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Equipping and strengthening organisations that support African entrepreneurs will can help drive investment across the continent, a new report by Village Capital suggests.
The report titled Unlocking Pipeline: A Playbook for Entrepreneur Support in Africa, which includes 300 interviews as well as data compiled from the 2018 VilCap Communities programme.
The programme saw Village Capital work with over 15 entrepreneur support organisations including accelerators and incubators, interview representatives from more than 80 such organisations and engage with 1000 stakeholders.
The Village Capital report is based on more than 300 interviews
Based on these interviews, the report’s authors — Village Capital Programme Associate for Africa Brenda Wangari and Village Capital emerging markets manager Rachel Crawford — identified a number of best practices for supporting African entrepreneurs.
The best practices apply to entrepreneur support organisations, funders and investors.
In addition, the report also has case studies on West African enterprise development platform Suguba, Uganda’s Innovation Village, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ingenious City, Morocco’s Jokolabs, and Zambia’s Bongo Hive.
Village Capital suggests in the report that rather than create new incubators and accelerators, there is a need to focus on “resourcing and strengthening” existing entrepreneur support organisations.
Village Capital CEO Allie Burns notes that despite the number of entrepreneur support organisations doubling between 2019 and 2015, deal flow for early stage startups remains “stubbornly low”.
“Focus on the entrepreneurial support organisations that are demonstrating results, and provide them with resources and operational capital they need to develop their strategy, build out their programming and strengthen their teams,” says the report.
Key takeaways for entrepreneur support organisations listed in the report include:
- Running more sector-specific programmes
- Encouraging peer collaboration between startups
- Selecting programme partners who contribute to the curriculum and play a meaningful role
- Designing strong curriculum
- Emphasis on one-on-one mentoring rather than on lectures
- Diversification of revenue streams
- Development and tracking of relevant impact metrics
- Having entrepreneur support organisation led by teams with entrepreneurial experience
- Co-ordination on regional programmes
Featured image: WOCinTech Chat via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)