Can mentoring and entrepreneurship solve Africa’s Problems?

Iqbal Z. Quadir state in an article at the website to John Templeton Foundation (WEB) that African entrepreneurs are the key to solving Africa’s development problems. It is they who can drive their continent’s economic growth and it is they who can make their governments better. If money is invested engaging the organic and transformative potential of local entrepreneurs, Africa will flourish. If money is poured into government bureaucracies – which hold back these entrepreneurs – Africa will continue to languish.

 So maybe we can just say that entrepreneurship is the new aid?

In February 2013 Alejandro Chafeun wrote an article in Forbes called:

“From Aid to Enterprise: How to intelligently cure poverty”. In the article he talks about creating lasting solutions to poverty, and that is what entrepreneurship is all about.

In October 2013 Innovation Africa wrote about an project in Kampala, Uganda were two-dozen entrepreneurs from every corner of East Africa to live under the same roof for five weeks in Kampala, Uganda. There, they receive training from 50 mentors and form relationships with dozens of potential investors.

Unreasonable East Africa is replicating a successful model called the Unreasonable Institute. This model is based in Boulder, Colorado and has had tremendous success. 82 companies have attended the Unreasonable Institute in Boulder the past four years. In total, these 82 companies have raised more than $30 million in funding, and 74% of them have secured funding within 6 months of attending the Unreasonable Institute.

East Africa boasts hundreds of startups that open shop each year. Many of them, however, fail due to a lack of experience, resources, tools and connections before they reach profitability. “We exist to help startup entrepreneurs to get over these hurdles,” says Joachim Ewechu, CEO Unreasonable East Africa.

Read the whole article her

So for me with over 20 years working with entrepreneurship an over 12 years working with mentoring, my mind is set on combining those two must be the best solutions. You can have the best idea ever, but no network or/and a mentor, the chances for your business idea is not the best. But with a mentor the chances is increasing.

That’s why I became a part of Innovation Africa with my friend and partner Francis Stevens Georg. And the first country to work in is Sierra Leone.

So Francis (who was born in Sierra Leone), why Innovation Sierra Leone?

Well, when you take a walk down the streets of Freetown or some of our major towns and you see plenty of idle hands, young idle hands. What is amazing is that many are energetic, creative and full of ideas. These are the people with the solutions to our problems; they are the sources of innovative ideas and economic growth. We need to create a space, a platform for them to blossom! This is why I founded Innovation Africa. In addition;

  • Economic Development and Innovation are inextricably linked
  • The need to develop entrepreneurship and the private sector in Sierra Leone
  • The need to accelerate promising innovations
  • The need to enhance and manage Innovation in both the public and private sector

Challenges in social services, environment, education, agriculture and business calls for an innovation imperative

Entrepreneurship and Innovation requires less capital than it used to be!
 The technological opportunities for Entrepreneurship and innovation makes it possible to build great and sustainable solutions without the need for huge capital investments

Iqbal Z. Quadir is the founder of GrameenPhone in Bangladesh, and founder and executive director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His article her

Dr. Alejandro A. (Alex) Chafuen ’84 is president of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and a member of the board of advisors for The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. (The opinions expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Grove City College, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, or their boards of trustees.)

His article her

To learn more about Unreasonable East Africa, visit

Innovation Africa is her

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