5 Tips for Growing A Startup

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From its launch, CTIC Dakar has been growing and while interviewing Abdoul Aziz Sy, program manager at CTIC Dakar, it became abundantly clear why the incubator and its users have experienced success. When confronted with the following question – What would be the most important piece of advice you would give to entrepreneurs and startups? – Abdoul’s response was pretty fantastic, so we decided to create a list of useful tips to grow a startup, from an industry professional. In a nutshell,  Abdoul suggests that entrepreneurs should focus on their business models and try to reinforce all aspects of their business that do not immediately need financial influx. Specifically, a good understanding of their markets and a solid team and reliable associates is very important.  Abdoul gives more key pieces of advice that may prove useful when incubators/hubs are assisting entrepreneurs in growing their users’ startups!

1) Adapt your model to your local context //

Don’t copy Silicon Valley. In general, I would advise the hub to take the local culture and conditions into consideration and avoid implementing foreign methods by virtue of their success in other contexts.

2) Do hands-on support //

Go on the field, do not only give advice but do things, look deeply into the business and the entrepreneur (family situation, other businesses on the side, etc.).

3) Always innovate and design small new programs, test and package them //

Devise “support products”, which you can replicate in other cities, in other areas (agri, healthcare, etc.). This will help you scale, improve the quality of your support and find more funding partners.

4) Actively look for funding for your startups //

Funding will facilitate the process of building products and putting it into the market.

5) Invest in your team and don’t recruit too much for a specific position (apart from finance) //

Choose employees based on  passion, charisma, and professionalism. They provide 90% of the value of your hub towards entrepreneurs.

While we understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all, formulaic solution to guarantee success in an increasingly  competitive marketplace, these tips may assist in streamlining the innovation and commercialization process.  CTIC Dakar has provided IPEye with an infographic chronicling the incubator’s growth throughout the years.  Check them out below.

CTIC in 2011…
… in 2012
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… in 2013

To keep up with all of the fantastic work being done at CTIC Dakar, follow them on twitter @cticdakar

About: Tracy Ayodele

Tracy Ayodele is a Canadian lawyer, called to the Bar of Ontario, and a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School. She has a keen interest in IP policy, social innovation and the intersection of technology, development and start-up culture in emerging economies. She is a spirited legal researcher and writer, and co-authored “Hot-tubbing in Canadian Patent Litigation: A Preliminary Assessment” published in the Intellectual Property Journal.

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