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MBA alumni produce documentary on African tech entrepreneurship
09
Jan
2018

Saïd Business School alumni Scott Gorman (MBA 2016) and Christopher Larson (MBA 2016) are crowdfunding for a new documentary titled Mobile Africa: The Story of a Tech Revolution, which features entrepreneurs and innovations that are having a transformational impact on Africa.

The pair filmed in eight countries, interviewing more than 30 entrepreneurs, VCs, academics, policy experts and consultants to paint a multidimensional picture of Africa’s innovation landscape. They are currently seeking investment to complete the project through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, which runs till January 28. ‘We hope to use the funds raised to complete filming and post-production. Our larger aim with this campaign and documentary is to highlight African innovation and advocate for increased investment in the continent’s technology sector,’ said Gorman.

A documentary might sound like a surprising output of a one-year MBA, but Gorman and Larson were inspired to film Africa’s innovation landscape after taking an elective in Johannesburg. ‘We both had a long term interest in filming a documentary, but the pieces came together in South Africa, where we had the fortune to meet and partner with Nnamdi Oranye, noted author of Disrupting Africa. Our main motivation was to explore stories of innovation and entrepreneurship that sometimes go under-reported, especially in Western media.’

‘In this film we explore how Africa leapfrogged almost a hundred of years of telephony development and infrastructure and the profound impact of this on all segments of African society, but especially for people living at the bottom of the pyramid who have the most to gain from access to information,’ explained Gorman. ‘We spoke with leading startups like iCow, Kytabu, M-KOPA Solar, and BRCK, which are working hard to fill gaps in development and shape the future of Africa. Our film includes both the impact tech is having on society as well as the challenges entrepreneurs continue to face.’

Although Gorman has prior experience on the continent, this was a very different undertaking. Before his MBA, Gorman served in the United States Army as a military intelligence officer. ‘My role in the military focused on counter-terrorism in Africa and included a tour of duty in the region,’ he said. ‘So I’ve had an interest in the continent for some time, but this film has given me the opportunity to focus on another area I’m passionate about, which is technology and entrepreneurship. There are really promising developments happening across Africa thanks to mobile technology, and we’re excited to tell that story.’