A local entrepreneur is inviting Atlanta investors and innovators on a four-country trip across Africa to connect with potential partners at technology and startup hubs sprouting throughout the continent.
Faruq Hunter, CEO of GeniusCorps, which connects people with resources and training to help them accomplish goals, believes Africa is ripe for investment, especially in sectors like software development.
The problem, he said, isn’t opportunity. It’s awareness.
Geeks Gone Global, as the trip series is called, hopes to provide the remedy, taking a curated cross-section of Atlanta’s creative class to Dakar, Senegal; Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; and Cairo, Egypt, in May.
Mr. Hunter has linked up with hosting organizations with shared values, including tech incubators, co-working spaces and entrepreneurial development groups. For instance, 88mph, the host in Cape Town, invests in early-stage mobile-web companies focused on African markets.
“Each stop we will have a reception by our coordinating partner, a pitch day at the innovative spaces in the city – African entrepreneurs pitch to our group and our group pitches to them – a fun dinner with local innovators and entrepreneurs and a day dedicated to hanging with entrepreneurs and movers and shakers while taking a tour of the cities and their sights,” he told Global Atlanta.
Mr. Hunter says he has garnered support from various government ministries, using ties built at home and abroad. An active member of the World Trade Center Atlanta, he uses the center’s international network to arrange and host meetings in the 20-plus countries he visits per year. He also connects with inbound dignitaries when they speak in Atlanta.
“This is not fluff; it is really how I started my public-sector international relationships,” he said of the local World Trade Center’s advocacy on his behalf.
About 130 people have showed interest in the trip. The trip will be limited to 20 participants representing the diverse members of the innovation landscape in the U.S.: “investors, entrepreneurs, creatives, techies, hackers, makers” and more.
The total cost including trans-Atlantic airfare is $4,800, payable in installments, for those who register before March 15.
Mr. Hunter is promoting the trip through a series of events connecting foreign government representatives in Atlanta with live audiences and connecting them via Google+ with Africa-based innovators to discuss issues facing entrepreneurs in target countries. The events are broadcast live. The first focused on Nigeria, featuring Atlanta-based Consul General Geoffrey Teneilabe.
To participate in the events or to join the trip, visit www.geeksgoneglobal.com.