Budding Young Entrepreneurs Emerging from Africa and Europe: a Startup Accelerator the AMPION

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Africa is full of young inspiring and outstanding entrepreneurs who want to be positive change makers in their communities but lack access to investment, technical expertise and mentorship. In order to do something about this, a group of more than 20 people from Africa, Europe and the United States have been dedicating their time to support, train and encourage Africa’s brightest business minds to find innovative ideas for sustainable start-up enterprises.

How is this possible?

One of possible ways is AMPION – a start-up accelerator for empowering entrepreneurial minds from the fields of Business, IT, Engineering, Design and Management and training them to come up with innovative projects and solutions to challenges in African communities.

This German non-profit organization has been in more than 15 African countries covering North, East, West and South. During the trip, teams of African and International entrepreneurs are formed to come up with ideas and collaborate to transform them into real projects that can tackle grave issues faced by millions of people in Africa and pitch them to a jury of experts and investors at the end of the trip.

The last AMPION Venture Bus in 2014 took place in Tunisia from December 14 to December 19 and it took entrepreneurs and students from Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States to training sessions in Tunis, Kairouan, Tozeur, Gabes, Sfax and Hammamet, where they had the opportunity to develop their projects and interact with local experts, entrepreneurs and business coaches.

The opening event took place at Cogite coworking space in Tunis where the AMIOPNeers had the chance to interact with each other for the first time and meet the AMPION members. During this event they took part in interactive activities that aimed to break the ice and create a productive and comfortable environment where positive change can thrive.

The grand finale took place on December at ESPRIT University in Tunis, where a jury of highly important investors, bankers and decision makers from North Africa and Europe chose the 3 winners of AMPION Venture Bus Tunisia 2014: TrashCash, ExTail and Citizen+.

Here is the full list of the start-ups created throughout the AMPION trip in Tunisia:

The three winners:

1st place: TrashCash, aims to develop proper disposal of trash.

2nd place: XTail, a mobile app that provides custom tailored travel itineraries based on preferences, budget and time.

3rd place: Citizen+, an online platform that promotes active participation of citizens and enables communication with municipalities.

Other projects:

Infinity Funds (honored as most social project): An online crowd-funding and community support platform.

Yelaah: A platform for investors to reach out to qualified entrepreneurs.

EMdetect: A smart medical device that enables communication between autistic children and their parents.

GeoTbibi (honored as most innovative project): A mobile platform that connects patients to the nearest and best doctors and lets the user book appointments online in an efficient way.

 

Interview with Sana Ksouri, one of the AMPION participants from Tunisia and a co-founder of Infinity Funds:

 

Why did you apply to take part in AMPION Venture Bus and what are the opportunities you found during the trip?

 

I wanted to go on an adventure and evaluate my capacities. I believe that the biggest opportunity that AMPION gave me is to be able to exchange ideas, advice, and feedback with young people of different nationalities, and conceptualize my project. The continuous support and mentorship of the AMPION organizers helped me during the development of our initiative.

Was working on a bus challenging?

The fact of starting from 3 different ideas from people who have never met before and transforming these ideas into one final project and presenting a prototype in just 5 days of working in challenging conditions is just unbelievable. When I was hoping to get off the bus and start working on the ground, I found myself working in the middle of the Tunisian desert in a tent with no internet. It was a big challenge!

Tell us a little bit about your project

Infinity Funds is a platform that creates an open and transparent space for resolving social challenges by raising funds and donations from the public through a free and accessible website. It also offers the opportunity to clearly highlight real social difficulties and raise youth awareness of social responsibility and advocacy.

What will happen after the trip?

Now that I have gained valuable experience and mentorship, I am willing to keep in touch with the people I had the chance to meet during the trip and keep working on Infinity Funds with my colleagues. I want our ambition to be a reality through our project.

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