Archives For entrepreneurship

On July 16th, 2013 Appfrica CEO Jon Gosier had the pleasure of sharing information about the history of Appfrica and business opportunities in Africa with summer fellows at Temple University’s Urban Apps + Maps Studio.

Appfrica Temple University Urban Apps + Maps

Slides from the presentation. Business opportunities across the continent…

On Appfrica and our role…

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Partnering for Global Impact™ (PGI) is a landmark initiative to facilitate transactions in impact investing and philanthropy through one-to-one meetings. The annual PGI conference is a unique forum that encourages participants to share knowledge, engage with issues, explore investment opportunities and partner with one another. Our goal is to create a dynamic community of leaders that will increase the capital directed to scalable and sustainable solutions for global impact.

PGI brings leading families, private investors and organizations together with practitioners and entrepreneurs to generate solutions for the world’s less fortunate. The event is designed to enable participants to learn about and pursue investment opportunities with both a social and a financial return. This strategy, known as “impact investing”, is one of the most significant new investment paradigms to emerge in recent times. Interest is growing exponentially as investors seek to achieve more meaningful returns in their portfolios and as philanthropists introduce business models into their activities.

Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson

Bahiyah Yasmeen, Executive Director of Appfrica, will proudly represent our company at PGI 2013 in Lugano, Switzerland.

Appfrica provides technology solutions that address problems in three areas: lack of accessible data about African markets, lack of communications infrastructure in rural parts of the continent, and lack of access to capital for African technology ventures.

Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson became involved in social entrepreneurship at a young age, partnering with a friend out of high school to run a fashion line that sourced and imported local fabrics from women’s cooperatives in Tanzania. She went on to explore the world of media and entertainment in order to obtain a well-rounded view of the media industry, eventually returning to her true passion: international affairs and social entrepreneurship.

Find out more about Appfrica at PGI2013 by clicking here.

This quote from acclaimed film Director and Producer Steven Soderbergh struck me as immensely applicable to the fields of entrepreneurship and social impact.

The quote recalls another, by John Galsworthy, “Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.”

Passion without pragmatism is often ineffective…at worse reckless. We may all have our ideas on how things should work, but those who do successfully change things do work do so by embracing things that an idealist cannot, because by definition to an idealist compromise represents a form of defeat.

The lesson here for entrepreneurs (social or otherwise) is that it’s important to check your own ego when attempting to confront the challenges before you. Deconstruct your assumptions, validate your own opinions, and be willing to consider that at some point on your journey you’ve been wrong and that you’ll likely be wrong again.

Cheetah Trailer 45 from Jon Gos on Vimeo.

Why aren’t there more of a focus in books or film, about African innovations in business?

Not about its colonial history, its artists and musicians, its Dictators and tribes, its poverty and wars, its animals and wildlife…but work simply about doing business in Africa?

That was the question I asked myself before undertaking THE CHEETAH CODE. After spending several years living and working in the continent, it dawned on me that there were few resources available to those interested in doing business in, or with, the continent.

THE CHEETAH CODE is the culmination of several years of research in my time as a technologist, small investor, and activist. The book is about Africa’s young creative class, its expanding technical capacity, and entrepreneurs.

It is not a about philanthropy, poverty, or scapegoating foreign corporations. It is about contemporary business, economics, societal trends, and technology that happens to be told from the African perspective. It will be made available as a documentary film, and book.


If you find the above concept compelling, you can help make this project a reality by backing it on! Those of you interested in the project who live abroad, email me privately at


The most common mistakes most young or first-time entrepreneurs make are completely avoidable – if only they knew what to avoid. Obviously, this is the role that advisors and mentors play to young companies. By sharing their experiences, these mentors help save entrepreneurs the time, the stress, and the money that it would otherwise take to recover.

In fact, this is the main reason I blog at all. When I was starting out, finding information on doing tech business anywhere, much less in Uganda or Africa, was non-existant. I want to help ensure that’s not the case for the next generation of disruptors and thinkers.

This is why recently I launched a new podcast called GosTalk is a show where I share my own business experiences, advice, and tips, to hopefully help others do (or not do) some of the things I have. In my own career I’ve started two companies (Appfrica and MetaLayer), joined another early-stage startup (Ushahidi) as they hit their peak growth period, and invested in a number of other early-stage companies (HiveColab, Abayima). All three were very different experiences and hopefully those experiences will prove useful to others seeking to learn.

If you think you’ll like the show, Subscribe on iTunes here. You can find two episodes below to give you an idea of what to expect.

GosTalk Episode 3 “Getting Things Done” How to stay productive as an entrepreneur and beat procrastination.

GosTalk Episode 5 “Hack the Press!” Jon is in Moscow! In this episode we discuss how to hack PR to make the press you get more effective.

TEDx Week

Jon Gosier —  November 29, 2009 — Leave a comment

This week we’ll be distributing all the talks recorded last week at TEDxKampala. What was TEDxKampala? On November 23rd, 2009, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web dropped by Kampala, Uganda for our first ever TEDx. The event was facilitated by UNICEF who graciously provided catering, snacks and the venue; and co-organized by the Uganda Linux Users Group. Simply put, the event was incredible! Stephen Boyera of the World Wide Web Foundation offered the keynote talk, while Ron Nixon from the New York Times dropped with arguably one of the most interesting talks of the day where he presented his app Ujima which tracks spending too and from African countries. Solomon King of Node Six gave a moving talk on how he became a ‘famous citizen journalist’ for simply blogging about his experiences during the Kampala riots. Paul Bagyenda of Digital Solutions offered advice for young tech entrepreneurs, while Paul Asiimwe of Sipi Law Uganda talked about the importance of intellectual property law and digital rights to protect content and content producers.

The video below shows the event introductions by Sharad Sapra, myself, Reinier Battenberg, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and others…

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