Ampion East Africa Venture Bus tour kicks off

Ampion East Africa Venture Bus tour kicks off

Africa is full of dreams and dreamers; dreamers who have great visions; visions that are the backbones of opportunities. The dreamers need a continent that can offer better technological solutions, better education, better service delivery, better healthcare and better and efficient platforms for doing business.

I come from an Information Technology background with a passion for data analysis. I am one of the African dreamers and had an opportunity to meet other tech-enthusiasts at the Ampion Venture Bus East Africa Tour, and this is my story…

AMPION is the leading pan-African entrepreneurship initiative that aims at enabling young Africans to start ICT companies, creating considerable social and economic impact. AMPION organizes 7-day Venture Bus programs accompanied by international mentors and followed by an extensive incubation program. The Venture Bus journeys connect entrepreneurial talent with international investors.

information about Ampion Venture busses
Information about the venture bus

By the end of this year, Ampion plans to have completed 5 venture bus tours. The planned tours include: The Morocco Bus, West Africa Bus, Southern Africa Bus, Tunisia Bus and finally, the East Africa Bus. I am aboard the East Africa bus whose journey begins from Dar-es-salaam -> Arusha -> Nairobi -> Kisumu -> Uganda and finally ends in Kigali where the Transforms Africa event will go down.

Aboard the East Africa Bus are people from different cultures, diversity, professions, experience, investors, mentors as well as entrepreneurs all coming together with one purpose; e-health in Africa, which is the focus for this tour.

aboard the ampion venture bus

People aboard the Ampion venture bus

Focus on e-health
After introductions from the Ampion team and getting to know each other, we had a brief presentation on the focus on e-health initiative. Below are some of the challenges Africa experiences concerning e-health.

  • There are no policies supporting e-health
  • We have hate relationship between innovators and competitors e.g health insurance service providers who tend to see innovation as a threat to their services
  • Challenges on how to commercialize health services that people think should be free e.g how do you make money from a service that can only be successful if offered for free to the public?

Based on the above challenges, we were offered opportunities to help us overcome them;

  • Offer innovation as a loss leader (have it as an extra package running along side the main service which is free and charge for that package). This way, you can offer free services to the public and still make something out of the extra services.
  • Make the services understandable to patients by making information available, automate the health services.


Our next focus of the day was Buni Hub, a Tech hub in Tanzania, comparable to Kenya’s iHub. Some of the hardware projects worked on include 3D printers and drones. They have internship programs that mentor students. Each batch of interns has at least 30 participants and lasts for 2 months, and is subject to renewal upon application if one feels they haven’t gotten the most out of the program.

Group work sessions at Buni
Group work sessions at Buni

Our Mentors for this bus trip include: Brian from Resilience African Network, one of the partners in Ampion Venture Bus 2015. Resilience African Network is focused on climate change, health etc. Focus with the East Africa venture bus participants will be in business modeling and customer centric design; Christian whose focus with the East Africa venture bus participants is to Convene young African tech engineers to come up with ideas and implement them; Benjamin from Global pharmaceutical and chemical company known as Merck his focus with the East Africa venture bus participants is commercialization, customers, business models as well as pharma.

Others include: Tony, Software engineer and founder of Afri Stalk which offers required training to Africans in existing businesses and even start ups as well bring in a network of ICT professionals and engineers; Lilian – Certified accountant with Traid company. Works with small and middle sized companies to ensure they have business solutions that last long as well as offer business mentoring with a financial bias.

The next presentation was on Design Thinking.

Design Thinking
This is the process of observing a situation and trying to find out what the user is trying to achieve

Steps involved in Design Thinking
Empathize – observe and try to put yourself in that person’s shoes in order to understand their actions, ask questions until you get to the root of the problem. E.g. If you find a girl trying to reach out and grab a book, there are different solutions that can be applied to achieve the girl’s objective, which is getting the book.

Define the problem – i.e In the case of the girl above, does the girl need a ladder to get the book or does she need the book? Define the appropriate solution to the problem.

Ideate – Come up with the challenge to address the situation. Group the ideas together into solutions that tend to solve the problem at hand.

Prototype – Come up wit a prototype based on the best group of ideas in ideate stage to solve the problem. Show them how it works or feels like so that you can find out what needs changing, upgrading or tweaking.

Test – Test your design with real users, with real scenarios and real situations. Get feedback and improve on your product or service.

NB: If the feedback is that your product or service does not serve the users’ needs, the design thinking is a cycle, you need to go back to the beginning and repeat the above processes.

Official launch at coco beach

The official launch of the Ampion EA venture bus was held at coco beach at 18:00 hours and was made possible by the German Ambassador to Tanzania.


Coco Beach, the venue for the official launch of the East Africa Venture Bus

Among the people who made speeches and presentations include CEO of CCBRT Erwin Telemans, Benjamin Hein from MERCK, Fabian Guhl, founder of Ampion, German Ambassador to Tanzania as well as Country Director of Giz Dr. Regine Qualmann.

ampioneers networking
Members of the Ampion Venture Bus Networking and Interacting with residents

The ceremony was coloured with music and dance as participants networked and shared ideas.

ampion sponsors-&-partners
Sponsors and Partners for the Ampion Venture Bus

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