GOLD ROOM BRIEFINGS

Each year African innovators sign the Harambe Declaration in the historic Gold Room of the Mount Washington Hotel, thereby pledging “to work together as one to pursue the social, political and economic development of our continent ”. In this spirit, Gold Room Briefings chronicles the progress of our collective endeavor to build Africa’s future.
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FEATURED BRIEFINGS

In today’s episode we feature Dr. William Mapham H’18, University of Stellenbosch, the founder of Vula Mobile. Vula gives health workers, particularly those in remote rural areas, a tool to get patients quick and efficient specialist care. The app was initially created for ophthalmology referrals, but it quickly became clear that the functionality provided by Vula was widely needed. A redesign enabled the app to scale and now includes referrals for any number of specialties.
On April 7th, 2019, in the shadows of Mount Washington Seni Sulyman H’15, Harvard Business School, presented Jeremy Johnson with the Harambeans Malaika Award: Champion of African Entrepreneurship, the highest honor the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance can bestow on individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the advancement of entrepreneurship across Africa.
As COVID-19 metastasizes into an economic and financial crisis, entrepreneurs throughout Africa’s nascent start-up landscape are increasingly facing an unprecedented threat, one that stands to eliminate 80% of non-VC backed ventures on the continent. To enable entrepreneurs to adapt and thrive, the Harambeans Prosperity Initiative is equipping African innovators in the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance with expertise and capital.

PAST BRIEFINGS

“Serious people laughed at me when I told them I wanted to build a telecommunications network in Africa twenty years ago. They told me all the reasons the project would never succeed,” Mo Ibrahim recalls of the reaction he got when he shared his plans to build a pan-African mobile phone company 20 years ago. “Somehow I just kept thinking, I know there are challenges but why can’t they see the opportunity?”
The Harambean community gathered at the Vatican in September for its fifth biennial forum to reaffirm its pledge to work together as one to build Africa’s future. The event brought together Harambeans and Guilds, the network of investors, experts and founding partners that make up the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance. The three-day gathering included a blessing for Harambeans in the Vatican Gardens and a thanksgiving dinner at the Pope’s summer residence.
Yoo and de Wysocki reflect on the missed opportunities engendered by the lack of early-stage investments in Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and Cisco’s attempts to bridget this gap through its partnership with Harambeans, giving early stage entrepreneurs a chance to succeed.
Irene Pritzker, President and CEO of the IDP Foundation, through a partnership with the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance, has helped African innovators secure more than $8 million from investors to scale their start-up ventures.
Jeremy Johnson and his co-founders at Andela understood that talent was equally distributed, and questioned why opportunity was not. He expounds on the principles of entrepreneurship that allow for true innovation and growth highlighting that most paramount to any startup journey is the non-existence of a blueprint.
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