Ecosystem – Slush 2015 Reflection, Written by Rose Funja, Agrinfo Founder & CEO

My journey started way back in 2013,I had joined a group of now over 200 tree farmers in Iringa Tanzania. As a group, we meet once a year in a day called “Chai day” as an Annual general meeting, collective the group has about 7000 acres. But one thing has been missing, the information was only passed over emails and mostly in the hands of few individuals. Fires have always been a threat and every year some members’ investments have turned to ashes. I thought there has to be a better way.

I embarked on ways that I could use my knowledge in information and communication to make matters easy. It has been a rough road since but a very rewarding one, full of discoveries and eye openers. Agrinfo was born through that struggle and now we have a platform, team and believers. Amongst them is Tanzict which is a Finnish –Tanzania collaboration that afforded me a chance to be at slush 2015.

care_monkey2015 pitching competition winners- Care monkey

Slush was amazing – coming from Buni innovation hub, I thought I knew all to know about start-ups. I had expected slush to be just one more exhibition of technologies. Well it was – but much more!! I saw passion, I saw commitment, I saw a working ecosystem! Serious government leaders, smart international investors & executives and passionate innovators come entrepreneurs! In the two days I spent most of my time at the pitching stage where 100 startups were competing for the 650,000 USD equity funds! Every company that took the stage displayed the best tech and analysed their business in the shortest amount of time with the hope to get in to the next round. The woman’s miniskirt concept was observed; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” ― Winston Churchill!

Amongst the slushers were the tech gurus the google, amazon and tesla the electric car! I was impressed by the runner-up the Astro digital and was routing for them to win but I guess it was just the day for care monkey!

rose and teslaRose, Tesla and Spotify shining on the background.

Let it be remembered that slush is organized by student volunteers. The speakers worked well in a hall with four stages and leaving room for side meetings and chats, all taking place at once. The coat room accommodated all 15,000 participant coats and it took just a few minutes in the line to store or retrieve one’s coat. The innovation theme was in the air from the sets to the dishes that food was served, sound systems and never failing wifi!

It would be a miss if I didn’t mention the level of honest culture starting with the Finnish people and picked up by the 100 different nationalities represented by the slushers! Phones and handbags that were misplaced made their way safely to the owners! Amazing!

Did I mention that slush opened with a countdown –yes it did! As if it were a New Year countdown!! It also ended with the organizer announcing the next year’s slush week—28 Nov to 2nd Dec 2016! That tells you how far ahead the planning goes! I was impressed! So what is slush—to me its an ecosystem that offers inspiration for international high growth entrepreneurs!

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