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Welcome Africa To The Unicorn Club: Founder of Capgrove Group shares his thoughts

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In the world of business and entrepreneurship, a unicorn is a startup company with a $1 billion valuation (without being listed on the stock exchange). This is an exceptional accomplishment and a challenging label to attain. Experts estimate that a new business has a .00006 percent chance of becoming a unicorn, with the ‘decacorn’ ($10 billion) and ‘hectocorn’ ($100 billion) statuses being even more unique and difficult to reach. Bytedance, SpaceX, SHEIN, Stripe, Klarna, Instacart and the likes of Airbnb, Facebook and Google are among well-known unicorns that have reached and exceeded these statuses.

 

A question: When you close your eyes and visualize a unicorn, what do you see? White, Chinese? Can Africans build and own unicorns? I wondered aloud as I wrote this piece. Some African entrepreneurs are establishing and have produced unicorns, but whether we as Africans control our unicorns is a topic for another day and this is due to a lack of access to “African financing.”

Read Also: Digital assets marketplace, Glover App set to unveil in Ghana

In recent years, some African firms have grown into unicorns. Some African entrepreneurs have achieved this level of success such as the founders of Chipper Cash, Andela, Interswitch, Esusu, among others. However, being a PROFITABLE unicorn company is more fundamental than attaining unicorn STATUS. The likes of these Africans who founded, built and scaled their firms to such heights give me the utmost confidence that Africa will continue to produce multibillion-dollar and even trillion-dollar businesses. Jumia, a pan-African tech company, has risen to a height where it now trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

 

Governments and grants will not build the future for Africans. Rather, people who dare to do things that grow and scale will. Building this future, this possibility, necessitates more African money, capital with purpose – your funds. Anyone who invested in IROKO TV when it first raised funding, would have made 3,000+ percent gain today. So, we have the ability to alter the narrative. We have the ability to change preconceived opinions about us. We can build more unicorns founded by Blacks and Africans with afro punk hairstyles and braids(laughs). We have the ability to build new markets, develop existing markets, dare to produce more unicorns, and now is the moment to get involved.

 

My name is Emmanuel and I am on a mission to reach the heights of companies like Bain Capital, Blackrock and Tiger Global, to name a few. Enterprises that impact and improve communities and cultures, empower infrastructure, economies and sectors are the businesses of the future. We need to foster a sense of discovery and decisiveness in ourselves because these are the qualities that have inspired numerous founders to solve problems and bridge gaps, giving rise to unicorn companies.

 

I am not blind to the fact that the region suffers poor media/PR, neither am I unaware that we have merely a handful of such success stories but I would like to urge us to put those facts and all the other obvious reasons aside for a moment and envision a better future. Together, you and I can create a better tomorrow – a future in which you and I can hedge our bets and pool our resources.

 

Join us as we harness our full potential and push the boundaries at Capgrove Group; a business services, investment and asset management firm I founded, with activities in both private and public markets. Please visit our website at www.capgrove.com to learn more about our vision and mission, as well as what we have been up to. When something piques your curiosity, please do nothesitate to contact us.

 

We must continue to “Build the Next Profitable Unicorn Corporations”.

 

Until the next article, best wishes.

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People & Lifestyle

How to Be More Confident on Camera as a Youtuber

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CONFIDENCE is very important. The more confident you appear, the more viewers will listen to you. (more…)

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Graduate who went viral for begging for a job with a placard says he’s received 50 offers since

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Isaac Kwame Addae, a young unemployed graduate who took to the streets with a placard, looking for a job, says he  has been offered opportunities by at least  50 different firms. (more…)

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Meta’s AI AI machine translation research helps break language barriers

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Today, Meta announced that it has built and open sourced ‘No Language Left Behind’ NLLB-200, a single AI model that is the first to translate across 200 different languages, including 55 African languages with state-of-the-art results. Meta is using the modelling techniques and learnings from the project to improve and extend translations on Facebook, Instagram, and Wikipedia.

 

In an effort to develop high-quality machine translation capabilities for most of the world’s low-resource languages, this single AI model was designed with a focus on African languages. They are challenging from a machine translation perspective. AI models require lots and lots of data to help them learn, and there’s not a lot of human translated training data for these languages. For example, there’s more than 20M people who speak and write in Luganda but examples of this written language are extremely difficult to find on the internet.

