Great presentation by Andy Hadfield about why Africa is alive with opportunities.
It has been 4 weeks since the kick-off of the RLabs Innovation Incubator and Accelerator (InnovIA). The social enterprises being incubated this year is a wide variety and we will be featuring them on our website over the coming weeks. Some of them has already had a great start to the year although it has only been 4 weeks. Some of the highlights:
- She’s the Geek launches DigiWomen programme for vulnerable women and empowering them with digital and entrepreneurial skills.
- Urahisi, mobile ordering platform, have secured their first client and already attracted hundreds of users.
- LetzGo, public transport booking platform via mobi-web, making progress with their go to market plan and focus on the Southern Africa markets. Also in the process of securing a technology partner for their payment gateway.
-Chisana and Social Media Factory growing concepts who will be going into prototyping phase over the next few weeks.Social Media Factory has also secured clients and growing its micro-work team through the RLabs community.
- MiGoX (website coming soon), community government social platform, have started development and curating of content.
- Uusi, jobs social network, have passed 6.5 million job searches since its soft launch early December 2011. Currently more than 40,000 registered users have uploaded their Mobile CVs.
The above highlights after 4 weeks are proof that lots more exciting things are lying ahead for the social enterprises at RLabs and we will keep you updated on the progress as the teams work towards their October 2012 launch day.
One of the buzz words in the developing world is the increased usage of the term Social Enterprise. Many however mistakenly confuse Social Enterprises for traditional non-profits. Social enterprises differ in that it has a specific triple bottom-line which focus an addition of social and environmental values to the traditional economic measures of a corporation or organization’s success. The need for social enterprises are increasing with a specific focus on addressing the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
At RLabs, the Innovation Incubator have now take the approach of incubating and accelerating Social Enterprises to address community problems and we’ve been applying The Lean Startup methodology as described by Eric Ries (See image above Eric addressing Ignite event)which I was fortunate to meet at an event in San Francisco. At RLabs the lean startup approach to our startups was very helpful and we’ve already seen one of our startups JamiiX growing into a business operating for almost a year now.
The Lean Startup basically emerged through the following key trends:
1) Use of free and open source software
2) Application of agile software development methods
3) Applying a customer-centric rapid iteration approach to development (Similar to our Living Lab, methodology at RLabs)
Not only is RLabs using The Lean Startup approach in its incubator but have also been using the same approach within the movement itself. Eric will be releasing his book titled “The Lean Startup – How Today’s Entrepreneurs use continious Innovation to create radically successful businesses” later this year and be sure to catch your copy and we will keep you updated on the progress of our social enterprise startups at RLabs.
Many opportunities exist to get involved with emerging social projects and one that RLabs have found to be extremely effective is the Innovative One Percent Club. 1% Club is the marketplace that connects smart development projects with people, money and knowledge around the world (Something similar to the Kiva initiative – See video above). With projects from over 36 countries supported by close to 5000 members it is one of those Social Entrepreneurship success stories.
I will also have the privilege to attend and speak about our Community Experiences at the One Percent Club Event in Amsterdam, 17 September 2010, that brings together people from all over the world to engage in the use of Web 2.0 and Innovation for Social Good. For more information about the event visit the event website and you can join 1% Club on Facebook or follow them on Twitter
As we’ve started our first Community Tech startup a few weeks ago, we will be sharing a number of interesting business resources to help other Technology startups especially those in emerging economies. One of the latest trends in the Venture Capital (VC) world “CrowdFunding” that has brought changes to the traditional methods for VCs that includes the possibility of a much higher return. This investing model has been introduced and experimented by a number of entrepreneurs and below are some interesting slides to explain Crowd Funding as an investment method. In South Africa the concept is still fairly new but some have started the process of experimenting with Crowd Funding as a medium to invest in small start-up companies.