After the CTIC incubator in Senegal and the Ebène project in Mauritius, Orange now visited Niger and the result of this visit is the opening of the first start-up incubator, CIPMEN, in the country.
With the help of other partners, Orange Niger has managed to set-up CIPMEN, a small- and medium-sized business (SME) incubator designed to encourage the creation of new and innovative companies in the country.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 85 percent of SMEs fail within the first two years, but 80 percent of companies that undergo an incubation process are still operating after five years.
The purpose of CIPMEN is to help innovative SMEs grow on a market where many companies fail to see the light of day, and to bridge the gap between the informal sector and the larger national and international companies. Niger offers few suitable support mechanisms for upcoming businesses, despite the central role that companies play in creating jobs for young people, helping to form a middle class, and in creating and redistributing wealth.
The incubator will help companies in future-oriented sectors such as ICT, renewable energy and the environment. The project, initiated by Orange, is a pilot program which should enable the launch of other regional initiatives in Niger.
CIPMEN was inaugurated in late April 2014 at the first Startup Weekend held in Niamey, and during which 80 participants spent 54 hours working on innovative projects.
Through its network investments and its presence in emerging countries, Orange plays an important role in social and economic development in Africa. What’s more, ICT services encourage the emergence of new economic models, new segments of activity, and the development of markets and local businesses.