Watch the “Bill Gates of Africa” talk about his vision for innovation and technology in Africa

Often described as the “Bill Gates of Africa”, Herman Chinery-Hesse embodies his mantra “Only Africans can save Africa“, and believes that if Africa misses the current global IT boat, there may never again be an opportunity for rapid wealth creation on the continent. He will talk candidly about the challenges, potential and opportunity present in African technology today.

In his own words, “if Africa misses the current global IT boat there may never again be an opportunity for rapid wealth creation on the continent“.

Top 8 Samsung Ignite start-ups announced

Eight local technology start-ups have been offered a unique opportunity to pitch their business ideas to delegates, potential investors and media at this year’s Tech4Africa conference, taking place at The Forum in Bryanston, Johannesburg on 27 and 28 October.

This platform has been created by virtue of Samsung Ignite, an initiative that aims to showcase and foster local technology development, and which has been made possible by Samsung Apps store, in association with Tech4Africa. In the words of Gareth Knight, our founder and MD, “this platform allows local technology innovators to showcase their ideas to a broad audience, potential investors and technology entrepreneurs who have walked this path before”.

Tech4Africa’s primary aim is to promote and inspire local mobile and web innovators, entrepreneurs and developers by inviting global leaders in the sector to share their knowledge and insight with an audience from across the continent. The Samsung Ignite programme is an integral part of the overall conference’s vision that it is hoped will provide the spark that the eight start-ups need to take the next step in their development.

The 8 selected startups include:

10Layer: the most feature-complete, competent and customisable open source content management system for serious publishers and media houses. which offers an innovative online solution to obtain useful, insightful and honest feedback. that allows users to get legally-binding contracts signed in minutes – legally, cheaper, greener and stored forever, with automatic reminders before renewal/expiry.

Lessfuss: is an affordable South African personal assistant service that helps you save time and get things done for as little as R30/task.

Mobiflock: is a product range that consists of a parental control service, a personal smartphone tracker, and a corporate smartphone manager.

Plot my Ride: is a social networking service for the cycling community that offers an easy and real-time means of capturing, displaying, saving and sharing a cyclist’s riding activity.

Real Time Wine: captures the supermarket wine-buying audience and empowers them to discover, review, engage with and buy wine using smartphone apps, game mechanics & barcode scanning.

SnapBill: is an automated billing system that allows users to easily sell their services online.

“We are very passionate about the African market and encouraged by the innovations emerging from the continent, so it’s a natural fit for us to partner with Tech4Africa to present this stage for innovators to showcase their products,” says Brett Loubser, B2C Apps Development Lead at Samsung. “We intend using this partnership to help create a wider network of local developers, reward African innovation in the mobile tech and app space and promote the Samsung Apps Store as an alternative channel for smartphone developers”. Loubser added: “A key outcome of our participation as the Ignite partner is to engage South African developers and therefore we have made available a number of discounted tickets to facilitate their involvement at this year’s conference.”

The Samsung Ignite participants will each be afforded five minutes to showcase their products in the main auditorium at the end of the first day of the conference. A panel of judges has been gathered to adjudicate and the winning startup will be announced on the second day of the event, and be given the opportunity to present their start-up to the entire Tech4Africa audience. The winner will also receive the latest Samsung mobile devices and valuable exposure and profiling through the Tech4Africa website.

Attending Tech4Africa? Enter the Bush Getaway Competition!

If you have already bought your ticket to the technology event of the year in Africa, you still have the chance to take your Tech4Africa experience further and make it unforgettable. As it happened last year, after the conference finishes, we’re treating this years’ international speakers with an invitation to a Bush getaway for a few days.

We are extending the Bush getaway invitation to one lucky attendee, which will be a great opportunity to hang out with highly influential people in technology; not to mention the trip itself, with amazing sightseeing spots and the chance to get close to the African wildlife. The getaway takes place from October 29th – 31st, the prize includes 2 nights accommodation, transfers, 1 person single room, all meals and drinks and game drives.

If you bought your ticket, you can enter the draw and be in with a chance to win, by tweeting you’ve registered for Tech4Africa and why. Use the tag #seeyou@t4a.The draw date will be 15 October – winners will be notified then.

