South African Acceleration Summit Update
By Dieudonne Allo, Goldin Global Fellow, South Africa
Our Acceleration Summit was a remarkable success. I am writing to share a few highlights and pictures of the event.
The head of CSI of IDC (our current donor) IDC’s portfolio manager, IDC’s Mthatha-based staff, representatives of the local municipality, Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Boston College, New and Old Board members, staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, a few of their parents and a student from our Student Innovation Lab made up the list of participants. A representative of the Daily Dispatch Newspaper was also present.
During the summit, certificates (cisco-accredited) were awarded to beneficiaries of the project, as well as in-kind start-up capital in the form of hand tools.
Each beneficiary highlight their LL-Tech Academy journey, presented their businesses and made an ask. A student from our school programme, the Student Innovation Lab, presented a game she created which is helping students improve their pass marks in economics. Her idea started at a Design Thinking session last year which GLLI organised during the student innovation winter school. We (Zona and I) presented an overview of the LL-Tech Academy and our plans for the future, which includes the construction of an Open Innovation Hub in Mthatha.
The NYDA representative offered to sponsor each of their businesses with amounts ranging from R55,000 to R200,000. They will go through a formal application process to get these grants from January.
The IDC were upbeat about GLLI’s professionalism, creativity, accountability, ability to deliver and the LL-Tech Academy model. They requested that GLLI and IDC start discussing the post pilot project as soon as possible.
Gratitude to our Board Members for your support. Special thanks to Mr Dyeyi who was our Programme Director, Mr Wopula, who welcomed our guests on behalf of the Board and Mr Sejosengoe and Mrs Mabija who handed our symbolic gifts to the visitors. Special thanks to Sharon Ries, who accompanied me to IDC to discuss our proposal last year and helped with parts of the proposal. Thank you all for your words of support, even to those who couldn’t make it to the summit in person. I cannot thank you all enough.
Due to the success of this summit, we plan to make the Acceleration Summit on rural tech entrepreneurship an annual regional/provincial event, which we plan to co-organise with IDC. It will be a Launchpad for grassroots technology entrepreneurship in the Eastern Cape (and eventually nationally) and catalyse growth in the tech economy of the province. I will have a chat with Travis Rejman, Jimmie Briggs and Cynthia Auston, our US-based advisory members to explore the possibility of involving U.S acceleration partners who may want to join us next year at the summit.