From "Just Geeky" to Savvy Entreprenuer - The iHub Jumpstart Series

By Mugethi Gitau
iHub
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Your traditional image of a geek overlays comfortably with that of the mad scientist.

Hair unkempt, shabbily groomed, largely introverted and ill at ease in social situations prefers to sit and work away from everyone else, mostly in their bedroom at home. And of course, the compulsory geek glasses.

Your traditional geek (who we shall call Geek. Let’s allow Geek to be a he) is extremely intelligent, comes up with brilliant innovations and products. However, (s) he is largely lacking in social skills, has no idea how to pitch his/her product to a potential investor or partner. Geek has no clue on how to make his product attractive to a client, and is at a loss on how to begin letting people ‘out there’ know that it exists!

 

Because Geek is brilliant at what he does, he assumes that the market will just gratefully receive his app or e-platform, what with it being the perfect solution to the problems he identified. And tends to get rather easily disillusioned when the client critiques his ‘baby’.

 

So one day, through referrals, Geek lands his first big client. The down payment is larger than any amount of money he has ever received before! Yes!!! It’s time for Geek to go shopping! It’s time he upgraded from this tired, old computer anyway! A new high-performance smartphone is also necessary. After all, these are the tools of his trade. Connectivity, no?

 

To Geek’s rude shock, within 3 weeks, (2 weeks before he is done customizing the app for his client), his bank account balance is alarmingly low! Now he has to trudge on with this job, with hardly any of the comfort the down payment was meant to guarantee. Bummer! And who knows when another deal will be closed?

 

The iHub Jumpstart Series, whose maiden unconference took place on the 4th and 5th September at the iHub, is the answer to Geek’s dilemma.

 

iHub "Hypemaster" @afrowave welcomes participants iHub "Hypemaster" @afrowave welcomes participants

Conceptualized and by Jimmy Gitonga (@afrowave), Jumpstart consisted of eight sessions in total (4 on each day) that were unconventionally facilitated by an expert and a start-up. They were tailored to address Geek’s questions

  • How do I manage my finances?
  • How do I protect my idea?
  • How do I go about ideation and testing my prototype?
  • How do I brand myself and my product?
  • How do I pitch to an investor/partner?
  • How do I incorporate a company, and register a business/product name?
  • Which business model would work for me?
  • Where do I get funding?
 

Nivi Mukherjee of eLimu shares her experience in developing a business model Nivi Mukherjee of @eLimuKenya shares her experience in developing a business model

The expert addressed the how-to, while the start-up gave their experience on the topic, including challenges and how they overcame them. The participants engaged the speakers in vibrant debates, sometimes having to stop on account of time.

 

The Branding session by Fadi (@fadzter) of @ARKnative is the expert session that stood out to yours truly. Simple. Clear. I understood not only what a brand is, but I felt I could verbalize the whole vague concept that is branding.

 

The start-up session that I enjoyed the most was Macharia’s (@TheMacharia) bootstrapping session. A candid poignant narration of his PesaTalk experience.

 

The iHub jumpstart series shall be a quarterly affair with the next one expected in December.

 

 

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