South Africa and believes that Indian angel investors could understand African entrepreneurs better than their Western counterparts.

The reasons are that the challenges faced by startups in Africa are not dissimilar to those faced by Indian startup entrepreneurs; and that there is a lot they can mutually learn from and collaboratively accomplish.

The initiative was welcomed by a number of Indian and African venture capital funds, entrepreneurs, and angel investors, such as Padmaja Ruparel, the co-founder of Indian Angel Network (the world’s largest angel investor group) and a key player in the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem, who have been a great source of support and inspiration for IAEF.s

On the occasion of its launch, the IAEF also announced the hosting of a Startup Summit in July 2019 – a Davos-like event in the sublime surroundings of Mauritian greenery, white beaches, and turquoise waters.

Most pre-eminent early stage investors in India and Africa, as well as incubators, entrepreneurs, and political and economic leaders have strongly expressed their desire to participate in the Summit.

To know more, please visit – http://africa-india.org/

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