“The Social and Inclusive Business Camp (SIBC) has now made me dream big – even bigger than before,” exclaimed Nadège Bula-Bula, managing director of the Congolese start-up MY Success.
She won this year’s SIBC after 45 entrepreneurs from 18 African countries met in the French city Marseille for the sixth edition of the acceleration programme for African social and inclusive businesses.
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After three months of online training and mentoring, the winning entrepreneurs took part in an intensive week-long bootcamp in Marseille with training modules, personalised coaching, and networking opportunities. It culminated in pitch battles before key financial stakeholders in Africa during the EMERGING Valley Summit.
Bula-Bula said, “I can now imagine more impactful solutions for my business. It’s a laboratory … everything has its place: leadership, team, value proposition, external stakeholders, growth and distinction strategy, anticipation, etc.”
SIBC helps its winning entrepreneurs to bolster their knowledge of everything to do with scaling up: designing a growth strategy, building a solid team, and understanding different styles of leadership, investment readiness, and measuring and enhancing their impact.
This is achieved with both online and face-to-face training modules, a cross-cutting mentoring system with former participants and networking opportunities with investors, entrepreneurs, and key stakeholders in African entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Created by the AFD Campus in 2017 and funded by the French ministry of foreign and European affairs, SIBC is supported by the Principality of Monaco. It is overseen by a consortium led by Investisseurs et Partenaires, and made up of stakeholders with dovetailing expertise: African Management Institute, ScaleChanger and StartupBRICS since 2020.
Alongside the entrepreneurs who have won the programme, these stakeholders are committed to supporting the development of more sustainable and inclusive business models that provide new responses to unresolved social needs by further involving different stakeholders in their value chain, and especially vulnerable populations.
“The young, talented and determined [SIBC] entrepreneurs have shown how technological and social innovation can actively contribute to Sustainable Development Goals,” said Bertrand Walckenaer, deputy managing director of the French Development Agency.
“They provide answers to today’s challenges while inventing the economy of tomorrow through their actions by creating formal jobs locally, with innovative solutions adapted to contexts and needs, by increasing access to essential goods and services or by creating shared added value.”
SIBC gauges its relevance on how successful its winners are: two-thirds manage to raise funds after participating in the programme (57% of whom achieve this within a year), but also on how satisfied they are with their experience as over 83% highly recommend the programme to other entrepreneurs.
This year’s Marseille cohort included 24 women. Among the highlights were:
- four days of training with presentations given by 20 experts on the SIBC key themes: leadership, scale-up strategies, investment readiness and impact measurement, including 1 morning workshop dedicated to women leadership.
- a day of speed meetings, with 30 investors involved in 115 individual meetings with the SIBC entrepreneurs.
- a day at the EMERGING Valley Summit, with over 20 on-stage interventions by programme stakeholders and 3 panel discussions about the challenges of growth and support for social and inclusive entrepreneurs on the continent.
Meanwhile, organisers say the alumni programme continues to play a critically important role in SIBC with peer learning being key to the SIBC’s teaching objectives. SIBC now has an active community of the 291 entrepreneurs who have won the programme. 41 SIBC alumni mentored the new recruits during the 2022 programme, but also during the bootcamp’s start-up clinics”.
“The SIBC has helped me connect with other changemakers across Africa and build a lifelong relationship that will lead to collaborations,” said Ayeni Olamide from Pearl Recycling in Nigeria, and winner of SIBC 2022.
In total, 50 alumni got involved, including eight in Marseille, to outline an engaged learning community, connected to its ecosystem and inspiring for the future generation of African entrepreneurs.