YWI Snapshot – Turning on a Dime

It’s been a packed three months!  In following our teams, we’ve seen that innovation is hotter than ever in Africa!
YWI tells the stories of innovative entrepreneurs, who, by definition are ready to pivot on a dime and lead the charge in a new direction. Here’s an update from a few teams we’re following in the field.
MFarm: The Kenyan farming mobile app start-up has gathered steam quickly and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. The girl geeks are making historic contracts between an exporter and farmers, increasing the prices farmers receive by 1000% for some products, re-framing the idea of middlemen. October 31 of this year marked their one-year anniversary, and already, they are changing the power balance between farmers and buyers.

Global Cycle Solutions: Founder and CEO, Jody Wu has been an active Ted Fellow this year as well as an Echoing Green Fellow in 2010.  In addition to growing the market demand for a mobile, bicycle powered corn sheller and battery charger in Tanzania, GCS is gaining recognition in the US as well.  The mobile charger is currently part of the Smithsonian “Design for the other 90%” exhibit, which will be showing at the United Nations visitor’s lobby until early January 2012.

HeHe: Rwanda-based HeHe does mobile phone applicatons for public opinion polls, for business, government and colleges.  In October, HeHe was one of six Rwandan ICT companies sent to Geneva to the ITU Telecom World 2011 Summit. Additionally, the team is collaborating with GirlHub, a Rwandan magazine and radio show, focused on girl empowerment. HeHe’s job is to help GirlHub effectively manage and respond to the SMS feedback received by designing and implementing a customized software program.  This initiative is funded through Nike’s GirlEffect and HeHe is grabbing some of their well-deserved attention!

That’s the quick and dirty for innovation updates from the field.  Thanks to the teams for their open and honest updates.  They are the faces of change and we love telling their journeys!  Stay tuned for more stories, videos, and follow-ups from entrepreneurs at home and abroad.

Young World Inventors

Young World Inventors is an international webisode and multimedia series: up-close serial videos of high and low tech startups trying to make it in a digital world. Will offer videos, funding resources, interactive blog (with funding) using new partners for distribution and broadcast of stories in four countries. YWI's first dozen stories profile girl power in East Africa -- as startups learn to survive, thrive and inspire change.

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