The Business Canvas Roadshow took place on the backdrop of the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), “an international initiative that introduces entrepreneurship to young people in six continents.”
icecairo along with Innoventures and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4Africa), embarked on a one week journey throughout Egypt to foster the type of environment conducive to entrepreneurs in the spirit of the week’s objectives and the vision of all three organizations.
The event promoted the Business Model Canvas, a model or design template which helps develop a new business or documents an existing business. It is intended to help communicate the ideas in an effective manner. (video description here).
The week kicked off in Alexandria, then later headed to Minya, Aswan, and back to Cairo again. The program agendas were similar and consisted of introductions to all organizations, followed by an introduction to the methodology of the Canvas. Groups of attendees would then be formed and actually implement the Business Model Canvas idea. The next step was to harvest this information so as to organize the inflow of the most pertinent information. After the long day, all participants would break for dinner and chat for a bit over “Green” drinks.
VC4Africa was keen on supporting the proposed ideas throughout the week, and ensuring the continuation of this process that will ultimately lead to developing a business plan for investors.
Bill Zimmerman of VC4Africa showed enthusiasm for the high level of energy, quality of input, and enthusiasm of the participants. He said, “They came with ideas in such diverse sectors as recycling, up-cycling, community building/training, treatments for water pollution, bio-energy, sustainable housing, manufacturing, consumer services and so on. With additional work, several of the prototype cases we explored have a good chance at becoming viable businesses.”
In Alexandria, Sahar Ahmed, a student at the University of Alexandria, described how to remove pollutants from fresh & marine water using biomimicry. Out in Minya, one participant presented his idea of an Eco-friendly replacement for freon gas in consumer refrigeration and cooling devices. In Aswan, Mostafa Rashad Ali discussed prototyping an affordable 3-axis C7C milling machine base d on an open source hardware design.
On Cairo, Zimmerman had this to say:
“I was very glad to see icecairo apply the business canvas to itself and explore models to make their hub/coworking space financially sustainable. This group had the greatest output of all the workshops by far during the brainstorming phase. They presented two separate and totally unique prototypes. One centered around a FabLab offering as the central value proposition targeted at students and design communities. The other was primarily focused on the coworking value proposition of the space. The latter relied on events, training opportunities and so on and looked at subscriptions, member dues and space rental as possible revenue streams. Each model had a different set of partners, customer segments and so on. Perhaps most interesting, this case raised the possibility for cataloguing many such prototypes and sharing these as building blocks for tech hubs/coworking spaces across Africa to work from!”