Start It Congo: the link between the diaspora and Kinshasa

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The social impact of entrepreneurs from the Congolese diaspora, the digital ecosystem of the DRC or the pitfalls to avoid when starting a business in Kinshasa are key issues when starting a business in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Thus, in order to federate initiatives, entrepreneurs and startups in the DRC and within the diaspora while participating in the creation of a dynamic and structured ecosystem, Jonathan Kilos created Start IT Congo in 2016. 

 

Federating and enhancing

Start IT Congo thus wishes to consolidate the economic exchanges between the entrepreneurs and influencers of DRC and the rest of the world, in particular the diaspora. For its founder, Jonathan Kiloso, it is above all a question of circulating information and encouraging contacts. “If our businesses and entrepreneurs collaborate and create economic and social value together in “short circuits”, there is a good chance that many high-impact projects or initiatives could change scale or emerge.” he says.

Its members also work to promote inspiring profiles, innovative projects or actions with strong social impact, they enhance the living resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo, both regionally and internationally.

Start IT Congo’s mission is that of a pioneer who wishes to act throughout the world in order to prepare it for future generations. This is why they make entrepreneurship their priority, they wish to restore its full meaning as the engine of the economy, vector of autonomy and factor of social and financial inclusion.

 

“Not as difficult as it sounds” implementation

Jonathan Kiloso, the association’s president, was born and raised in Paris, but his family is from the DRC. In 2008, he founded his marketing company in France,  and he decided in 2011 to duplicate his model in Kinshasa.

“I may be a great optimist, but I find the business environment far from as unfavorable as we tend to think. It’s pretty free, there’s room for initiatives, even if the climate gets tougher when the volume of your business increases,” he comments, before rejoicing at the progress made by the country over the past five years.

But what led him to found Start IT Congo is the lack of communication between the various economic actors. In France, there are organisations such as the MEDEF which regularly organise events to enable entrepreneurs to get information, but also to meet and exchange ideas. The DRC also needed a structure to bring the actors together, because sometimes information about the country travels abroad before it reaches the main stakeholders,” he assures.

 

start-it-congo-businessman
Start It Congo

 

An offer in the process of diversification

In the first half of 2018, Start ITCongo will also launch its own incubator, which will involve hiring 4 to 5 people. Initially, the incubator will host 10 start-ups: four that they have already been supporting for some time and six for which a call for projects will be launched”, continues Jonathan Kiloso.

Start-ups will be chosen according to the positive impact that the good or service offered by the Congolese company, the innovative nature of these and the desire of the investor to quickly meet its market. They expect 20 by the end of 2018.

Then will come the extension of the activities – of the association and of the future society – to the other side of the Congo River. “We already have people from Congo-Brazzaville during our events, and we intend to be active on site, which is quite normal, the exchanges between the two side of the river are natural,” concludes Jonathan Kiloso.

Before expanding, notably with the support of the Inco accelerator, Afric’Innov or the Swiss-DRC Chamber of Commerce, Jonathan Kiloso also plans to set up a consulting and event company alongside Start IT Congo’s associative arm to complete his offer.

 


 

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