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Village Capital taps 15 African tech hubs for VilCap Communities Africa initiative
US-based venture capital firm Village Capital has announced the 15 incubators, accelerators and seed funds that it has selected for its VilCap Communities Africa programme.
The initiative — which aims to accelerate the flow of capital to early-stage companies in sub-Sahara Africa — is supported by the Impact Programme (funded in turn by the UK Department for International Development).
The 15 organisations (see below for the full list) were announced in a Village Capital blog post on Wednesday (22 August) and are set to participate in forums in Lagos and Nairobi before convening in Cape Town in November.
The participants will learn and share best practices including Village Capital’s proprietary curriculum and peer-selected investment process.
The VilCap Communities Africa programme aims to accelerate the flow of capital to early-stage companies in sub-Saharan Africa
Commenting in the same post, Village Capital managing director Allie Burns said entrepreneurs need to have a plan to deploy capital efficiently to generate a return on investment.
“At Village Capital we specialise in helping entrepreneurs think like investors, and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned over the past eight years with this elite group of leaders in Africa,” said Burns.
Village Capital innovation manager for emerging markets Rachel Crawford pointed out how the number of incubators and accelerators in Africa have grown exponentially while the number of successful startups on the continent has not grown at the same rate.
“It’s still hard to raise capital and scale a business in too many parts of the continent, and we know that entrepreneurial ecosystem leaders are the key to bridging that gap,” said Crawford.
Village Capital also said it had run eight investment-readiness programmes in sub-Saharan Africa that have directly supported more than 80 entrepreneurs and facilitated 16 seed-stage investments.
The firm added that it will build on this experience to equip entrepreneur ecosystem leaders with the tools, resources and connections they need to catalyse impact investment.
In all, more than 200 incubators, accelerators and funds applied to join the programme. The selected participants operate in 20 African countries, including Ethiopia, Benin, Tanzania, Senegal and the Ivory Coast.
Village Capital said the 15 bring together a mixture of organisations some of which are from more very nascent ecosystems such as Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
The 15 have been split into two cohorts, they are:
Cohort One (Lagos)
Energy Generation (Pan African): An energy and hardware focused organisation which aims to solve African challenges with African-led technology and entrepreneurship innovations.
Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Freetown (Sierra Leone): GEN Sierra Leone is building the nascent entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sierra Leone through its combined incubator and accelerator programme. The organisation runs Freetown Pitch Night, the Creative Business Cup and Future Agro Challenge.
Growth Mosaic (Ghana): Growth Mosaic helps prepares small and growing businesses to access and manage investment. It helps reduce execution risks and improve the investability of clients. This enables clients to attract growth investment and improve deal flow for investors.
Ingenious City, Sycomore Ventures (Democratic Republic of Congo): Sycamore Ventures is a for-profit investment company with two activities: Ingenious City, a platform for incubators, and Sycamore Venture Investments, a venture capital company that invests in early stage startups in DRC.
Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (Nigeria): Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace is a convergence platform for innovators and all key actors in the healthcare value chain. The marketplace explores and shapes alternative approaches to improving healthcare in Nigeria.
Suguba (West Africa): This regional platform aims to develop robust entrepreneurial ecosystems in Francophone West Africa. It seeks to do that by connecting entrepreneurs of the region to create strong integrated value chains. Suguba also wants to help youth and women led enterprises.
The Innovation Village (Uganda): The Innovation Village is Uganda’s launchpad for leading innovators and entrepreneurs. From helping entrepreneurs launch and grow high-impact ventures to attracting regional and global opportunities, the organisation’s ecosystem approach brings together partners from the public and private sector.
Ventures Platform (Nigeria): Ventures Platform is an enterprise development organisation focused on building and supporting entrepreneurs and innovators who leverage technology to create solutions to Africa’s most urgent problems.
Cohort Two (Nairobi)
Andela (Nigeria): The Andela Entrepreneurship Center is a new initiative with the immediate aim of equipping Andela graduates with the required entrepreneurial skills and resources needed to maximise their impact and infuse Andela’s values into the global technology ecosystem.
Anza (Tanzania): An innovation organisation founded on the belief that entrepreneurs will transform Tanzania. Understanding the challenges faced by many growing enterprises, Anza provides personalised and strategic capacity building, affordable capital and relevant networks.
BlueMoon (Ethiopia): This is Ethiopia’s first agribusiness and agritech incubator and seed investor. The organisation’s mission is to discover, incubate, and invest in exceptional “once in a blue moon” ideas.
Entreprenarium (Rwanda): Entreprenarium Foundation helps entrepreneurs create and sustain businesses that will create jobs, income and wealth across Africa.
Etrilabs (Benin): Founded in 2009, Educational Technology and Research International Benin (EtriLabs) is the oldest and largest technology hub in Benin.
Jokkolabs (West Africa, Morocco): Jokkolabs is a non profit independent organisation that serves as an open innovation ecosystem and a virtual cluster for social change based on an organic entrepreneur community and a network of innovation centres.
Southern Africa Venture Partnership (Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe): The Southern Africa Venture Partnership aims to counter the gaps in critical resources needed to sustainably nurture high growth potential startup ventures in Southern Africa.
Featured image: Village Capital via Twitter