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Seedstars is not just “another pitching competition” for startups, says the Swiss organisation’s regional manager for Africa Claudia Makadristo.
“We are at the core an investment company, so we have three focuses, to promote, to connect and actually to invest. But the main objective of what Seedstars wants to be and is, it’s an actual investment company,” she stressed.
Speaking to Ventureburn on the sidelines of the Seedstars Africa regional summit on Thurday (14 December) in Maputo, Mozambique, she said the pitching competition “serves as a vehicle and a platform to scout for these entrepreneurs in a more efficient and fast way”.
The event, which also marked the five-year anniversary of the organisation, saw delegates from about 25 different countries converge for over 10 hours of pitches, talks and panel discussions.
During its annual tour of Africa, Seedstars received a large number of applications, but selects only those entrepreneurs that “make sense from an investment perspective” for the organisation. In addition, many participants have got valuable exposure through the media.
Seedstars is also involved in edtech initiatives with French university HEG and the Transforming Education In Cocoa Communities programme
“The other day I was talking to Kasha founder Joanna Bischel, our winner from Rwanda last year who made it to the global stage, she said what you guys have done for us, forget even the investment, forget the corporates, it’s exposure,” said Makadristo.
She said the organisation, which she prefers to refer to as a “platform”, has done a lot of things which she said “we don’t necessarily go on the news about”.
“We cater to most stages of entrepreneurs, we have a variety of different programmes that are very selective, very high level. Our objective is look, we need to do what we need to do to make entrepreneurs successful, we need to benefit from it as well,” she explained.
One of Seedstars’ main mandates, said Makadristo, is education. The platform currently works with the Transforming Education In Cocoa Communities (TRECC) initiative in the Ivory Coast.
“We did a foundation that allocates millions every year to improve education in Ivory Coast. They are also open to innovation that comes from other countries, so it doesn’t have to be from Ivory Coast as long as it can be adaptable to that context,” she said.
In addition to this Seedstars in collaboration with French university HEG, the organisation has also set up a $50 000 grant and three-month long support programme for edtech entrepreneurs.
Ventureburn was a guest of Seedstars at last week’s Seedstars Africa regional summit.
Featured image: Claudia Makadristo via Twitter