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Ibe: Mobilising African entrepreneurs to tap $12bn digital opportunity

Like Tony Elumelu, young Just Omomo Ibe is mobilising African youths to re-think, re-focus and re-strategise while capturing series of economic opportunities inherent in the $12 billion global digital economy.

Ibe recently launched the Association of African Startups (TAAS), a digital economy hub, which is on a mission to equip 20,000 African startups with tools, strategies and mentoring support to help them navigate the business terrain in the digital economy while rebuilding Africa.

To achieve this lofty mission, Ibe is gathering a competent team of faculty members who collectively have helped businesses grow revenues of over $1 billion in their different capacities and field of endeavours from across Africa, including Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya.

Speaking on the concept of TAAS, Ibe says TAAS’ major goal is to build startups that can use their businesses as tools for empowering their communities, nations and continent.

“We are focused on transforming the minds of our members such that they see that business is not just for enriching themselves but for personal and national economic development.

“Entrepreneurship is a viable way out of poverty for the people in Africa. We have come to realise that part of the challenges we face on the continent is not solely as a result of the dearth of human resources. Africa houses some of the greatest minds on earth. We have businesses that are providing solutions to real time problems and scaling out.

“It is, however, unfortunate that most part, the efforts of the average African entrepreneur are not matched with government support. That is why we are intentionally seeking strategic partnership with government and business stakeholders who sit at the helms of the affairs to support our objective.

“We intend for our work to inform policies that would propel and strengthen the business of the average entrepreneur in Africa,” she says.

Talking about sources of finance and seed funding, Ibe says, “Startups will be required to subscribe for as little as $15 owing to the obvious reason that most startups bootstrap their way through any business venture.

“The goal of the organisation is to provide an enabling platform. As we progress, opportunities for seed funding by Africans will be made available. We understand that previous seed funding opportunities have created reasons to doubt the integrity of Africans to focus on building businesses.

“We intend to build a safeguard against that by focusing on what we can do with the available resources and also expose opportunities that have been overlooked within the African space. The idea is for Africa by Africans.

“Our existing business members will be equipped with knowledge of breaking into new borders of intercontinental trade. We have also created a curriculum that hones into the digital economy which is an almost $12 billion market.

“With more ideas and businesses starting and our members growing their revenue dramatically, one by one Africa’s GDP will be hugely impacted, but most importantly, we will have people who are committed to carrying flags of African econonmic growth,” she further says.

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