African Founders’ Stories: 2016 GES Event by My Africa Is

By Aliesha Baldé, My Africa Is

Entrepreneurship, innovation, tech start-ups, social enterprise—these trends have been gaining momentum since the global financial crisis of 2008. This crisis and the accompanying spike in unemployment rates around the world have spurred an unprecedented number of new university graduates to start exploring entrepreneurship as an alternative to traditional career paths.

The advent of the internet, global connectivity, and especially social media encouraged this movement, with millions of individuals accessing new communities, networks, and ideas. African entrepreneurs, in particular, capitalized on this newfound connectivity to overcome many challenges, including lacking infrastructure, and started to compete on the same level asFounders' Stories their peers from more developed countries.

Despite their participation in this global phenomenon, the stories of start-up founders from the African Continent are too often overlooked-they are often celebrated locally or among diaspora but left out of the larger global conversation about innovation. Their inspiring success stories, including their immense creativity and persistence, offer valuable lessons for any aspiring entrepreneur, regardless of geography.

Entrepreneurship in any country is difficult, but African entrepreneurs face additional challenges, such as a lack of essential human capital, infrastructure and seed funding. Yet they continue to make great strides in various industries, finding local solutions to global issues. From the pioneering of mobile money in Kenya to crisis mapping that has been used during natural and political disasters around the world, Africa’s tremendous contribution to tech innovation must be acknowledged.

This is why we are hosting Founders’ Stories: African Edition on June 22, during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 in Silicon Valley. The first portion of the evening will take viewers on a deep dive into the beautiful chaos of Nairobi, Kenya, through My Africa Is: Alternative Nairobi, the award winning pilot of the documentary series that is chronicling African cities through the eyes of local innovators, and dispelling myths and stereotypes about living on the African continent. The story is a tribute to Kenya’s dynamic innovators, who are providing a solution to Kenya’s high unemployment rate.

The event will also be an opportunity for members of the local community and GES attendees to meet successful founders from the African continent and the diaspora. They will take the stage to detail their rise to success, the challenges they faced on their way there, and the way forward.

This event seeks to amplify the growing recognition of the ascendance of African entrepreneurs to the global stage, reflected by the choice of Nairobi, Kenya, as the site for last year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit. We aim to keep their contributions in the conversation during this year’s Summit in Palo Alto, CA, and to provide a shared learning experience that extends beyond borders.

To learn more about the event and to purchase tickets, go to