The deadline to apply for Ampion's Venture Bus 2015, which packs a team of social entrepreneurs, investors and mentors into a bus for a seven-day road trip across Africa, is this Friday, 31 July. If you're active in the fields of eHealth, female empowerment or agriculture, get on board.
How many times have you struck up a conversation with a stranger sitting next to you on a bus, plane or train? There is nothing like sharing a common destination with someone (and a long commute) to help get you talking. Venture Bus takes this idea and amplifies it, sticking social entrepreneurs on a bus with mentors and investors and shuttling them across the African continent. The trip offers a crash course in the tech and scoial enterprise scene in certain parts of Africa while allowing social entrepreneurs a direct line to people and organisations that can help them further their idea or business model.
Depending on applicants' field of work and desired region to engage with, interested social entrepreneurs can apply for one of five different routes which go through: Morocco (where participants will also take part in one of the country's biggest tech conferences, Shape Africa); West Africa (with a focus on citizen engagement and governance); East Africa (looking at eHealth and heading to the Transform Africa event in Kigali); Southern Africa (focusing on agricultural hardware and culminating in a pitch session at AfricaCOM); and Tunisia (open only to female participants and thematically framed around female empowerment). Each tour will take participants to startup and tech hubs and events in the region and there are plenty of pitch opportunities on the itinerary.
The initiative looks to balance the scales by recruiting 50 percent of its participants from throughout Africa and 50 percent from other parts of the world. Furthermore, the team behind the initiative aims to have an even split between male and female social entrepreneurs participating in the project.
Ampion, the organisation behind Venture Bus, also offers a six-month fellowship programme to the best enterprises of the bunch, which includes a grant and mentoring.
Among the participants last year were Halt Ebola, which uses voice technologies and recorded messages from health authorities to convey vital information about Ebola to people in rural communities; and E-Maji, which created a portable device that tests water for contamination and uses GPRS coordinates to alert the local community and authorities about where polluted water is located.
Those looking to take part are encouraged to apply online by this Friday, 31 July.