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This past winter, we launched the Roundtrip Consulting Group to provide pro-bono consulting support to early-stage African startups. Our incredibly amazing consultants spent 3 months supporting 7 startups across countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, and more. While there was an immense amount of value created and received by our consultants and startups to one another, we felt that we hadn’t quite achieved what we had set out to do.

At Roundtrip Afrika, our core mission is to catalyze the next generation of African founders from across the continent and the diaspora. In order to hone in on this mission, we adjusted our model based on the learnings from running our consulting group. This led to the creation of the Roundtrip Fellowship to find and support young Africans across the continent and the diaspora who were in the very early stages of building a venture or who were looking for people to launch ventures with. Our fellowship is designed to provide our fellows with a tailored curriculum on startup fundamentals, access to support and insights from successful African founders and investors, and a community of fellow Africans to build the next generation of African companies with. …


A year ago I launched the Roundtrip Consulting Group to expose young Africans studying at the top universities in the US to the African tech ecosystem. The idea was to give these students an opportunity to interact with promising early-stage companies building solutions for the African continent by providing pro-bono business and technical consulting support to these startups. Our 13 consultants were meeting weekly with 7 startups and supporting them with everything from revamping landing pages, thinking through go-to-market strategies, helping identify potential partnership opportunities, implementing customer discovery processes, identifying customer acquisition channels, and more.

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While we were slightly disrupted by COVID-19 about halfway through, we were still able to deliver considerable value to the founders and startups that we worked with. Gigi and Olu who are now members of the leadership team at Roundtrip were members of this class of consultants and they came on to help improve something that we all realized was sorely needed; A way to connect young Africans, particularly those in the diaspora, to the tech revolution undertaking Africa. In 2019, for the first time, the amount of funding invested in African startups crossed the $1 billion mark. This signals a continent on the cusp of a technology revolution, and it seemed ridiculous to us that young Africans had their sights set on spending their careers working at the Googles, Microsofts, JP Morgans, and Morgan Stanleys of the world rather than participating in what really could be the most impactful revolution on the African continent to date. …


How organizations can reap compounded improvements to workplace equity and inclusion efforts

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Over the course of the past four years tinkering with DEI software, I’ve chatted with hundreds of folks who have either lived the experience of being a minority in tech or are working to improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in tech’s workplaces. Across these conversations, there have been two recurring themes; Frustration regarding the persistence of the DEI crisis in tech and the proliferation of organizational DEI efforts that focus singularly on the diversity piece of the puzzle.


CRAFTING AN INSIGHTFUL CUSTOMER DISCOVERY PROCESS

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As part of our fellowship at Roundtrip Afrika, we invite African founders and investors to speak with our fellows weekly. One such speaker was Kennedy Ekezie, founder and CEO of Africave and Creft with a background spanning organizations such as SAP and TikTok.

Kennedy spoke to our founders on how to validate their ideas and he said so many great and insightful things that we decided to share the key takeaways that two of our fellows, Mark and Kevin, with our network. …


Mitigating unfair workplace biases with Worksense

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I moved to the US from Nigeria in 2014 with a single mum and two brothers. I very quickly discovered the role that skin color played in the United States — which was a huge eye-opener for me as someone who had grown up in a predominantly Black society where skin color played a minimal role in social interactions if at all.

This culture shock was further exacerbated after I taught myself how to code off of YouTube and attended my first hackathon. I was the only Black person at an event with over 200 attendees, giving me my first official taste of imposter syndrome. A few months later, I matriculated to Tufts University to study computer science and economics and my imposter syndrome followed me as I was faced with the reality of being one of the very few people of color in the entire CS department. …


Driving systemic change in tech through earlier commitments to workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion

A drawing of people from various racial groups and genders all standing together
A drawing of people from various racial groups and genders all standing together
Image credit: https://championsofdiversity.info/2019/03/07/lack-of-diversity-in-tech-house-hearing-explores-harms-solutions/

Over the past decade, workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have increasingly been at the forefront of conversations regarding tech companies. This has largely been due to a string of whistleblowers who have publicly recounted their negative experiences of discrimination and harassment within tech. From Ellen Pao, who in 2012 filed a lawsuit against her then-employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer for gender discrimination and workplace retaliation, to Susan Fowler’s allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination from a manager at Uber in 2017, to Yulia Zamora’s, allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation by a manager at SoFi in 2017.

These are but a drop in the ocean of harassment and discrimination cases that have been reported against tech companies over the past decade. One thing is clear: the old guard of tech companies has largely failed underrepresented employees. They have failed to do minority employees right when it comes to fair and equitable workplace experiences. And while there is an argument for fixing these cultures, we must think about how to shift from the mindset of pouring in resources to fix rotten workplace cultures to a reality where tech workplaces are inclusive from day zero. …


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As a student founder, one of my biggest challenges so far has been balancing school work with my startup, Worksense, where we are building software to help tech companies provide more inclusive workplace experiences for their employees. …


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Roundtrip Consulting Group is a collective of bright, young Africans studying at the top universities around the world. We provide pro-bono technical and business consulting services to early-stage startups in Sub-Saharan Africa. Read more about the consultants that work with our startups here.

After a successful application process that began in late 2019, we’re beyond excited to announce our inaugural batch of startups. Comprised of 7 startups representing Nigeria, Ghana, and Rwanda, our first batch of startups are solving problems in healthcare, financial services, transportation, and more. Read on below to learn more about them!


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Roundtrip Consulting Group is a collective of bright, young Africans studying at the top universities around the world. We provide pro-bono technical and business consulting services to early-stage startups in Sub-Saharan Africa. Read about the startups our consultants work with here.

After a successful application process that began in late 2019, we’re beyond excited to announce our inaugural class of consultants studying at world-class universities like UPenn, Princeton, MSU, Tufts, and more. Read on below to learn more about them!


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A week ago, on Sep 17th, Andela made an announcement that shook the Sub- Saharan(SS) African tech community. They announced that they would be shutting down junior developer training in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, 3 of its 4 campuses. This decision impacted over 400 developers across these 3 campuses. They also announced that they would be adjusting their business model to focus on finding and placing more senior-level tech talent. Also attached to these big changes was the first release of their income figures indicating that they will surpass $50M in annual revenues for 2019. …

About

Timi Dayo-Kayode

Passionate about tech inclusion and the emerging Sub Saharan Africa tech ecosystem

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