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Africa's start-ups continue to grab global attention

By , ITWeb
Kenya , 14 Jan 2018

Africa's start-ups continue to grab global attention

The start-up ecosystem continent-wide, if given the right tools and means to invest, is as vibrant as any other industry across the globe, says Jonas Tesfu, COO of Norwegian investment platform Pangea.

The Oslo-based company recently launched its accelerator program in Kenya to connect local start-ups with international investment and expertise.

According to TechTrendsKenya, Pangea gas partnered with Centre of Excellence in ICT innovation and Development @iLabAfrica based at Strathmore University.

The publication reports that the program is targeting start-ups from across the industry, with aims to connect them with investors, especially African diaspora which currently remit approximately US$160 billion annually.

Pangea has already opened a platform for receiving start-up applications and those that are successful will undergo a three-month milestone-based acceleration program. Start-ups will receive coaching from international investors and experts.

Ten final start-ups will receive funding of up to US$50,000 per start-up.

Launchpad accelerator programmes

During its Google for Nigeria event, Google announced the launch of its Launchpad Accelerator Africa which aims to support African entrepreneurs in building successful technology companies and products.

The company said the accelerator program would provide more than US$3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship, working space and access to expert advisers to more than 60 African start-ups over three years.

It also announced that it was setting up a new Google Launchpad Space in Lagos which was the program's first location outside of the United States.

According to Floris Buys, Founder and Executive Director of Telkom's new Innovation Ecosystem SpliceWorks, insufficient investment in Africa's budding start-up scene requires that corporates pay greater attention to why they have not been able to exploit the opportunities presented by the continent's start-up community.

The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund also supports African start-ups in the form of grants of up to USD$320,000, in addition to mobile-focused mentoring and technical assistance - as well as opportunities to build partnerships with mobile operators.

The Fund released findings of a research it conducted last year, revealing that 50% of tech hubs are concentrated in 5 countries (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, and Morocco), with almost each of the other African countries having at least one or two active tech hubs.

Victor du Boucher, Ecosystem Accelerator analyst at the GSMA said according to their research, as of July 2016 there are 314 active tech hubs in Africa - although this number increases on a weekly basis.

"Among the most active, we found not only the well talked-about BongoHive in Zambia, Co-creation Hub in Nigeria, and iHub in Kenya but also lesser known and more recent organisations like Buni Hub in Tanzania and Saboutech in Guinea," said Du Boucher.

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