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MIT Sloan to host conference in London on accelerating growth in the developing world

Legatum Center event will focus on development, entrepreneurship and finance

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 15, 2016 – Innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs) have the potential to make a significant impact in solving problems in developing countries like access to clean water, sanitation, electricity and basic financial services. IDEs can also lead to significant job growth and broad-based prosperity. However, a key challenge is their reliance on outside funding for growth and scale. MIT Sloan School of Management’s Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship and Development and Office of International Programs is holding a conference in London on Dec. 13 to explore how to optimize IDEs’ access to entrepreneurial finance (at all stages of growth) and increase their chances of success. The event, Accelerating Developing World Growth through Entrepreneurship and Finance: A Conversation with MIT Sloan, will focus on the emerging and frontier markets in the Middle East and Africa.

“MIT Sloan is looking to build its understanding of how innovation-driven entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial financing of IDE ventures can be better harnessed to benefit emerging and frontier markets,” says MIT Sloan Prof. Fiona Murray, associate dean for innovation and faculty director of the Legatum Center. “At the conference, we will discuss how we can actively create better policy conditions to enable the right kinds of financial instruments to support entrepreneurs from crowd funding and angel investing to philanthropy and grants."

The conference will feature conversations with thought leaders, and share the experiences of young and experienced entrepreneurs who are active on the ground in the EMEA region. Speakers will address topics, such as financial and human capital gaps; seed-stage capital and education, aid and trade to support IDE in emerging economies, sources of capital and government policies, crowdfunding, philanthropic capital, emerging angel networks, and accessing funding frontier markets.

The keynote address will be delivered by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, cofounder of Andela and Flutterwave, Nigeria. Andela recently raised a $24-million Series B Round of funding from the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative, the first lead investment from Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan’s social issues-minded fund. In addition to Murray and Aboyeji, speakers will include:

- Babatunde Alawode, Cofounder of Dot Learn, Ghana
- Prof. Antionette Schoar, Professor of Finance, MIT Sloan
- Baroness Philippa Stroud, CEO, Legatum Institute
- Georgina Campbell Flatter, Lecturer and Executive Director, Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT
- Dr. Hayaatun Sillem, Deputy CEO & Director of Strategy, Royal Academy of Engineering
- Deborah Drake, Vice President, Investing in Inclusive Finance (IIF) Program, Center for Financial Inclusion, Accion
- Dr. Phil Budden, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan
- Ben Brabyn, Head of Level 39 Accelerator, London
- Adetayo Bamiduro, CEO and Founder, MAX - Last Mile Delivery, Nigeria
- Angela Nzioki, Co Founder and Country Manager, PlusPeople, Kenya

Student entrepreneurs from MIT Sloan, Oxford’s SAID Business School, and other universities in the local London ecosystem also will present their ventures. 

“When exploring new funding models for entrepreneurs, it is important to have a diverse set of perspectives, including the entrepreneurs deep in the trenches and those in the supporting ecosystem who can play a key role in creating the business, education and policy conditions for businesses to thrive in emerging markets” says Campbell Flatter. 

“We hope that this conference leads to action-oriented outcomes that will support these entrepreneurs and develop a pipeline of financial solutions as startups scale for impact,” adds Murray.

The conference will be held at Level 39 at Canary Wharf in London. Members of the media are invited to the event, but pre-registration is required. To register, please visit our website: http://mit-entrepreneurlondon.com/

About the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT:

The Legatum Center seeks to accelerate social and economic progress across the developing world through innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE). To realize its mission, the Center administers a competitive fellowship program for MIT students with a commitment to building and scaling impact in the developing world through entrepreneurial ventures. It also provides seed grants for students looking to explore and experience IDE opportunities in the field, and offers research assistantships for students looking to understand and develop policy interventions for on-the-ground system change in the developing world. In addition, the Center holds conferences and events to promote and shape discourse on bottom-up development and system change through IDE.

About MIT Sloan:

The MIT Sloan School of Management is where smart, independent leaders come together to solve problems, create new organizations, and improve the world. Learn more at mitsloan.mit.edu.