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Investments within reach for SDG-aligned start-ups in Africa

Global Start-up Awards (GSA) Africa: Vusi Thembekwayo is an acclaimed business mogul and co-chairperson of Silicon Cape. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn
Vusi Thembekwayo is an acclaimed business mogul and co-chairperson of Silicon Cape. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn

Techpreneurs from across Africa are set to gather in the Mother City this June for the first ever Global Start-up Awards (GSA) Africa event hosted by the Global Innovation Initiative Group. The event, aimed at finding the continent’s most promising innovators, is specifically for start-ups whose solutions align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Organisers say the Global Start-up Awards Africa is a culmination of a global, six-month long research, networking, and collaboration process.

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According to Silicon Cape co-chairperson Vusi Thembekwayo they are looking forward to welcoming innovation hubs from across Africa. This is said to include representatives from the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Botswana, Ghana and Gabon.

Thembekwayo says, “We are excited to host the inaugural GSA Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, to unite different African nations, empower African innovators and boost cross-border collaboration in tech and innovation across the continent. By connecting local entrepreneurs, developers, investors and the wider ecosystem, we hope to start conversations that will lead to solving some of the biggest challenges faced by Africa and the world.”

With the help of partners in 30 participating countries, 50 ambassadors and 250 innovation hubs, the Global Start-up Awards Africa found close to 8 000 start-ups and ecosystem actors from 54 African countries with solutions to addressing 12 of the 17 SDGs.

Through a cohort of 215 independent industry expert jury members, the nominated start-ups and ecosystem enablers went through three rounds of judging and two rounds of public voting. This narrowed down the search to 500 country winners, 60 regional winners and finally 12 Africa winners that were announced virtually earlier this year.

SDG-aligned technologies

Cape Town International Convention Centre chief executive Taubie Motlhabane adds, “We are very proud to host this incredible event which aims to make an invaluable impact on start-ups across the African continent. The inaugural Global Start-up Awards Africa is the perfect pan-African platform to highlight not only the challenges, but also the triumphs of innovators representing all 55 African countries.”

Winners will have the opportunity to present and workshop with experts, corporates, policy makers, institutions and other high-flyers who want to invest in SDG-aligned technologies from Africa.

Organisers say the event promises to put start-ups front and centre with the focus on connecting ecosystem players and enabling impact through meaningful panel discussions, highly curated matchmaking, and deal flow sessions. It will facilitate pan-African, global trade and investment opportunities for tech start-ups across the continent.

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, chief convention bureau officer at South Africa National Convention Bureau, says, “Business events, particularly intra-African meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions, play a significant role in the post-pandemic recovery plan.

“With Cape Town’s positioning as Africa’s tech capital, it makes complete sense for us to look at business events such as the inaugural Global Start-up Awards Africa to promote our knowledge economy to a new audience of innovators and investors throughout the continent and beyond. But most importantly, we want to support conferences such as this by creating shared value for SMMEs through business events.”

READ MORE: Africa’s finest fintech start-ups honoured in Washington D.C.

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