What’s happenning to Tech for Africa?

by oneafrikan on July 26, 2007

I’m the first to admit that I’ve had my head in the sand the last few months, and have received many emails asking what’s happening with Tech for Africa... So I thought that posting something public would be the best way to communicate what’s happening for everyone to see ;-)

Must say that the last few months have been a blur…
Since January of this year, Technovated has gone from 4 people, to 10, to a venture funded project with 14 people in all, over three office moves and many many late nights and long weekends.

There’s a blog post coming up about it all soon, but the long and the short of it is as follows:

  1. I’m responsible for getting our venture funded application out the door soon, so I’m stacked as it is
  2. I’ve battled to find dates this year that get the right mix of African and international speakers together at the same time
  3. I’ve battled to find the right kind of sponsorship early, which would mean the difference between something good and something mediocre – mostly related to point 2 (since sponsors like to be linked to speakers and topics)
  4. I’m convinced that it would be a loss maker if we didn’t get the right speakers – there’s a very fine line between raising enough sponsorship to make the cost for attendees affordable as well as afford to bring out good speakers; all before you have fixed numbers that are all paid up… and without a pot of cash to dip into, it’s harder to take risks

So, in truth I’m not 100% happy about it ‘cos I’ve been talking about it for a while and I’m the kind of person to do rather than talk wherever possible, but I’ve taken some good advice from people who are helping out, and the consensus is that we should be aiming for around March / April next year rather, to give us more time to get points 1 through 4 above right. I certainly don’t want to spend time, effort and potentially my goodwill only to get great speakers out to SA and the event is a dismal failure and costs me more money than I have or can afford!

Anyways, this isn’t a sob story if you were thinking you were gonna be reading one.

A lot of people have either told me to give the idea up, or told me that I’m crazy, but I believe that they’re wrong. I’m pretty sure now that the original format and idea that I had bubbling in my head is going to have to be re-thought to take into account the difference environment, the cost of long trans-Atlantic flights, and the relative expense that something like this is when compared to someones monthly salary.

That said, I think the direction to take is to adapt and give more time to finding the right dates so that the right speakers can congregate for the event. Once that is done getting sponsorship will be easier and therefore the chances of success higher.

So, bottom line is that I’m still personally 100% committed to getting this off the ground and happening in Africa, even if it has to be delayed some – I would rather delay by 6 to 8 months and make it a good one where everyone benefits, than rush to make it work in October and end up with something that is mediocre…

So, I ask you to bear with me, and to stay tuned. It will happen.

;-)

One comment

Hi Gareth,

Thanks for the update! Looking forward to the conference when it happens. Anything worth talking about will still be worth talking about next year!

by d@vid on July 27, 2007 at 7:52 am. Reply #

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