Here we go! 1000 articles published on our website. 1,000 seems like a little and a lot at the same time. That’s 192 weeks, 1348 days, 32,352 hours spent in your company highlighting projects, innovation and entrepreneurship in the Indian Ocean. But as I prepare to blow out the candles of ICT.io’s thousandth article, it’s time to look back at how far we’ve come and also to look ahead to what’s coming. So here it is, without further ado, the thousandth, wishing ICT.io 1000 more.
Thank you reader!
How can I not say thank you to you, reader, without you this project would have no reason to exist, period! Thank you also to all the editors of ” La rédac”, to all the writers who have contributed or continue to contribute to our site. Thank you Cecilia, Stéphane, Oummé, Sharon, Oorvashee, Schéhérazade, Olivier, Caroline, Éléonore, Gabrielle to mention only a few and thank you also to all the others that I will have a hard time naming so many of you have written; one article, several, or even a section sometimes. A big thank you to all of you! The success of ICT.io is ultimately the sum of your combined efforts.
Thanks also to our partners Compass, la Turbine, Coworking Port-Louis. Thanks to your passion and your enthusiasm, you have given birth to a new desire for entrepreneurship in the younger generation and we make it our duty to echo this.
But above all, thank you to the innovative companies in the Indian Ocean; in Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar and the other islands that make up the Indian Ocean. Your projects and your will to change things are for me, for us, a true source of inspiration and it is a chance to travel a part of the road with you.
Thanks to all of you! Without you ICT.io would not be.
In my rear view mirror
The days of ICT.io’s beginnings seem long gone. The era of the “blog”, the first Webcups and the agencies that started to launch their products in “startup” mode in the first incubators. The ecosystem has come a long way and it is with a touch of regret that I recall the entrepreneurial friends lost along the way. Those who have thrown in the towel, taken a “job” or even left for new adventures. The road has been winding and many talents have left us. Entrepreneurship, especially in our island markets, can be cruel and difficult, yet it brings opportunities for those who are lucky and/or know how to seize them.
The days are long gone when we had to search intensively for a topic to write an article. The time is long gone when getting funding and visibility for your project was a mission impossible. Those days are long gone and so much the better! In three years, we have seen a real entrepreneurial craze among aspiring entrepreneurs, followed by an abrupt return to the realities of our island economies for many of them. However, some of them have managed to make their mark and the Mari Deal, Zotcar, weshare and other web-preneurs have gradually established their place in the economic landscape and are now part of the scene.
2018 will have been the year of the first fundraisers, money is an essential part of any ecosystem, and from our front row seat we’ve been able to witness a whole bunch of buyouts, partnerships, equity investments and fundraisers. The region now has a real community and association of structured entrepreneurs, who exchange and train. The Indian Ocean seems to be catching up at great speed and by skipping stages. But there is still a lot to be done and we should not underestimate the work that remains to be done, as there are many areas to be strengthened and developed.
On the horizon
When I launched ICT.io, it was of course to help give visibility to projects that didn’t have it. But it was also to answer all those people who were complaining and saying that nothing is happening in this part of the world, while I was surrounded by struggling entrepreneurs who were trying to make their projects known. If today nobody tells me “nothing is happening” (let them just try! and I send them all our articles of the last twelve months!) … But there are still subjects that give me the motivation to continue. I remain convinced that the most important challenge that the Indian Ocean ecosystem will have to face in the coming years is the return of the talents of its diaspora and the brain drain. Whether you are Mauritian, Malagasy, Comorian, Reunionese, Seychellois, Mahoran or any other, originating from one of the islands of the Indian Ocean, let me ask you this question: “why at a time when the continental African diaspora perceives Africa as a land of opportunity and is surfing on the Africatech, why do you originating from the Indian Ocean perceive this region as dull and meaningless?” You couldn’t be further from the truth. To tell you the truth, I am familiar with your arguments; I hear them and see them everywhere. They can be summed up in a few clichés that the traditional media are responsible for conveying:
- Go home to do what?
- In the United States they ask you what you can do, in Europe they ask you what your degree is and in Africa they ask you what your last name is!
- Less money is made
- The jobs are less interesting
- blah blah blah…
To this I would reply that the situation is the same, or even worse, in some countries of continental Africa, and yet Africans on the continent have understood well where the future and the opportunities lie. And Chinese companies have understood this!
For our ecosystems, all the startup weekends, meetups, pitch sessions, bootcamp and others will be useless if the youth and its talents leave the region. In fact, some change agents have even started to throw in the towel and think that we need to “import” talent from other regions in order to transfer skills to the ecosystem… If I am not at all against a cross-fertilization of ideas and cultures, what is the point if the brain drain continues?
I’ll stop here, as you’ll have understood there are many other subjects that are close to my heart: the simplification of online business, African E-sports, connectivity, speeding up access to information and statistics, just to name a few, but that will be for the next thousand articles 😉