Anne Githuku-Shongwe Fellow 2011
Living in: Pretoria — South Africa
Venture: Afroes Transformational Games
Transforming Africa through digital media
Operating in: Sub-Saharan Africa
Impact Area: Children and Youth, Consumer Awareness, Democracy and...
"Afro-optimist, innovator, bridge-builder, mother, courageous"
Describe yourself briefly.
I am a passionate Afro-optimist and mother of 3. I am committed to seek solutions that leverage mobile technology for Africa's youth. I founded Afroes in 2009 as a digital social enterprise to Gamify Africa’s 21st Century learning needs. Our mission is to position Africa’s youth for success. We build digital game-based learning solutions designed to equip Youth with the knowledge and skills to live productive futures. Afroes solutions and digital products are designed alongside our multiple Partners and Clients who are keen to support new innovations in learning and engagement of youth that are effective and scalable across multiple countries.
Prior to starting Afroes, I was a Development Professional for over 20 years including 15 years at the United Nations Managing large scale national and multi-country programmes across Africa. Today, in addition to running Afroes in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, I am a public speaker and thought leader on entrepreneurship, social innovation and women's in technology.
Describe your Unreasonable Venture in 100 words or less.
Afroes develops innovative digital media solutions to respond to social issues & build mindsets of possibility in Africa
Describe your relevant experience (especially entrepreneurial).
My mother has run numerous enterprises in Kenya since my teenage years. These have ranged from coffee farming and processing, shoe retail, wholesale clothing, fast food and wholesale foods. From age 16 I assisted her with procurement, logistics, stock management, sales and accounts. Personally, I have worked as a Project Leader on numerous development projects all requiring innovative strategies, unique and effective solutions; fundraising and mobilisation of partners. Though my experience is primarily in the development space, I find that these skills are applicable to the business requiring the same skills: strategy, sales and marketing, defining solutions and partnership development.
Why is your team uniquely qualified to run this venture?
As the lead in this business, I have the vision, passion and network to ensure that Afroes succeeds. I have a Masters degree in International Development Management with communication electives & have served as a Policy Advisor and Manager of Development Projects for over 20 years.
Tom leads on operations and has an MBA from SAID Business School and has successfully developed and managed 3 start-ups in China and Kenya.
Phil leads on technology and innovation. He has a degree in Politics & International Relations, is a self-taught technology expert and has lived & worked in China as a Journalist and led projects on live fiction and cross-cultural dialogues.
Mxolisi Xaba leads on Creative and User Engagement. Mx has a degree in fine arts & graphic design, is experienced in youth & mobile.
What is the urgent social or environmental need you're addressing?
Unemployment of Africa's youth is at a staggering 70% across Africa with even 60% of University graduates on the streets after completing 3 year degree programmes. Access to affordable & experiential learning for entrepreneurial development and connections to real-time opportunities for productive futures
What is your solution to this need? Describe your business strategy.
Afroes creates customised game-based learning solutions on mobile for companies and governments with investments for the Youth market. Our strategy is two-pronged. The first is to grow our existing flagship product - JobHunt - a gamifies app designed to equip and connect Africa's youth to the world of freelance work and digital enterprise.
Our long term strategy is to focus on a single content area - entrepreneurial mindsets - with a view to developing a global standard gamified mobile platform that will equip and connect millions of youth in africa and globally to opportunities. Through a single reusable platform, Afroes will invest in growing its User reach across Africa's markets as well as connecting them to opportunities with business and governments both in Africa and globally,
Convince us it will work. What milestones have you achieved?
To date, Afroes has built 5 mobile game-based learning apps with a reach of 700,000 Users combined. Through a partnership network in 3 countries in Africa. With annual revenues of $500,000 and a seed investment in 2013, Afroes 12 person strong team in Kenya and South Africa has built capabilities to develop and deploy world class mobile products. Our partners have included global companies such as Intel, as well as development partners like Rockefeller and Ford Foundations; mobile network providers and governments. Today Afroes has developed a digital jobs platform that is set to grow our user base to 1.5 million and stimulate upto 10,000 new digital enterprises in Africa with annual revenues over $2 million.
In our 5th year of exisitence, Afroes has persisted in search of new ways of reaching, equipping and shaping productive futures for our target youth market and is today exploring multiple projects valued at $1million that will enable us to grow our platform with more critical features to enhance the business model