• Kees Kibinda

Venture: An Entrepreneur’s Journey

Updated: Feb 15, 2019

A documentary that follows African entrepreneurs on their journey from their respective countries on the continent to the Silicon Valley.

Back in February of 2017 I stumbled across an article on a documentary that I am still meaning to watch. It is called Venture: An Entrepreneur’s Journey. The story begins at Obama’s 2015’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit that was hosted in Nairobi, Kenya. It is about 4 African entrepreneurs that were winners of the DEMO Africa 2015.

The documentary follows these 4 entrepreneurs from their respective home countries all the way to the Silicon Valley in the USA. DEMO Africa is a flagship initiative of Lions Africa and is a platform that allows innovative African companies from the whole continent to present their products and services.

From the 600 applicants that went on to this 2-day pitch competition 30 finalists were chosen, and these finalists then went on to a session for a month called a boom camp. After that boom camp they had to pitch their product to a room full of investors and innovation stakeholders. From those 30 finalists, 4 winners were chosen who then could go on a tour in Silicon Valley called the Lion’s Innovation Tour; and this is where the story begins.

In a world where knowledge is power is true, it is of course great to get some investors into your company. But it is even better to get some well-meant feedback. It is therefore no surprise that numerous conglomerates came to the event to give their feedback to the participant pitchers. You must think of companies like Air BnB, IBM, EY, Salesforce and Draper Associates.

Let us have a quick look at the 4 entrepreneurs who won this event and whom the documentary is about:

Kalechi Anyadiegwu is a young lady of Nigerian heritage who grew up in New Jersey. Her startup is called Zuvaa which is an online community and market place for African inspired fashion.

Second is Bayo Balogun. He is a native Nigerian but in his adult life started working as a technology consultant and entrepreneur in North Carolina. He is the founder of CarPartsNigeria; a search engine aggregator for finding location specific auto parts and auto service technicians in Nigeria.

Next is an entrepreneur called Gagan Hayer who is a native of Mumbai, India and is a current resident of Nairobi, Kenya. He attended college in San Francisco. His startup, InsureAfrika, is a digital platform that allows people to aggregate insurance quotes and purchase a variety of insurance services/products online.

Finally; we have Karogi Kamau, native Kenyan whose start up is called Bamba-POS, which allows retail merchants to access point of sale and inventory management automation with any smart device.

The documentary delves into the roles of the immigrants, expats, re-pats and indigenous Afropreneurs who are reinventing the African entrepreneurial future. The story also looks at the role in this of the female African entrepreneur. It also takes apart the geographic, demographic and sectoral differences that they may find. The finalists are all staying in the same house during this journey, which means that it is easy to locate the common threads in their stories and things that they are facing. Naturally, this also enables one to clearly note the differences that they face.

This documentary should be interesting because it will also show the contrast of their challenges back in their respective countries as compared to what entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley face. Of course, they will also be (pleasantly) surprised by the many similarities that they will come across whilst being in the Silicon Valley. They will have to find a way to showcase their services to the business people in the Silicon Valley in a way that shows their USP as well as be able to make their stories resonate as well. This should make it interesting to watch.

The nuances in the cultural, immigrant vs native, female vs male differences make this documentary a must watch. It also confronts the viewers with the mindset of Africans versus the mindset of the people in the West and how to tackle it. It is just bustling with all kinds of things that people face daily in the entrepreneurial world.

On top of that, this documentary celebrates the existence of organisations like Lions Africa and platforms like DEMO Africa which of course made this whole thing possible.

In addition, events like the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, played a hand in the making of this story. If any of you has a link to where I can get to this documentary, please share it with me so that I can finally watch it.

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