Potential in African tech ecosystem, we will be back – Airbus BizLab head

Airbus Bizlab head Bruno Gutierres told Ventureburn that his trip to Africa is an “observation survey” to confirm what potential there was in Africa.

On Thursday (21 September) Gutierres (pictured) along with a team from Airbus Bizlab and Silicon Cape head Ellen Fischat visited RLabs, LaunchLab, CITI Workshop 17 and the MTN Solution Space as part of a tech tour of the local ecosystem.

“What I have seen here today and by visiting several incubators like Launchlab in Stellenbosch, the ones in the township, there’s some very different innovation which is of interest to us,” said Gutierres.

“This confirms that the potential is there. We will be back,” he said.

Gutierres was speaking after the Airbus Bizlab AEROmobility pitch final held at the Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town on Friday (22 September). The pitching competition culminated in autonomous airship startup Cargonaught walking away with a 10-day all-expenses paid trip to France and Germany.

Read more : Startup Cargonaught off to France after winning Airbus BizLab AEROmobility pitch

Bruno said the trip will cover the crucial parts of the total support that the global aerospace accelerator provides in its regular six-month programme. “The support will continue for three months thereafter to assist with the development of the startup,” said Gutierres.

“The idea behind the immersive trip is to get startups in touch with the experts from Airbus so that they can get feedback from them and to prove either the technology or the business model of the startup. It’s to support during the ten days the startup on a technical point of view or a business point of view.”

Gutierres said the quality of the startups he had seen at the pitch event was of “really high quality”.

The Airbus Bizlab pitching contest will be coming back, Gutierres said

The global accelerator currently operates from three locations, namely France, Germany and India. When asked by Ventureburn whether Airbus Bizlab was considering setting up an accelerator in Africa, Gutierres said it was too early to make such a decision.

“At the moment what we intend to do is to understand the ecosystem,” he said.

“This is an observation that we are doing, the decision to set up a Bizlab in Africa will come later on, we will go through partners. But before trying to help people we have to understand what they need first.”

Gutierres also added that the Airbus Bizlab AEROmobility #Africa4Future initiative was not a once-off and that the pitching competition would also be back.

The final pitching event for East African startups was held yesterday with 11 finalists from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone taking part.

Featured image: From left to right Airbus BizLab Hamburg leader  Rey Buckman , Airbus BizLab head Bruno Gutierres, Silicon Cape managing director Ellen Fischat, Nedbank LaunchLab officer of opportunity Brandon Paschal, and Airbus BizLab senior business development and innovation manager Guido Schwartz  (Supplied)

Daniel Mpala


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