Somalia lacked any form of technology incubator to foster and develop a vibrant technology start-up ecosystem and transition to a knowledge economy. Ultimately leaving it lagging in an agriculture- and labor-intensive economy. Couple this with the high youth unemployment rate (67% of 15-30 years old), and growth and job-creation in traditional sectors not in step with the growth of this demographic primes, the need for an enabling environment that generates sustainable employment and growth through the creation of technology focused start-ups leveraging the expertise of the Diaspora and boot strapping off the growth of private sector companies.
Over 100+ technology start-up incubators, accelerators, hubs and labs have cropped up all over Africa helping create jobs, wealth, foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem, commercialize technology, identify new business opportunities, and oil the cogs of economic growth. As the world moves to a knowledge economy, ICT and technology are core drivers of national economic and developmental policy, and significant investments have been made by governments to make strides towards this. Evidenced in the burgeoning “Silicon Savannah” in Kenya, “Digital City” in Rwanda, and the plethora of vibrant technology companies congregating in various pockets in other sub-Saharan countries.
Therefore, Shaqodoon will organize Youth Tech Innovation Challenge event in Mogadishu during Global entrepreneurship week in November focusing on tech startups from six pre-qualified universities Mogadishu who developed technologies ready to be commercialized. The event will also bring together investors from the private and public sectors, higher education institutions, government officials, the media and the youth innovators. Linking investors with innovative youth and universities enables for a myriad of possibilities for new start-ups, in the tech industry and beyond, and contributes to reducing unemployment among the youth.
The program will comprise two-week accelerator program, a media program promoting entrepreneurship among the youth, a network of mentors, investors, and partners supporting innovative tech start-ups, and a business competition for university students. The final event will take place in mid-November 2017, during which the compositing start-ups will present their companies and compete against each other. The winners will receive $2500 in kind grant to start up their business.
- To Inspire.
- Introduce the notion of entrepreneurial behavior to as many people who otherwise might not have considered it as a path in their life.
- To Connect.
- Network people national wide to find new ideas at the intersection of cultures entrepreneurship & creativity and investment.
- To Mentor.
- Enlist active and inspirational innovators in Mogadishu to coach and mentor the next generation as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
- To Engage.
- Demonstrate to opinion leaders and policymakers that entrepreneurship is central to a nation's economic health and culture and to provide opportunity to learn from each other on entrepreneurial policy and practice.