The workshop presented innovative models of entrepreneurship promotion through the activities of Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy, a $20-million program funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and executed in partnership with Nokia.
Some unifying themes ran through all three panels, including an emphasis on understanding the context of an intervention, the importance of establishing metrics that capture the program’s positive outcomes, and the need to design and track projects over five to seven years to extract reliable lessons.
The two-day event opened with a discussion titled “Pushing the Frontier in Entrepreneurship Promotion,” moderated by Ruth Kagia, Senior Fellow of the Results for Development Institute. The panel tackled the risks inherent in supporting startups and spurred a lively Q&A session on intervention design.
The discussion led into an afternoon workshop on various models of promoting mobile entrepreneurship, such as the mHub and mLab models infoDev has piloted in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe over the last three years. It came on the heels of the news that mLab East Africa client Kopo Kopo secured $2.6 million in Series A funding.
The final panel, on November 19, focused on infoDev’s upcoming Agribusiness Innovation Centers (AICs), designed to enable value-chain agribusiness entrepreneurs. The first AIC, to be located in Tanzania, has been funded and is slated to launch in 2014.