m:lab, World Bank Group Launch ‘Traction Camp’ to Support Growth-Oriented Entrepreneurs


November 18, 2016

M:lab East Africa and the World Bank Group launched Traction Camp, a new initiative developed  to support emerging digital and mobile entrepreneurs across the region. With support from the World Bank Group, Traction Camp will allow m:lab East Africa to extend its capacity and service portfolio, ensuring that innovative digital products can be developed and scaled into sustainable and profitable businesses.

In East Africa, there is limited support for companies with a market-ready product. Entrepreneurs who graduate from incubators still lack the necessary skills to accelerate the development of their businesses, by attracting financing from different sources and building links to a wider value chain.

“Entrepreneurial skills, business acumen, access to networks, and good knowledge of financing mechanisms are critical to scale startups,” said Ganesh Rasagam, manager for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the World Bank Group’s Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice. “Now is the time to seize the moment and help entrepreneurs bridge the gap through increased training and technical support in those areas.”

The first call for applications will be published in the coming days and will stay open until the end of January 2017. The program will consists of two weeks of intensive training followed by up to six months of personalized coaching, tailored to each entrepreneur’s needs.

Participating companies will receive technical assistance to improve their marketability to early-stage financiers. The curriculum will cover key topics, such as investment readiness and investor engagement, along with negotiations, regulatory environments, and internationalizations.

Traction Camp is supported by the World Bank Group’s infoDev program and the governments of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Kenya.

For more information, visit

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November 14, 2016

iHub + Oracle Forum – Is Cloud Important When Running a Business?   Cloud computing is a style of computing based on shared, elastic resources delivered to users in a self-service, metered manner using web technologies. Some of the advantages of using cloud computing include paying per use; where users pay only for the resources they use and Scaling IT resources; scaling up and down computing resources on demand.   On 29th of July 2016, the iHub hosted a forum with Oracle to discuss whether cloud is important when running a business. The forum was attended by representatives from Oracle who presented on some of the cloud solutions offered by the company. Oracle is working innovatively to deliver benefits around cost, security, management, workflow, and business integration in its multilayer approach to the cloud as listed below:  

  • Software as a service (SaaS). Offering the most complete portfolio of any public cloud,

Oracle Cloud’s SaaS delivers modern cloud applications that connect business processes across the enterprise. Covering everything from customer experience to enterprise resource planning, human capital management, and more, Oracle Cloud’s SaaS offerings are everything you need your business to be: personalized, connected, secure.

  • Platform as a service (PaaS). Delivering the industry’s #1 database (Oracle Database)

and #1 application server (Oracle WebLogic Server), Oracle Cloud’s PaaS is the industry’s leading enterprise cloud platform. Built on proven Oracle technology that runs everywhere, Oracle Cloud’s PaaS helps organizations drive innovation and business transformation.  

  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Offering a comprehensive set of infrastructure

services—including elastic compute and storage—Oracle Cloud’s IaaS lets businesses run any workload in the cloud. Best of all, it does so in a fully integrated environment that has been optimized for the cloud and provides a unified security model.   Oracle has simplified the use of cloud so that anyone: whether a developer or a non-techie can get to leverage on cloud technology easily. A good example is Oracle Application Express which enables you to design, develop and deploy beautiful, responsive, database-driven applications using only your web browser. You can try it out today.   Get more information on Oracle cloud services here  

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PIVOT East 2016 Semi-finalists Announced


November 14, 2016

PIVOT East, a startups competition and conference geared towards raising the quality of startups in the region and improving their investability, has unveiled semifinalist for this year’s competition. The semifinalists totaling 50 will be competing to be in the list of 25 exceptional startups set to fight it out for market recognition and investor interest during the finals conference on 15th November. The competition opened the call for applications in August 2016 with startups from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Somalia applying through the Venture Capital (VC4Africa) platform. To reach the best startups in the region, the PIVOT East team worked closely with hubs across the region to ensure that the best entrepreneurs in the region take part in PIVOT East. The competition attracted over 120 applications from Across the region. Compared to the previous editions, this year the competition received many applications from countries like  Rwanda and Ethiopia. The competition also attracted applications from Somalia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We also received applications from non-East African  countries e.g Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Lesotho, Tunisia and Gabon. 13 thought leaders were drawn from across the region to review the PIVOT East 2016 submissions. This culminated in the top 10 startups in five categories being determined. The panel consisted of; Emrys Schoemaker – Research and Strategist at Caribou, John Kieti – Consultant at the World Bank , Richard Magu – ICT Projects Manager at Software Group ,Stephen Deng -Strategy & Innovation Manager at Caribou Digital , Jacqueline Dismas – Fabrication Laboratory Manager at Buni Hub , Kimathi Ikiao – Investment Associate at Accion Venture Lab, Kishor Nagula – Director at Caribou , Josiah Mugambi – COO at iHub, James Odede – Director at LakeHub, musa Kamata – Manager at Buni Hub, Marissa Drouillard – Senior Director at Caribou, Keziah Njeri – Angels Interactions at Viktoria Solutions and Craig Perue – Research Fellow & Senior Consultant at Mona School of Business & Management, UWI The criteria used by the judges helped to evaluate the startups’ purported customer pain, opportunity and customer segments, the solution and its fit to the problem, the revenue model, and analysis of the competitive landscape. Other selection criteria items helped to evaluate the calibre of the team and the startups’ focus to grow into sustainable enterprises. These included the team composition and commitment, current market traction, and projections for milestones and key metrics. We would like to thank all the judges who took time out of their busy schedule to evaluate the startups. Now without further ado, HERE are the semifinalists of PIVOT East 2016. Congratulations to all the semifinalist and All the best in the next stage. About PIVOT East PIVOT East is East Africa’s premier startups pitching competition and conference held annually since 2011. It is organised by m:lab East Africa an initiative of the iHub. The competition is comprised of a series of activities that culminate in the finalists conference that will he held on 15th November in Nairobi, Kenya. About 125 mobile startups from across East Africa have participated as finalists of past PIVOT East editions. And 20% of them have cumulatively raised over $20 million in funding after their participation in the competition.

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November 14, 2016

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November 14, 2016

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