Why We Are Asking You To Pay To Attend Sahara Sparks 2018.
It has been three years now since we did our first event at Mlimani City,
13th -14th May 2016. A lot has happened from that time to now; we have moved from being just an event to a group of company that supports the growth of innovation and technology entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa, Sahara Ventures.
Sahara Sparks was formed as a platform to bring together young entrepreneurs to link them to potential partners, investors, mentors etc and to spark conversations on how we can create the right environment for new innovative ventures to emerge. The event has evolved to become a platform for everything tech, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Since its initial launch the event has registered almost twice the number of startups showcasing during the event, double the number of attendees of the event, increased the number of investors, sponsors, and partners. In 2017 we had more than 1200 attendees, 139 startups, over 40 speakers, 8 sessions and 5 side events building up to the main event.
Moving from “Breaking The Barriers” to “Towards Smart Solutions” our two previous events themes, was never easy. The quality of the 2016 event was very high we had to stretch ourselves to the limit to be able to offer a better experience in 2017 and I’m happy we’re able to do that. In 2017 the quality of the speakers went up, the quality of the startup was better and the side events really created value for the attendees. We learned a lot from events such as; Omidyar Fintech Breakfast, Daser David — Header File Event, Tsavo Labs Social Enterprise Session etc.
2017 also gave us something different, the diversification of tech across untouched areas of potential tech-related businesses in Africa. We talked about opportunities in the digital music market with high profile musicians, technology in Arts, technology for socioeconomic development etc. We discussed challenges and opportunities as we move to the smart era of adopting easy to use, data-driven, user-centered technologies that add real values to people and transform our way of life.
In three years, our community has also grown with over 70 speakers who have been Sahara Sparks stage, 239 startups which have applied to take part in the event, over 10,000 Facebook followers, 20 high profile sponsors and over 100 partners from across the globe. The event which started has a Tanzanian event, has become a regional event with build up events potentially in Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Uganda before the main event in Tanzania.
Our mission is very simple, Building Africa’s Innovation Ecosystem. We believe by having a locally established platform owned and run by Africans to discuss innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship in African context while preserving Africa’s interests will create a chance for new potential solutions for most pressing issues in the continent through; positive conversations, quality startups with innovative solutions, changed mindset of youths, improved policies, and regulations, innovation for development and collective actions from diverse groups of stakeholders and changemakers.
Fast forwarding to 2018, Sahara Sparks event is officially an African event. We are excited to work side by side with AfriLabs, the network of African tech hubs and labs to organize one event for the African innovation and technology entrepreneurship ecosystems. The event themed “Innovation in The Data Age” has come in the right time when everyone is speaking about the power of data and new trending technologies; AI, Blockchain, Robotics etc in transforming people’s lives. Who are we not to talk about it? Africa needs this kind of discussions now more than ever if we are to catch up with our colleagues in the developed North.
A continent with a market of 1.2 billion people over 200 Million youths (expected to double by 2045) with an internal trade (intra African exports) of less than 20 percent needs to sit down and talk about innovation, technology and data, either at Sahara Sparks or any other platform and not only talking but coming with concrete action plans — JRM.
By now you should be able to understand why we are asking people to pay to attend the event but these are our two major reasons among others;
- We want to have a completely independent event driven by what needed to be discussed rather than who sponsored the discussion.
- For the event to be sustainable it has to run as a business, creating a sustained value and building a brand based on people royalty and appreciation to the brand. We want people to own the brand Sahara Sparks.
Going forward, Sahara Sparks is going Africa, holding series of City Sparks events across the continent by working with local innovation and technology entrepreneurship communities; hubs, spaces, labs etc to continue these conversations at the city level. Sparkling discussions, recruiting startups, search for investors, building networks of mentors, sponsors, and partners across the continent. This is not an idea is already happening and we will have City Sparks events this year.
If you believe in our mission you can access the City Sparks concept note here and we can help you organize one.
Looking forward seeing you at our main event on October 11th — 13th, Golden Tulip Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. You can get your ticket here. To attend buildup events and City Sparks event just follow the updates on our social media pages and register on our website.
We would like to appreciate the support of everyone who has been involved in one way or the other on making this event possible including organizations and partners who have already committed to support us again this year.
By the way, the early bird registration is open, you can register now and get a chance to pay 50 percent less of the actual ticket price.
CEO, Sahara Ventures.