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Designed to scout skill and scale early-stage tech startups in Africa, the third installment of the Africa Startup Initiative is back with a bang. This time, the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) is partnering with Startupbootcamp (SBC) AfriTech to support the accelerator.
In a media release, SBC Afritech co-founder Philip Kiracofe says Africa’s vibrant startup ecosystem requires support from multiple fronts to grow exponentially and sustainably. The continent is also characterised by impressive growth rates.
By the end of July 2022, Africa had recorded about 370 deals valued at more than $3 billion. The contribution of ecosystem enablers such as Startupbootcamp Afritech is one of the most important factors enabling startups to scale and innovate, says Kiracofe, and supporting enablers is therefore an essential part of the development process.
Through the Ventures Program and MASSIF, the financial inclusion fund FMO is managed on behalf of the Dutch government. FMO invests in inclusive business models and partners with intermediaries to provide the expertise that improves business operations and also supports a more vibrant start-up environment.
The partnership with SBC Afritech illustrates FMO’s commitment to empowering Africa’s tech ecosystem, says Ventures programme manager Marieke Roestenberg.
She says, “As part of our entrepreneurial ecosystem building efforts, FMO was keen to support Startupbootcamp AfriTech in expanding their operations into more middle-tier markets. This partnership provides an opportunity to bring more world-class acceleration to entrepreneurs striving to build businesses that create jobs and better livelihoods for their families and communities.”
FMO joins partners such as DER/FJ, AWS, and Google in supporting the ASIP accelerator which aims to support the next generation of early-stage African tech startups disrupting key industry verticals. This includes fintech, insuretech, agritech, climate-tech, e-commerce, digital health, and cleantech. Inspired by FMO, SBC AfriTech has also added mobility, micro leasing, and digitising the informal economy as key focus areas.
“Particularly when it comes to our regional focus, the alignment we share with FMO is a key reason why this partnership is so important. With their assistance, we continue our mandate to empower founders with disruptive solutions,” says Kiracofe.
Once selected, participants will spend three months undergoing intensive coaching through expert-led masterclasses covering scaling fundamentals -from the business model canvas, and lean methodology, to fundraising. The programme will take place in Senegal, culminating in a hybrid demo day where startup founders pitch their disruptive solutions to a broad audience of media, investors, corporate partners, and industry stakeholders.
Startups will also have access to SBC’s tailored coaching tool, the Accelerator Squared platform which has a complete library of content, group workshops, one-on-one mentoring, collaborative sessions with Entrepreneurs in Residence, and invite-only discussion forums with founders from around the globe.
This is in addition to customised support from experienced mentors and entrepreneurs-in-residence.
The ten startups will also receive benefits valued at more than $750 000, including credits from AWS, Google Cloud Services, and a cash investment of $18 000.
Cohort two kickstarted in April 2022 and saw 11 award-winning African startups such as Neural Labs Africa, Proxalys, Parcsmart and Powerstove undergo the three-month program, resulting in a successful demo day held in July 2022 in Senegal where startups pitched their innovative solutions and business models to a network of key African stakeholders in the tech entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Over the last five years, 50 African startups have completed the SBC Afritech Accelerator. 90% of the alumni are still operating and scaling, and collectively, SBC portfolio companies have raised more than $110 million in follow-on funding.
This track record makes SBC one of the most successful early-stage programs on the continent and for investors, the fund has performed among the top 5% of Silicon Valley VC funds.
Applications for Cohort 3 have opened on sbcafritech.com. SBC AfriTech will host FastTrack scouting events in more than 10 countries around the continent, including Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.