Young Cape Verdean aspiring entrepreneurs at Web Summit

Young Cape Verdean entrepreneurial spirit at Web Summit 2023: Chat with Souleymane Duarte 

During Web Summit 2023 in Lisbon, we communicated with several of the main players in the Cape Verdean representation, which counted dozens of participants in this year’s event.

We spoke to the Secretary of State for Digital Economy, Pedro Lopes, and attended one of his panels. We also talked to Milton Cabral, head of the Cabo Verde Digital governmental project. In addition, we passed by the Chuva stand, the only Cape Verdean start-up in the Alpha category at this year’s Web Summit.

Moreover, we found Cape Verdean entrepreneurship alive and well among one of the younger members of the archipelago’s delegation, Souleymane Duarte.

Index

Cape Verdeans at Web Summit 2023: Aspiring Entrepreneurs Take Their First Steps in the Business World

As sharply conveyed by Milton Cabral, being present at such a big technology event as Web Summit is a much-needed lever to foster the creation of entrepreneurship among the delegation’s members.

On that note, we spoke briefly with Souleymane Duarte, who is venturing into a new business as the CEO and founder of Jack Soulman. Although his two applications/websites are yet to be launched, Souleymane, who granted us the first of what will undoubtedly be numerous interviews in his career, personifies the entrepreneurial spirit that Cabral alluded to.

Technology at Cape Verde’s service: the story of an entrepreneur with a passion for the islands

Web Summit Cabo Verde
Souleymane Duarte shared his dreams and business plans for Cape Verde

Focusing on technology, entrepreneur Souleymane Duarte aims to increase the range of online services on the Cape Verde islands.

A native of Praia, Santiago, Duarte is currently studying in Portugal, at the Faculty of Economics in Porto, where he is in the second year of his degree in Business Administration. Previously, this technology enthusiast attended the Unitel Creative Camp in 2020, a distinctive project in Cape Verde that we have previously reported on.

We exchanged a few brief words with Souleymane Duarte about his nation and his expectations regarding innovation, development and the internal market’s growth.

CaboWork: Hello! If you could describe your startup in two to three words, what would they be?

Souleymane Duarte: Creativity, innovation and…Morabeza! (1)

CaboWork: And what is your company’s business?

Souleymane Duarte: My startup, Jack Soulman, is focused on the development of digital solutions for companies. Right now we have two products almost ready to launch. Menuzada.com, a software service that allows restaurants and hotels to create completely digital menus.

Cidade da Praia, Santiago, Cabo Verde deliveries
Piteu connects the the best restaurants in Praia, Santiago, with costumers in Cabo Verde.

We are going to launch in January, this is one is brand new: a food delivery service for Cape Verde, piteudelivery.com (2). So we already have two projects to launch.

CaboWork: This is rather thrilling. How long have these been in development?

Souleymane Duarte: Not that long ago. These two projects are in the expansion phase since the Summer me and my team have been focusing on getting Menuzada off the ground. We identified a loophole in the Cape Verdean market and envisioned a solution and business opportunities.

Cape Verdean small businesses and business plans at WebSummit: Menuzada.com
Menuzada.com: a new QR code oriented solution for restaurants.

Jack Soulman team, my team, seizes any possible opportunity in sight.

CaboWork: And what do you hope for the future of Cape Verde when it comes to tech expansion, economic growth and the business world?

Cape Verdean entrepreneurs create solutions for the future and encourage economic development
Cape Verdean entrepreneurial spirit and hopes for the future shine through in Lisbon

Souleymane Duarte: Talking about Cape Verde makes me very emotional and glassy-eyed. Because what I envision for Cape Verde may seem like a utopia to some, but I see it.

In a few years, the archipelago will truly be a reference point as a hub for technological innovation. The opportunities we have in Cape Verde don’t exist in many other countries. For example, the internet that we have in Cape Verde, many larger countries lack. What I see for Cape Verde is a bright future as a hub, as a reference with lots of talent.

Specifically, I see the archipelago exporting numerous services. We don’t have the capacity to produce goods, but we do have a great ability to provide services.

CaboWork: All of this is very exciting and thank you for talking to us today. Good look with your launch!

Souleymane Duarte: Thank you so much.

SIKaBaDu Summit (SKB) and the Cape Verdean Diaspora in Lisbon

SKBD Summit - 1st edition, Cabo Verde Summit Diaspora
Sikabadu Summit — The Tech Islands of West Africa · Image Source: Luma/ Cabo Verde Digital

Alongside Cape Verde’s presence at the Web Summit 2023 in Portugal, the Cape Verdean delegation organised its own event at the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa. The first edition of the SiKaBaDu Summit was launched by Cape Verde’s Ministry of Digital Economy to promote digital development and innovation on the Cape Verdean islands.

This event also served another concrete purpose: to bring together the vast Cape Verdean diaspora. The inspiration for the summit’s name came from the verse “Si ka badu ka ta biradu” (Eugénio Tavares, in “Hora di Bai”), which means “Whoever doesn’t leave can’t come back”. Sung in the ‘Morna de despedida’ (Farewell Morna), it carries with it a melancholic feeling but also the desire for a return.

 

A symbolic moment of unity for Cape Verdean society, the SKBD Summit aims to connect Cape Verdean entrepreneurship within and beyond borders, reaching the islands’ diaspora through a new tool: digital.

Our interviewee, Souleymane Duarte, was among the recipients of plane tickets to reconnect with his African roots. Additionally, several other Cape Verdeans, both from the delegation and the diaspora, attended the initiative in Lisbon, emphasizing the effort to retain and attract talent to the islands.

**

(1) An essential term in the Cape Verdean lexicon derived from Brava, Morabeza denotes the attributes of kindness, attentiveness, affability, and gentleness. It encapsulates the essence of the Cape Verdean people and the manner in which interpersonal relationships are forged.

(2) One of the restaurants already revealed on the Piteu platform is Pit Stop Hamburgueria, located in Praia, Palmarejo, and owned by Kleidir Fortes. This business, capable of bringing added value to the islands, was previously explored on CaboWork.

Summary

We will continue to follow Cape Verde’s technological developments and the numerous changes in connectivity—for natives, its diaspora, and for digital nomads and entrepreneurs who may seek the African islands of the future.

 

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