Silicon Congo project to boost ICT entrepreneurship

By Issa Sikiti da Silva

ICT entrepreneurs in Congo Brazzaville have been given a platform to take off, grow and prosper by Silicon Congo, a new project launched early this week in the capital Brazzaville by the BantuHub Foundation.

The new project, probably branded along the lines of US-based Silicon Valley, forms part of the HighTech25 Initiative, a brainchild of Congolese ICT wizard Vérone Mankou.

Under Silicon Congo, selected young entrepreneurs will receive mentorship, personal and group coaching, entrepreneurship and marketing training, technical support, and other services, project coordinator Guy Tiburce Miampika told a press briefing.

Four ICT start-ups that will be selected every three months will appear before a jury of experts to make a presentation of their projects and consequently be enrolled in the nine-month development programme, Miampika explained.

TechHub head Phonsia Odingui said Silicon Congo will also provide selected entrepreneurs with internet connection, a work space, communication facilities, experienced business mentors and a pitch session to entice investors.

The first promotion is due to enter the programme on 1 April. The submission of applications for Q1 2015 is currently open and will end on 16 March.

Only Congolese tech entrepreneurs operating inside Congo Brazzaville need apply.

Technology entrepreneurs in Central Africa and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa face enormous challenges to make a breakthrough due to the lack of support from government and big businesses, as many lack funding, marketing and business management expertise, among others, to make any significant impact.

“I’m studying computer science not to land a well-paying job in the ICT sector, but to open my own business. This is the kind of support struggling entrepreneurs need to go to the next step,” student Ange Pascal Nzonzi said this week in the township of Bacongo.

 

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