Social entrepreneur Evans Muchika Wadongo, founder and Executive Director of Sustainable Development For All – Africa, turned a $50 business making simple solar lamps into a $1 million business without any external funding.
Twenty three-year-old Daniel Gomez, co-founder of SOLBEN, a prominent Mexican biodiesel producer and MIT Technology Review’s 2013 Innovator of the Year, was told that he would have to look outside Mexico when he insisted that the technology he needed could be developed in his home country. Today more than 80 percent of biodiesel producers in Mexico use SOLBEN’s home-grown technologies.
In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) brought seven top technology innovators from developing economies and emerging markets to Doha for an exclusive Speakers Session attended by students, entrepreneurs and businesses in Qatar.
Majority of the speakers, including Wadongo, Gomez and Ayesha Chaudhary, co-founder of New Delhi-based healthcare start-up Windmill Health Technologies, urged technology-entrepreneurs in Qatar to engage their communities and consumers to gain insights into how technologies are used and understood by the end user. “We went down to the communities and asked them what is going to work for them,” said Wadongo.
Speakers also urged entrepreneurs to put customer needs assessment into action sooner rather than later. While acknowledging the fundamental importance of technology design in the classroom, most speakers encouraged attendees to start building prototypes, take what knowledge and resources are available, and move forward.
“Knowledge is not enough by itself. You need to get it into practice,” said Gomez. “Intellect is that thing that helps you take a decision in a wiser way and that’s the thing entrepreneurs should be looking for.”
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