 

We worked with professional translators for each of these languages to develop a reliable benchmark which can automatically assess translation quality for many low-resource languages. We also work with professional translators to do human evaluation too, meaning people who speak the languages natively evaluate what the AI produced. The reality is that a handful of languages dominate the web, so only a fraction of the world can access content and contribute to the web in their own language. We want to change this by creating more inclusive machine translations systems – ones that unlock access to the web for the more than 4B people around the world that are currently excluded because they do not speak one of the few languages content is available in.

Read Also: Impressive! Ghanaian Rapper Dr. Pushkin Releases New App & Book ahead of “Outlandish” Album

“It’s impressive how much AI is improving all of our services. We just open-sourced an AI model we built that can translate across 200 different languages — many of which aren’t supported by current translation systems. We call this project No Language Left Behind, and the AI modelling techniques we used are helping make high quality translations for languages spoken by billions of people around the world. To give a sense of the scale, the 200-language model has over 50 billion parameters, and we trained it using our new Research SuperCluster, which is one of the world’s fastest AI supercomputers. The advances here will enable more than 25 billion translations every day across our apps. Communicating across languages is one superpower that AI provides, but as we keep advancing our AI work it’s improving everything we do — from showing the most interesting content on Facebook and Instagram, to recommending more relevant ads, to keeping our services safe for everyone,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post on his Facebook profile.

 

Language is our culture, identity, and lifeline to the world. However, as high-quality translation tools don’t exist for hundreds of languages, billions of people today can’t access digital content or participate fully in conversations and communities online in their preferred or native languages. This is especially true for hundreds of millions of people who speak the many languages of Africa.

 

“Africa is a continent with very high linguistic diversity, and language barriers exist day to day. We are pleased to announce that 55 African languages will be included in this machine translation research, making it a major breakthrough for our continent,” Balkissa Ide Siddo, Public Policy Director for Africa said while speaking about the launch of the AI model. “In the future, imagine visiting your favourite Facebook group, coming across a post in Igbo or Luganda, and being able to understand it in your own language with just a click of a button – that’s where we hope research like this leads us. Highly accurate translations in more languages could also help to spot harmful content and misinformation, protect election integrity, and curb instances of online sexual exploitation and human trafficking.”

 

While commenting on accessibility and inclusion in the pursuit of building an equitable metaverse, Ide Siddo added “At Meta, we are working today to ensure that as many people as possible will be able to access the new educational, social and economic opportunities that the next evolution of the internet will bring to future technology and an everyday living experience tomorrow.”

 

To confirm that the translations are high quality, Meta also created a new evaluation dataset, FLORES-200, and measured NLLB-200’s performance in each language. Results revealed that NLLB-200 exceeds the previous state of the art by an average of 44 percent.

 

Meta is also open-sourcing the NLLB-200 model and publishing a slew of research tools to enable other researchers to extend this work to more languages and build more inclusive technologies. Meta AI is also providing up to $200,000 of grants to non-profit organizations for real world applications for NLLB-200.

 

There are versions of Wikipedia in more than 300 languages, but most have far fewer articles than the 6+ million available in English. Following Meta’s partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that hosts Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects, modelling  techniques and learnings from the NLLB research are now also being applied to translation systems used by Wikipedia editors. Using the Wikimedia Foundation’s Content Translation Tool, articles can now be easily translated in more than 20 low-resource languages (those that don’t have extensive datasets to train AI systems), including 10 that previously were not supported by any machine translation tools on the platform.

 

To explore a demo of NLLB-200 showing how the model can translate stories from around the world, visit here. You can also read the research paper here.

 

 

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I single-handedly popularized Shea Butter in the United States – Margaret Andega

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According to Margaret Andega, a Kenyan entrepreneur in Atlanta, she was the driving force behind the commercialization of Shea Butter in the US during the late 90s. (more…)

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Ludwig Nii Jr urges information sharing in the creative space

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Ludwig Nii Jr urges information sharing in the creative space. (more…)

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How are CBD Flowers and CBG Flowers Different?

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CBG flower and CBD flower are two types of flowers that are used for their respective health benefits. CBD flowers are known for their calming and relaxing effects, while CBG flowers are known for relieving pain and inflammation.  (more…)

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