AFRILABS AND SOUTHERN AFRICA-BASED INNOVATION HUBS, INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS ESTABLISH INVESTOR READINESS BEST PRACTICES FOR FUTURE IMPACT ON THE START-UP SUPPORT ECOSYSTEM
Southern Africa region (Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi) is indisputably one of the most well-established rich resource countries with start-up hubs, incubators and accelerators in all respective African countries. With NGWANA AFRICA being a leading pre-seed startup accelerator for innovation and tech business creation in Botswana we where pleased to be part of the Entrepreneurial Masterclasses hosted at Workshop17 in Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa
When the omicron variant was made a week before the masterclass- the energy of startup support organisations in Southern Africa could not find its way into forcing entrepreneurs to stay in their countries …But proof to this is that in a future-oriented, fast-changing ecosystem there is always the important question prevailing: Can innovation hubs, incubators and accelerators do better? And if yes, then how? The Afrilabs capacity building programme for hubs was timely if you ask us at NGWANA AFRICA. As a participant i picked some nuggets to share. The AFRILABS project was executed in collaboration and cooperation with the Digital Africa, Jozi Angels, Africa Angel Academy etc. In analyzing the start-up support ecosystem in Southern Africa, including a deep dive into incubator and accelerator programs. Following the analysis, a benchmarking of group institutions with other leading programs (nationally, regionally and internationally) was conducted. The overarching goal is to evaluate and establish best practices that can have a significant impact on the start-up support ecosystem.
Here is the why? Or phrased differently ; 👉 Why we are proud to be have been part of the Afrilabs Entrepreneurial Support Organisations Physical Masterclass Series?
- #Startups # Entrepreneurship # Innovation # Future are trending across as hot topic across the African ecosystem (twitter, linkedin, metaverse
2. 💭 But second, the good news! Fundraising by African startups is set to exceed $5 billion by year end, an amount higher than the previous three years combined. Greater appetite from global investors, with particular interest in fintech, leaves Africa poised to continue this momentum in 2022.
3. 🚀 I picked (1) one exciting round and the completion of a mammoth series B out of South Africa or shall i say Southern Africa ! Here is the example; 💰 TymeBank (South Africa) announced the completion of its series B, with a fresh $180m capital injection from Tencent and CDC Group plc. Tyme — South Africa’s first “cloud-network” bank with no physical branches — has acquired 4million customers in just over 2.5 years.
4. AfriLabs has provided a platform to easily explore the largest pan-African network of technology and innovation hubs ~ connected and thriving in Africa.
5. The internet has changed the rules- Ycombinator, Founder Institute style accelerators are now online for free forever in Africa! Ben White — the mastermind behind VC4 is quoted ; ‘The VC4A Startup Academy, offering direct access to expertise proven to work for successful entrepreneurs and investors operating across Africa. Founders can take their business to the next level by learning about the latest insights, download tools and listen to advice from 35 experts active in the emerging African startup ecosystem.The VC4A Startup Academy, launched today and part of online community platform VC4A.com, is broken down into three courses, each focused on a different life-stage of a new venture. The first course is called, ‘Start your business’, and introduces participants to main themes to consider during the founding stage of a startup. Course two is ‘Grow your business’, and covers what’s needed after a startup finds its feet and is ready to scale up. And course three, is ‘Finance your business’, introducing different funding concepts and tips on how to raise capital’. Well if you are in Botswana you can plug and play with us at https://ngwana.africa/about/ .
6. Fast-growing businesses (Innovative Disruptive Enterprises) IDEs are defining our future in Africa, and many hubs, incubators and accelerators should be excited to highlight that they are driving this mission to bring these platform startups to life. Some examples of such spaces can be highlighted i.e BongoHive & Jacaranda Hub in Zambia, Mlab, Jozi Hubs & Workshop17 in South Africa, NGWANA AFRICA and TheNeoHub in Botswana, TheTechVillage and Techhub Harare in Zimbabwe, SkyBusinesInc in Lesotho etc. How do we empower hubs, incubators to move from providing episodic care to longitudinal care for startups? This is a question I spend much time thinking about. I hope that the Afrilabs community will provide an answer to all of us on this?
7. AFD has been partnering with AfriLabs in supporting African and Digital startups over a couple of years. A great partnership! What can be done to increase these type of partnerships in the different regions of Africa? Would a baseline assessment of the regions assist and with a clear intention of providing supporting framework that harmonizes the efforts of the region or specific countries initiatives with the collaboration of private sector incubators, hubs and accelerators? Would this create a blueprint for the continent? Perhaps something that SMARTAFRICA can look at initiating in collaboration with AFRILABS. SADC would ofcourse be a point reference sandbox!
8. While the tech ecosystem deal space across Africa has shown exceptional growth over recent years, there remains a gap in the market for post-seed, pre-Series A funding across the continent. So one is keen to ask how is AfriLabs providing a solution to this gap? AfriLabs, in collaboration with African Business Angels Network, ABAN, has officially launched Catalytic Africa, a co-matching fund designed for African startups, at the AfriLabs Annual Gathering… The maximum financing from Catalytic Africa is €60,000 per transaction. In Southern Africa recently; South African VC firm Grindstone Ventures has launched a ZAR100 million (US$6.5 million) fund dedicated to predominantly funding startups that have completed, or are part of, the Grindstone Accelerator programme. An equity-free structured entrepreneurship development programme that assists high-growth innovation-driven SMEs to become sustainable and fundable, Grindstone provides participants with knowledge, networks, market access opportunities and funding readiness through growth measurement, gap analysis and value-adding interventions, all over a one-year engagement.
9. Last, but not least; what partnerships will the regional hubs anchor to create cohesive success in the short, medium and long term. In the 1+2+3 of all things- what is coming up next ? Well this speaks to strategy and for us at NGWANA AFRICA we are looking at Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia as a quick start to 2022. How this look like you have to follow our channels to get full insight: https://www.facebook.com/NGWANAAFRICA
10. To conclude, it i really enjoyed my week in Rosebank, Johannesburg and made lots of deals. In my mind im still anxious about about Kudzai Maraire Mubaiwa (MARI PODCAST) and how she applies african culture to her training. Keep building and we are keen to host you in Botswana soon. A big thank you to AfriLabs family- you must keep doing what you do…connecting startup communities to Afrilabs platforms and network. Join our unique group for the SADC region here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/9108510/ And I am convinced that the economic effects from the start-up sector will be even more significant in the future.
Keep building !