The 2015 edition of the DEMO Africa startup event takes place in Lagos, Nigeria, today, with 30 startups launching their businesses in front of an audience of investors.
Disrupt Africa reported in July 26 startups had been selected to pitch at DEMO Africa in a number of categories, with four having already won their places after pre-pitch events held in Accra, Nairobi, Harare and Cairo.
Nigeria and Kenya are best represented with eight startups each. South Africa has three representatives, while Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon and Zimbabwe each have two. Uganda, Tanzania and Ivory Coast are represented by one startup each.
There was a record number of applications for this year’s event, which is sponsored by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship and Microsoft.
Director general of Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Peter Jack congratulated the startups and welcomed them to Nigeria for the event.
“We are excited at the opportunities that technology has presented to our African youths in creating jobs and wealth. This is a great moment in the history of Africa, steadily rising to establish its digital footprint in the world,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate every entrepreneur that took part in the DEMO Africa challenge, though the stage can only accommodate thirty entrepreneurs this year, our pride is particularly in the large numbers of entrepreneurs that continue to support the cause to have Africa generated solutions,” said Harry Hare, executive producer of DEMO Africa.
The selected startups have undergone a mentorship programme aimed at sharpening the pitching skills of the entrepreneurs.
Aside from the startup launches, there is plenty more happening at DEMO Africa. An investor summit took place yesterday, while a number of top industry players, including Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, Jorn Lyseggen, founder of Ghana’s Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), Tomi Davies, president of the African Business Angels Network (ABAN), and iROKO TV chief executive officer (CEO) Jason Njoku, will lead the discussions.