Mara Group to open innovation hub in Silicon Valley for African entrepreneurs

A top Ugandan tech entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar, 31, wants to set up a hub at Silicon Valley for entrepreneurs from Africa. The Mara Group founder confirmed last week after visiting Yahoo, Facebook, Zynga, Google, Stanford among other technology leaders at the Valley.

Thakkar is also looking to acquire some of the seasoned Silicon Valley founders and venture capitalists to mentor up-and-coming entrepreneurs from Africa.

He said the hub will enable entrepreneurs from Africa to learn and copy the working style of their counterparts at the Valley.

He told the Mercury News that East African entrepreneurs have to learn to network.

“The youth in Africa need to know what it means to be entrepreneurs,” he said.

Thakkar is known for having founded the Mara Foundation that has supported entrepreneurship since 2009.

Another of his role in entrepreneurship is The Mara Launchpad, a startup accelerator program cum co-working space for entrepreneurs from around the region that has since seen 120 entrepreneurs build their business assisted by world-famous business people.

Recently, Mara Group launched The Mara Launch Uganda Fund, equity to help entrepreneurs in Africa make their ideas a reality.

Mara Group now has 11 companies and over 5,000 employees with annual revenue estimated to lie between $150 million to $200 million.

The group recently began online mentorship program to reach out to many in Africa who are geographically limited.

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