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Demo Day for global start-up lab

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MIT Global Start-up Labs (GSL), a multidisciplinary group out of MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives) that promotes development in emerging regions by cultivating young technology entrepreneurs, is currently running in Johannesburg.

GSL develops a hands-on curriculum that provides the materials, software technologies, platforms, and networks that enable students in emerging regions to innovate in the area of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The MIT Global Start-up lab is targeted at fostering innovation in emerging markets.

In the currently-running Johannesburg chapter, the Massachusetts-based university is working with 30 local graduates, students, and entrepreneurs to launch new start-up companies over the three week program. This opportunity is available to developers, engineers, and designers who have an interest in mobile/Web technology entrepreneurship.

The core programme consists of daily workshops and exercises linked to the development of a new mobile technology ventures that will be presented to potential investors and business partners on the Demo Day on Saturday (11 July).

The core programme runs from 09h00 to 17h00, six days a week and the curriculum is part crash course in both entrepreneurship and web/mobile technologies and part practical application in what is taught: students build their own technology start-ups.

This annual initiative, backed by Wits University through the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), is aimed at fostering technology entrepreneurship through start up incubators in emerging markets around the globe. The courses focus on opportunity search and validation, customer development, market research, pitching, and appropriate technology platforms, and the development of a minimum viable product.

The program is styled as a practical experience in the development of real life web/mobile technology solutions for various enterprises in any industry and is run every year by a four-member team from MIT. The 2015 team comprises of: Emily Zhang: MIT graduate student in Computer Science and Engineering; Oluwasoga Oni: MIT graduate student in System Design and Management; Anita Kibunguchy: MIT Sloan MBA; and Bolaji Finnih: MIT Sloan Fellow.

Participating students in this years’ edition provide a diverse array of talent and interests. Some of the concepts being developed include:
* Entrée Foods, a gourmet meal delivery company providing online recipes and eclectic ingredients within South Africa;
* MASEK: an online fashion retail platform which also offers comparative shopping and social ratings;
* Mzanzi FM, a radio streaming service that delivers South-African music content (and radio) to the world;
* On-Fleeks’ Cool-Cash-Kidz entry is a mobile and web educational platform that accelerates financial literacy among South-African students;
* Smartgate provides remote access control for gates coupled with driver and vehicle verification services; and
* Umvalo offers an innovative alternative to current network security appliances.