The DFS Lab has reached a major milestone — we’re kicking off our first entrepreneur boot camp in Dar es Salaam! Above is morning shot on the beach of where we are staying (prompting some teams to rename the bootcamp: #FinTech in Paradise!)
Some of you saw this original post calling all great and aspiring fintech entrepreneurs to apply to come test their mettle in a 1 week sprint to crack a major fintech challenge. From the original post:
“This October, a select group of purpose-driven entrepreneurs will converge in Dar es Salaam for DFS Lab’s fintech bootcamp, bringing together smart, dynamic people who are building innovative products, services and technologies for low-income consumers. Using the Design Sprint Methodology, a process of structured brainstorming for answering critical business questions, entrepreneurs will go through a five day workshop to design, prototype and test new ideas. By creating quick prototypes, you can get actual feedback and see if there’s a real potential for the solution you’ve created.
This high-intensity program provides you with the very best hands-on support, guidance and mentoring to help bring your idea to life. The best ideas will receive grant funding of up to USD $100K and 6 months of additional support from the DFS Lab.”
Thanks to all of you out there who helped us spread the word about this. We had hundreds of applications and narrowed it down to a great cohort! We have 18 people from 10 countries coming from backgrounds ranging from mobile money CEO to head of innovation for a major bank to UX designer. We even have a former rapper turned engineer (DJ K80)!
We are now through Day 1 and already we see the teams getting a lot of value — both from our mentors and team but very much from each other as well. You can get a sense of the vibe on twitter here and here.
We see the bootcamp as a way to recruit and select our entrepreneurs while at the same time developing a shared purpose around which problem to attack (see the problems we posed to the participants here). What better way to get to know someone than to spend an intensive week working shoulder to shoulder? And unlike the usual grant application, it’s an application process that creates real value for our clients (the entrepreneurs).