The final leg of the ‘AMPION Venture Bus’ tour is scheduled to begin next week from 14th– 19th December and will see the startup bus make its way to the North African nation, Tunisia.
The Venture Bus’ path has been mapped to start in Tunis, making stops in Kairouan, Tozeur, Gabes and Sfax in between to connect the regional startup ecosystems and visit several local innovation Hubs for workshops, mentoring and pitches.
A special bonding experience and possible source of creativity awaits the group of Venture Bus entrepreneurs just outside of Tozeur, when the teams will set up camp in the Sahara desert for one night. The opening event is to be held at Tunis’ most popular co-working space Cogite. The winners of the Venture Bus Tunisia 2014 will be honoured at the Grand Finale, which is scheduled to take place in the premises of renowned private school ESPRIT (École Supérieure Privée d’Ingénierie et de Technologie) on December 19.
For the Tunisian Venture Bus, Ampion encourages the participants to work on solutions to use the power of mobile technology and ICT to improve the legitimacy of public governance and to strengthen public participation in policy-making processes on the African continent. Among the Venture Bus Tunisia participants will be experienced governance experts. Additionally, the workshops along the road will be joined by politicians as well as members of regional citizens’ initiatives.
So far the Ampion Venture Bus has created 24 startups where innovative ventures such as Halt Ebola, a fast and efficient information network tailored to deal with healthcare crisis, E-Maji – a smart, real-time water quality testing unit which can be used with any of the 700 000 boreholes across the continent to improve access to clear water and JamboCar, East Africa’s very first carpooling service, were created.
In 2014, for its second edition, Ampion Venture Bus Africa took 160 Ampioneers on four buses. Half of the Ampioneers came from Africa, the other half from the rest of the world. This year Ampion Venture Bus Africa ran in four routes across the continent which were West Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa and now North Africa. The Ampion Venture Bus also went across Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania Kenya Uganda and Rwanda.
The Ampion Venture Bus similarly looks at the entrepreneurial energy of young women, so they strive to have up to 50% of female Ampioneers on each bus. On top of their outstanding entrepreneurial skills, the participants bring sound knowledge in IT, web design, new media and business development.
The first road trip, in November 2013 took the Ampioneers to Harare, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town, 2.500km in 5 days. Three of the projects created on board in 2013 turned into successful startup ups: Sterio.me a mobile education system via sms, Workforce a platform bringing together job seekers and potential employers and Bribed, a crowdsourcing app to tackle corruption by providing real time prices on bribes.
Sterio.me and Workforce were selected among the top 10 finalists at the annual Africa business conference at Harvard in 2014. Sterio.Me made it also to the finals at the MIT Sloan Africa Conference and has been named one of the “10 most innovative companies in Africa” in 2014
The best startups from this Venture Bus will be rewarded with a Fellowship Programme for six months. The fellowship includes mentoring, free office spaces and funding and introduces the entrepreneurs to Ampion’s extensive network in Africa.