Startupbootcamp (SBC) AfriTech, an African tech accelerator, is scouting for the most disruptive African tech startups from critical industry verticals for the Telecel Group Africa Startup Initiative Accelerator Program.
The fate of Africa lies in innovations designed to alleviate the continent’s toughest challenges while also building products that are compelling enough for a global market. To do that, accelerator programs facilitate and enable the evolution of home-grown solutions into powerhouses that make an indelible mark in the world. This is one of the many reasons why forward-thinking companies and governments are collaborating more with these essential support engines.
Founded by telecoms giant, Telecel Group, powered by SBC AfriTech, and supported by partners such as DER/FJ (a Department of the Republic of Senegal) , the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), ENRICH in Africa (a European Union-funded project), AWS, and Google, the ASIP Accelerator aims to support the next generation of early-stage African tech startups.
Specifically, those disrupting key industry verticals that include fintech, insurtech, agritech, climate-tech, e-commerce, digital health, and cleantech, mobility, micro-leasing, and digitising the informal economy.
Over the last five years, 50 African startups have completed the SBC AfriTech Accelerator.
“90 per cent of our alumni are still operating and scaling,” notes program director Henry Ojour. “Collectively, SBC portfolio companies have raised more than $120million in follow-on funding and the past two cohorts of the Telecel Group ASIP Program 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 startups 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.
Eleanor Azar, ASIP director said: “We are excited to announce that applications are now open, and we encourage all startups 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.”
The Government of Senegal through DER/FJ continues to be the bridge that provides essential public sector partnerships and government support. Cohort three also has the full support of the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, FMO invests in inclusive business models and provides the expertise that startups need to improve their business operations while also providing broader support to facilitate a vibrant start-up environment in the regions where the program invests.
Speaking on this, ventures program 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 program 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
Telecel Group ASIP Startups will also have access to Startupbootcamp’s tailored coaching tool, the Accelerator Squared platform which has a complete library of content, group workshops, 1:1 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 (EIRs). The 10 startups 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 (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 startups 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 per cent more likely to be invited to our Final Selection Days.”
Five out of the 10 startups chosen for the program will be fully funded and backed by ENRICH in Africa, a project funded by the European Union and designed to support and strengthen the European and African innovation ecosystem. These startups 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 startups has an aggregate valuation of nearly $700million.
“We are privileged to have new partners including FMO and EnrichInAfrica (funded by the European Commission) supporting us, and looking forward to launching more Accelerators in the near future.”