If you haven’t bought your ticket for the Tech4Africa 2011 conference yet, you can register here.

Good luck and don’t forget to pack your camera 😉

Samsung facilitates developers’ attendance at Tech4Africa

Samsung is inviting all mobile app developers to take part in this month’s Tech4Africa conference in Johannesburg and has made available 50 discounted tickets, representing a R4000 saving each, to facilitate their participation. Samsung is the Tech4Africa Ignite partner and has extended this offer in a bid to attract and help grow the local developer community, a key part of Samsung’s mobile business strategy.

samsung appsIgnite is an initiative that will allow African startups to pitch their products to a panel of angel investors, mentors and business leaders during the two-day Tech4Africa conference taking place at The Forum in Bryanston, Johannesburg from 27 – 28 October. Samsung will also be running Samsung HQ Developer Support Sessions. These specialist app development workshops, hosted by leading international Samsung developers, will highlight global trends and best practice.

“Samsung aims to promote co-operation, innovation and the exchange of new ideas in technology across Africa so that our innovative products and technologies continue to respond to the real needs and conditions on the continent. It is with this premise in mind, that we are so excited about offering the discounted entry to developers who will undoubtedly benefit from participating in this year’s conference,” said Brett Loubser, B2C Apps Development Lead at Samsung.

“We’re using our partnership with Tech4Africa Ignite to inspire new directions and provide the technologies and gadgets that Africa requires. It’s about listening to the market, building partnerships and really committing to Africa and its people by providing them with relevant content and apps – for a smarter life.”

These objectives are closely aligned with those of Tech4Africa, and specifically its Ignite programme, which aims to highlight innovative new ideas and allow African startups to use Tech4Africa as a platform to gain valuable exposure, and even early stage investment.

Gareth Knight, founder and MD of Tech4Africa, said Samsung’s subsidisation of the tickets was a show of its commitment to both Africa and app developers, who do not have the same levels of market access available to their counterparts in the US and Europe. “Our vision has always been to create a local platform to which international experts and leaders are invited to share their knowledge and insight,” he said. “The partnership with Samsung is evidence of how that vision is being realised and how we can make a real impact in Africa. We hope to attract and uncover exciting talent through this unique opportunity.”

Developers who are interested in taking up this offer can find further details at The discounted tickets are available to qualifying developers for R1 500 excluding VAT. Applications for the discounted tickets are open until 21 October.

Calling all tech students: Win a scholarship ticket for Tech4Africa

Tech4Africa, in line with its DNA; engage, inspire, enable and innovate, have provided 20 Scholarship tickets for students to attend the Tech4Africa 2011 event. This opportunity will provide students with a rare opportunity to learn firsthand from technology evangelists about the role that the web plays in African business and development.

Should you be a student in the IT, web, tech or digital space and wish to apply for one of these complimentary tickets, please email your name and contact number along with a 200 word motivation outlining why you think you should be awarded a scholarship ticket to

Please note that the scholarships consist of a conference ticket only which entitles entry to the conference and exhibition – successful applicants will be responsible for their own transport, travel and accommodation (if applicable). Closing dates for motivation submission is 16 October. For further information on the event, speakers or the schedule, visit the Tech4Africa website.

Tech4Africa is a two-day conference running from 27 to 28 October 2011 at The Forum in Bryanston, Johannesburg, and will bring international experience and perspectives to the African continent, while at the same time showcasing what Africans are doing with mobile, web, digital media and other emerging technologies.

Keynote speakers include Josh Spear, one of the youngest and most respected digital marketing strategists in the world, and Herman Chinery-Hesse, commonly known as ‘The Bill Gates of Africa’. Spear and Chinery-Hesse are part of a line-up of African and international thought leaders from organisations like Amazon, HP, Johns Hopkins University, Mozilla, SwiftRiver, the African Institution of Technology, Motribe, Clearleft, Ultinet Systems and many more.

Tech4Africa launches Innovation Award

Tech4africa innovation awards We’re now calling for entries to our inaugural Tech4Africa Innovation Award. Designed to recognise homegrown innovation and further inspire the industry to develop global solutions to uniquely African challenges, this prestigious award is open to individuals and companies alike.

