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TEDGlobal 2007 Session 5: The Risk Takers

It’s a theme that’s emerged throughout the conference: Identifying unmet needs in under-served markets can pay back in spades. And for those willing to take a calculated risk, a perceived danger becomes an unprecedented opportunity. In this session, three case studies of extraordinary individuals pathfinding in emerging markets:

For starters, there’s Florence Seriki, who founded Omatek, a leading computer maker in Nigeria, West Africa’s largest market. Like so many other African entrepreneurs, she was motivated by the idea, “Why can’t Africans do this?” Alieuh Conteh took on a riskier proposition, founding a mobile phone service in war-ravaged Congo, just after the civil war. He envisioned, established, funded and protected what’s become Vodafone Congo, now one of the fastest-growing mobile services in central Africa, with a subscriber base of 3 million and a valuation of $1.6B. Thanking Conteh for his talk, TED Curator Chris Anderson noted, “There’s money to be made in Africa.”

And Ted Kidane, co-founder of Feedelix, forged his way in new technologies and markets, creating mobile-phone software that enables text messaging in non-Latin scripts. (A challenge on several fronts, including display, text entry and transmission.) Initially developed for use in his native Ethiopic, the software can work in many languages and world markets (Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, etc.)

For more extensive descriptions of each talk, see Ethan Zuckerman‘s real-time posts on Florence Seriki, Alieu Conteh and Ted Kidane.

Watch for these talks on TED.com beginning midsummer 2007.

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