40 finalists for DEMO Africa 2012 unveiled

Up to 40 demonstrators have been shortlisted to participate at the first ever DEMO Africa event, the flagship initiative of the Liberating Innovation in Opportunity Nations in Africa (LIONS@frica), scheduled for October in Nairobi, Kenya.

Kenya dominates the list with 14 startups, followed by South Africa and Ghana with 11 and 4 respectively. Other countries represented on the list include Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Egypt, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

The 40 startups cover five categories namely: Social Media, Cloud Services, Mobile, Consumer and Enterprise Technologies.

The selected teams underwent a 4-month vetting process, with the adjudication done by a pan-African panel of judges made up of entrepreneurs, VCs and academics.

Some 500 applications were received, which were then shortlisted to 150 before being cut down to the final 40.

“This has been a very enriching exercise seeing the kind of quality innovation coming out of Africa,” said Harry Hare Executive Producer, DEMO Africa. “Many entrepreneurs did not make the final cut despite having excellent ventures. We wish we could launch all of them at DEMO Africa, but that’s practically not possible.”

Hare however promised that DEMO will engage all of them and see how to assist them through the partnerships they have created to move their businesses to the next level.

DEMO Africa is expected to attract venture capitalists, angel investors, investment fund managers, entrepreneurs, innovation supporters and media.

DEMO Africa is sponsored by LIONS@frica Partnership made up of DEMO, Microsoft, InfoDEV, Nokia and US Department of State.

The African eDevelopment Resource Centre and CIO East Africa will host the event under the auspices of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communications.

The event will take place at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi from October 24 to 26.

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