Successful mobile money applications and blockchain innovations are among the topics to be discussed as part of AfricaCom 2016's AHUB.
TheAHUB is again powered by Ericsson and aims to bridge the digital divide by providing a meeting place for Africa's start-up community. It will link business-ready entrepreneurs, developers and start-ups with accelerators, investors, VCs and business mentors.
The AHUB will take place from 15 to 17 November in Cape Town. Organisers say it will provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to take their start-ups to the next level and for investors to seek out growth in the African tech market and make a meaningful contribution towards socio-economic development.
"The AHUB exists to champion innovation and stimulate entrepreneurship in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector," says Adam Thompson, head of content for TMT Africa at KNect 365.
Thompson says as economies in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to grow, there are a multitude of challenges unique to each market that innovators, developers and start-up businesses are addressing through creativity and entrepreneurship.
"The technology industry has and will continue to play a part in the African continent's economic transformation. Last year's AHUB sought to fill the gap that exists between innovation and funding. We are committed to encouraging innovation and promoting ICT as a positive change enabler in our workplaces, schools and homes," according to Tumi Chamayou, VP for strategy and marketing for Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa.
There will bespeakersfrom across the sector, as the AHUB offers three days of curated content focusing on educating, sharing insightsand showcasing successful start-up businesses. There will be case studies from wiGroup, M-KOPA, DealDey and MaxiCash, as well as live demo sessions with early stage start-ups. A fintech focus day will also examine what is driving mobile finance in Africa.
One of the speakers is Lorien Gamaroff, founder and CEO of Bankymoon, a software company providing blockchain solutionsto the financial services industry. He says although blockchain technology has been around for several years, there is still very little understanding of it at a technical level.
"It promises to disrupt centralised financial systems and provide a reliable mechanism to prove the integrity of information. Through our research and technical expertise, we aim to demystify its processes and reveal its potential," says Gamaroff.
Mobile finance is an equally hot topic on the African continent and a number of speakers at the AHUB will provide case studies of how their ventures have been successful across the continent.
MaxiCash - a virtual wallet for African expatriates to send and receive money - is one of these and co-founder Tania Mukwamu is presenting at the AHUB. She says the pan-African nature of AfricaCom means start-ups will be exposed to what is happening around the continent and open to more opportunities for business and growth. "I believe is it an incredible time to be an entrepreneur in SA," notes Mukwamu.
Mobile point-of-sale platform provider wiGroup CEO Bevan Ducasse is another speaker and says the AHUB provides a good platform to bridge the gap that still exists between innovation and funding.
"We are working in an economy that requires growth and employment. Innovation is what creates this growth and enables you to build something sustainable, which means you can have a positive impact in not only the business world but also to consumers, staff and potentially the wider population," he says.