Last year as an extension of the internally renowned StartupBus competition, a proof of concept bus was ran under the moniker ‘StartupBus Africa’. It was a hugely successful venture spawning new startups such as Sterio.Me (a learning system via SMS), Workforce (a platform bringing together job
seekers and potential employers) and Bribed (an app to tackle corruption by crowdsourcing real time data on bribes) in addition to building linkages between existing technology hubs in Africa and internationally.
It was quickly realized that the conditions for establishing a viable tech startup in Africa varied widely from Europe or America and a decision was made to create a overarching body that could adapt the competition and it’s benefits to Africa specifically.
Enter the AMPION,an NGO focused on fostering entrepreneurship and the buses are just the beginning. A brand new fellowship program to incubate the best startups from the bus to become successful new businesses is just one of the many changes participants of the competition can look forward to this year. AMPION Venture Bus is calling for applications for its four road trips this year. A global fellowship program to be launched with tech partners Afrilabs and VC4Africa.
AMPION Venture Bus brings together young African change-makers and tech experts from all over the world to turn business ideas into real projects. During a 5-day competition and road trip, the “Ampioneers” create start-ups and develop innovative solutions to local challenges. This year, AMPION expands its strategy and runs four new routes. “Our goal is to reach even more entrepreneurial talent across the continent and empower young people determined to pursue world-changing ideas, using the power of digital” said Fabian Guhl, Managing Director of the Berlin and Harare based not-for-profit initiative.
In 2014 AMPION Venture Bus will hit the road in fifteen African countries between September and November – along the West African coast, in the East African Community, in the Maghreb, and once again in Southern Africa. From IT specialists to web designers to creative entrepreneurs, 160 participants are expected to get on board during this second edition. Online applications are open to all from July 2. As key actors of economic change in Africa, young women are highly encouraged to apply.
The southern African route this year will include Namibia for the first time along with Botswana. The Tech Guys and SAIS Namibia and other local stakeholders will be hosting the bus in Windhoek.
The best startups from the buses will be flown to Abidjan for a major entrepreneurial conference in November. Co-organised with HEC, one of the top business schools in the world, this new conference will expose our Ampioneers to an international audience. Committed to generating economic growth, AMPION is building a global community to connect all the actors from the social business and tech landscape in Africa with the rest of the world.
To ensure a long lasting support to the Ampioneers, AMPION is also developing a global fellowship programme in collaboration with Afrilabs, the pan-African network of technology hubs, and VC4Africa, a leading venture capital platform. The programme includes global mentorship, incubation and office space for the best projects created during the journey.