SBC AfriTech scouting for start-ups disrupting key verticals

Over the last five years, 50 African start-ups have completed the SBC AfriTech Accelerator. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn
Over the last five years, 50 African start-ups have completed the SBC AfriTech Accelerator. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn

Technology start-ups from critical industry verticals can now apply to join the third cohort of the Telecel Group’s Africa-wide accelerator programme. Startupbootcamp Africtech says it is now scouting for potential candidates.

In a release, organisers say many forward-thinking companies and governments have pledged to support the programme. This, as the continent’s fate lies in innovations designed to alleviate its toughest challenges while also building products that are compelling enough for a global market.

To do that, accelerator programmes facilitate and enable the evolution of home-grown solutions into powerhouses that make an indelible mark in the world.

Supported by partners such as DER/FJ in Senegal, the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), ENRICH in Africa, AWS and Google, the accelerator aims to support the next generation of early-stage African tech start-ups disrupting key industry verticals.

This includes fintech, insuretech, agritech, climatetech, e-commerce, digital health, cleantech, mobility, micro-leasing, and digitising the informal economy.

Over the last five years, 50 African start-ups have completed the SBC AfriTech Accelerator.

“90% of our alumni are still operating and scaling,” notes programme director Henry Ojour. “Collectively, SBC portfolio companies have raised more than $120 million in follow-on funding and the past two cohorts of the Telecel Group ASIP programme are doing exceptionally well. We’re excited about what cohort three will achieve, and we believe it will set new records.”

Telecel Group has also reinforced its commitment to providing the participating start-ups with access to markets, with the help of other relevant corporates will enable founders to execute proof of concepts and pilots while also building sustainable businesses.

ASIP director Eleanor Azar said, “We are excited to announce that applications are now open, and we encourage all start-ups to apply, the past two cohorts have been very successful and we expect cohort three to be phenomenal, especially since our partner consortium is growing and adding powerhouses such as FMO and Enrich In Africa in addition to DER, AWS, Google, Microsoft and many more”.

Speaking on this, Ventures programme manager Marieke Roestenberg said, “As part of our entrepreneurial ecosystem building efforts, FMO was keen to support the ASIP program and SBC 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.”

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 start-up founders pitch their disruptive solutions to a broad audience of media, investors, corporate partners, and industry stakeholders.

Telecel Group ASIP Start-ups will also have access to Startupbootcamp’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 dedicated Entrepreneurs-In-Residence. The 10 start-ups in the ASIP program will also receive benefits valued at more than $750 000, including credits from AWS, Google Cloud Services, and many more, and a direct cash investment of $18 000.

Telecel Group ASIP powered by SBC AfriTech has so far hosted scouting events (called “FastTracks”) in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda. In the next few weeks, the team will be in Accra, Casablanca and Dakar.

“For each FastTrack, we invite the top 10 start-ups who apply to receive instant feedback from a panel of industry experts, network with our investment team and find out more about the program,” explains Henry Ojour. “Teams that attend a FastTrack are 20% more likely to be invited to our final selection days.

Five out of the 10 start-ups chosen for the programme will be fully funded and backed by ENRICH in Africa. These start-ups will receive additional benefits, including access to the Euroquity community, networking events, and follow-up support.

Reflecting on the journey, Philip Kiracofe, the co-founder of SBC AfriTech said, “When we launched Startupbootcamp AfriTech in 2017, we had an audacious vision to scout, skill, and scale African Solutions for African Challenges.

“Six years later, we have become one of the most highly regarded programs on the continent, and our portfolio of start-ups has an aggregate valuation of nearly $700 million. We are privileged to have new partners including FMO and EnrichInAfrica supporting us, and looking forward to launching more Accelerators in the near future.”

Click here to apply to join the next cohort. Register here to attend the scouting events as a start-up.

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