“The Tech4Africa Innovation Award is another mechanism for us to realise our goal to engage, inspire, enable and innovate,” said Gareth Knight, MD of Tech4Africa. “Africa has produced some incredible innovations to address problems that are considered unique, although these solutions often find traction around the globe”. “We want to recognise a single person or company that has developed something that has changed the lives of people in Africa. A great number of successful innovations emerge every year, yet many slip under the radar and this is something we hope to remedy through this initiative.”

How to apply

The process has been broken down to its bare bones in a bid to make applying as simple and cost-effective as possible. Individuals or companies therefore need only send a single-page synopsis of their product or service, what the innovation is and the level of success or traction that it has attained. The only qualifying criteria are that the innovation must have been in the market for at least one and a half years and have been created by Africans to solve uniquely African challenges. Participants are welcome to nominate themselves or suggest a deserving recipient.

Entries for the Tech4Africa Innovation Award close on 12 September, following which a list of 10 finalists will be drawn up. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony to be held the night of 26 October as a curtain raiser for the two-day conference that starts the following day.
“The judging panel will consist of industry experts, community members and conference partners,” said Gareth Knight. “We are trying to keep the process as open and transparent as possible and are busy concluding the prize details. We have no doubt it will carry a lot of prestige and exposure and enable the winner to use this recognition to drive or develop the innovation further.”

New edition, new ideas

The 2011 Tech4Africa Conference follows last year’s successful launch of the event, which attracted more than 500 developers, marketers, innovators and business executives. Some of the industry’s leading minds gathered for two days to participate in presentations by and discussions with international speakers on the state of web and emerging technology on the continent.
The 2011 edition of Tech4Africa will be hosted at The Forum in Bryanston, Johannesburg from 27 to 28 October. Registration for the conference is open, with full details on the website.

* Photo by whiteafrican (Creative Commons)

5 reasons why Tech4Africa 2011 is the technology event of the year

As we start the second half of 2011, the technology landscape is changing at such a pace that the need to be current and timely is greater than ever.  It’s clear that mobile reach will be far greater than the PC, and that apps will be the deciding factor for the market winning device or platform.

It’s not quite the hysteria of 1999, but we are starting to reach a tipping point where most of the worlds population that could be online, are.  Perhaps more importantly, the benefit of this connectedness is felt even more in Africa where people who did not have a voice, now do.  With that as the foundational plumbing, the usefulness and immediacy of mobile will drive more and more people to consume services, utilise data, and engage socially, which then drives demand for cloud based services accessible anywhere and on any device.

Building on the success of Tech4Africa 2010, we’re back in October 2011, and even better! Our themes for this year are Mobile, Social and Cloud, and through listening to great feedback from the 2010 event, our schedule has changed somewhat to focus on fewer talks with deeper content, and expanded to include relevant events for the African tech industry. These are the highlights that make Tech4Africa 2011 the technology event of the year:

1 – Featuring Josh Spear and Herman Chinery-Hesse as keynote speakers, plus 8 more great international speakers.

2 – African speakers who are experts in their fields will share their experiences about developing tech businesses in Africa.

3 – The Trade Show runs through the duration of the conference, and is an ideal opportunity for African technology businesses to showcase their products and/or services in an environment of buyers, decision makers, journalists, tweeters, bloggers and potential recruits.

4 – Ignite is a startup competition, aimed at giving exposure to the hottest new startups, while introducing them to prospective investors, customers and the media.

5 – Presented to a single winner, the Innovation Award encourages innovation for solving uniquely African problems, whilst also encouraging global thinking.  The Award recognises that innovation can be entrepreneurial, as well as intrapreneurial, and so is open to anyone or any company.

It’s through these initiatives and more in the coming years, that we’re delivering on our objectives of Engage, Inspire, Enable, and Innovate. We hope that you can join us at the technology event of the year, running for two full days on the 27th & 28th October, at The Forum, in Bryanston, Johannesburg. To avoid disappointment, book your ticket now.

We’d love to follow you on Twitter too!  We’re @t4a