Almost two years ago, when I was facing challenges of sourcing and affording to build a world-class engineering team for my startup (Go, Ltd), I decided to work on a model that would establish what I call the Africa Engineering Base. The base would not only back startups like mine but also be a new way of investing in, and empowering, tech communities in Africa.
The idea is powered by a business model based on sharing human resources. It would attract Africa’s best computer scientists and engineers, bring them under one roof, and allow startup founders – who are more entrepreneurial – to source competent collaborators.
For the first time (back in August 2016) in my life, I started a crowdfunding campaign to raise one million U.S. dollars. The funds would serve as starting capital for the Base for a minimum of two years, and quickly attract African talents from within the continent and the diaspora.
Surprisingly, not even one of my close friends donated a hundred dollars (I am yet to ask them why, thinking maybe they were too ‘overwhelmed’ to even think about the ambitious fundraiser). I failed miserably to mobilise the necessary support, but I have learned the best lessons for the future. And there is one thing I know for sure: the idea remains a necessity and I am still committed to making it happen. We must address the issues of human capital on the continent.
In the meantime, an alternative is the Andela hub which will be established in Kigali, according to a partnership signed with the Rwanda Development Board a few days ago. I believe the hub will bring positive change to the ecosystem, starting here in Rwanda.
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