Fifteen students from Brown University in United States visited the 88mph accelerator offices in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday, as part of their Global Immersion Experience section of the Program in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (PRIME) course.
Kresten Buch, Founder of African startup accelerator 88mph, addressed the students about his experience with African technology and investment in the continent.
The rest of the program line-up included the founders of Peach Payments, an online payment solution, pashash, an online shopping app and HumanIPO’s Managing Editor Tom Jackson.
“I absolutely think there is a lot of potential here [Africa], such a huge movement… for people to be empowered to do things, [this country] has a huge man power or potential labour force,” said Chris Whipple, who is working on an Amtrol project, involving engineering of robots.
Margaret Lengerich, a qualified Chilean Industrial Engineer, told HumanIPO that she enjoyed seeing the contrast between the township businesses and bigger companies like Sasol.
The visit in South Africa, as one of the destinations in their global excursion, is aimed at understanding the economic strategies, business culture and entrepreneurship at an international level.
“I hope they are taking as much out of it as they can get,” Debbie Brown, PRIME Co-ordinator said.
She explained that she wants the students “to notice the human perspective, to not disrespect businesses just because it doesn’t revolve around technology; to still try to see the human factors, like human emotions and people”.
“The stark contrast between coming from a world where the focus is on outward appearances, how interesting it is how their houses are pieced together, not attractive at all, but yet how proud and welcoming and friendly the people are and also besides that their homes are not pretty, they dress, they seem good at grooming, how well they seem to keep up appearances and probably a lot of money they seem to spend on it,” is what made the biggest impression on Brown.
David Benhamou, a French graduate of Information Systems, said that one of the highlights of South Africa to him was to see the “booming economy,” contrary to his pre-visit understanding. Estonia is to be their next stop, with Ireland after.